Politics & Government

New poll suggests Obama can beat McCain in Florida

MIAMI — In a sign that Democrat Barack Obama will be competitive in Florida, the nation's largest swing state, a new poll shows that Obama is leading Republican John McCain comfortably in South Florida and has a slight edge among Hispanics.

The poll for The Miami Herald shows Obama preferred by a 46-30 percent margin over McCain in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida's most populous area. South Florida traditionally votes Democratic, but the size of the margin often dictates whether the Democrat wins in a statewide contest.

"Obama's 16-point lead in South Florida could springboard him to make it a competitive race statewide," said pollster John Zogby, whose Zogby International conducted he poll of 807 people. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Obama's lead in Miami-Dade is wider than the narrow margin of victory posted by 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry. Among Hispanics in the three counties, Obama leads McCain 40 to 35 percent. Until the tide started to turn against the Republican Party in 2006, Hispanics in Florida have long favored the GOP.

"If Democrats walk away with 65 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, that will be almost insurmountable for the Republican party," Zogby said.

The survey also showed Obama leading among independents voters by 33-20 percent, with the rest favoring other candidates or undecided. Both Obama and McCain received strong support from independent voters in the primaries.

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.