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Independents' day: Romney looks to swing voters for salvation

 

The pre-election battle for perceived momentum extended Wednesday into a public dispute over whether President Barack Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney could claim an advantage with prized independent voters.

As a new series of battleground state polls emerged this morning -- showing Romney leading Obama among likely voters who identify as independents by 5 points in Florida, 6 points in Ohio and a whopping 21 points in Virginia -- Republicans argued the president's political arithmetic wasn't as sound as the Obama team contends.

At a campaign event in Tampa Bay, Florida, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney promotes a five-point plan for growing the economy.

Republicans on Wednesday morning circulated emails pointing out Obama's disadvantage among independents to call into question Obama's strength in several battleground states.

"We think that across the battleground state, we have a lead among independent voters," Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said on a conference call Wednesday with reporters in response. But, he added: "That's not true across every battleground state."

The Obama strategist did say, though, that the campaign believes the president is winning enough of the share of the independent vote to emerge victorious on Nov. 6.

Reuters, Getty Images

In the final push in the 2012 presidential election, candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama make their last appeals to voters.

What follows is a look at the breakdown of the independent vote in 2004 and 2008 exit polls in arguably the three biggest battleground states, along with the share of the electorate made up by self-described independent voters. Sometimes the winner of these state won the independent and sometimes they didn’t.

OHIO

2004 (independents were 25 percent of the electorate)

Kerry 59, Bush 40

2008 (30 percent of electorate)

Obama 52, McCain 44

2012

Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT (independents 30 percent of sample, conducted 10/23-28)

  • Romney 49, Obama 43

CNN/ORC (33 percent of sample, conducted 10/23-25)

  • Obama 49, Romney 44)

FLORIDA

2004 (23 percent of electorate)

Kerry 57, Bush 41

2008 (29 percent of electorate)

Obama 52, McCain 45

2012

Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT (29 percent of sample, conducted 10/23-28)

  • Romney 49, Obama 44

CNN/ORC (35 percent of sample, conducted 10/25-28)

  • Obama 49, Romney 44

VIRGINIA

2004 (26 percent of electorate)

Bush 54, Kerry 44

2008 (27 percent of electorate)

Obama 49, McCain 48

2012

Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT (35 percent of sample, conducted 10/23-28)

  • Romney 57, Obama 36

Washington Post (35 percent of sample, conducted 10/22-26)

  • Romney 53, Obama 45