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Florida and Ohio looking good for Barack Obama, new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll finds

October 28, 2008 |  2:19 pm

As John McCain continues to commit time and energy to winning typically Democratic Pennsylvania, a new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll shows Barack Obama poised to snatch Florida and Ohio from their usual roost in the Republican column.

Among likely voters surveyed over the last few days, Obama led in the Sunshine State by 7 percentage points (50% to 43%) and in the Buckeye State -- which no victorious GOP presidential candidate has ever lost -- by 9 points (49% to 40%).

The margin of error in both these match-ups is plus-or-minus 4 percentage points, meaning that there is a statistical chance (a small one) that McCain could be ahead in Florida, but virtually none that is he leading in Ohio.

The Times' Janet Hook has more on the poll here.

McCain was in Pennsylvania today, appearing jointly with running mate Sarah Palin as part of his campaign's unrelenting effort to claim its 21 electoral votes. But even if he succeeds in doing that next Tuesday (which several polls indicate would rank as a major upset), Obama victories in Florida (27 electoral votes) and Ohio (20 electoral votes) almost assuredly would claim the White House.

As the underdog in the race for several weeks, McCain's stump speeches and ads have focused on attacking Obama. That may partially explain a significant advantage Obama enjoys ... 

... in the feeling registered voters in Florida and Ohio said they have about each candidate.

In Florida, 53% expressed a positive opinion about Obama, while 36% had a negative view. For McCain, the figures were 46% positive, 40% negative.

In Ohio, 51% gave Obama a positive rating, 36% said they feel negatively toward him. McCain, on this question, is in a slight hole in Ohio -- 42% gave him positive marks, 44% negative ones.

Obama remains a mystery to registered voters in both states on at least one count -- his religious beliefs.

In Florida, only 44% correctly identified him as a Christian, while 7% said he was a Muslim and 44% said either they had "heard different things" or did not know.

In Ohio, those identifying Obama as a Christian shrunk to 39%. He was labeled a Muslim by 7%, while 49% put themselves in the heard different things/did not know category.

-- Don Frederick

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