President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are neck-in-neck in the 12 swing states that will decide the race, a big downturn for the president who had been leading his Republican opponent. However, voter enthusiasm appears to be moving in Obama’s favor.
The USA TODAY/Gallup Swing States Poll released Monday polled registered voters in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Michigan.
Obama and Romney run relatively even – with 47 percent of swing state voters saying they would vote for Obama and 45 percent choosing Romney. That’s a boon for Romney, who was down 9 points to the president in a late March survey, USA TODAY noted.
But even as Obama is losing support, his supporters are becoming more enthusiastic.
In previous Swing State polls, Republican voters showed significantly more enthusiasm to vote than Democrats did. According to conventional wisdom, Obama’s base was no longer excited as they were in 2008, when he was propelled into office by a surge of enthusiasm, while Republicans were galvanized by a desire to oust the incumbent.
But this poll found that in swing states, more Democrats said they were “extremely or very enthusiastic about voting” than Republicans. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats called themselves extremely or very excited to go the polls, compared to 46 percent of Republican voters.
That’s a big shift in just the last two months: in March, 54 percent of Republicans ranked themselves among the most excited, compared to just 51 percent of Democrats. The gap was even bigger at the start of the year, with 62 percent of Republicans compared to just 54 percent of Democrats putting themselves in that group.
This is the first of the series of Swing State polls conducted by USA TODAY/Gallup since Romney became the presumptive GOP nominee.
The poll surveyed 951 registered voters in sing states from April 26 to May 2, and has a plus or minus four percentage point margin of error.