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Q Poll: Obama Zooms to Big Leads in Fla., Pa., and Ohio

Posted Oct 1, 2008 by Billy House

Updated Oct 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM

If it’s accurate, this one’s a shocker for John McCain: A Quinnipiac poll shows Barack Obama with a commanding 51-43 percent lead in Florida.

McCain, according to most pundits and analysts, can’t win the election without Florida. This is the first poll since June showing Obama with a lead greater than the margin of error.

Most other recent polls have shown the race a tie or very close to one, but with hints of movement for Obama.

Quinnipiac apparently polled both before and after Friday’s Obama-McCain debate, finding Obama with a 49-43 percent lead before, which stretched to 51-43 afterward.

In Florida, the pre-debate poll carried a 2.9 point error margin, and the post-debate poll 3.4 points.

The poll also looks at two other key battleground states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, showing Obama after the debate with a whopping 54-39 percent lead in Pennsylvania, and 50-42 percent Ohio.

The institute’s pollsters say the debate, Gov. Sarah Palin’s sagging favorability as McCain’s running mate and more voter confidence in Obama’s ability to handle the economy are propelling the Democrat to wider likely voter leads.

“It is difficult to find a modern competitive presidential race that has swung so dramatically, so quickly and so sharply this late in the campaign.  In the last 20 days, Sen. Barack Obama has gone from seven points down to eight points up in Florida, while widening his leads to eight points in Ohio and 15 points in Pennsylvania,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute.

How reliable is Quinnipiac compared to other polls published in Florida? Analysts and political reporters don’t generally consider it the best of the public political polls here, but among the better ones in a state where there seems to be a comparative lack of reliable polling.

You can see Quinnipiac’s report here, and for comparison, check out the other recent polls at Real Clear Politics here.