Some very good news for President Obama today out of a new USA Today/Gallup poll: Independent voters in 12 key swing states prefer him to Mitt Romney. The poll surveyed independent voters in toss up states such as Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia, and shows Obama ahead by nine points over Romney with 48 percent of the vote.
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That's a big shift from late last year when Gallup first conducted its Swing States poll. That survey found Romney beating Obama by eight points. The president closed that gap in January and has been steadily building his lead ever since.
One of the most striking features of the poll shows Mitt Romney's struggle with female voters. In the latest survey 51 percent of independent women prefer Obama to Romney's 37 percent. The GOP front runner's share of independent female voters in the 12 states polled has dropped by 11 points since October. Among swing state female voters ages 18-49, Obama leads Romney with 60 percent. That gap narrows with older female voters, but Obama is the favorite in that group as well.
Romney's recent promise to "end Planned Parenthood" seems to be a likely factor in his sliding poll numbers among younger women. Of those women polled who said they knew Romney's stance on contraception, two out of three of them disagreed with it. Those same women were divided evenly over Obama's view of the issue.
As Gallup notes, if Romney wants to win swing states in November, he will have to look past his core group of voters and make a play for the independent female vote since the numbers appear to show they are the greatest driving force behind his recent swing state slide.