Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio October 13, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
The latest Quinnipiac University poll on the status of the election race in Pennsylvania revealed that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has narrowed the gap with President Barack Obama and now trails by four percentage points among likely voters, 50 percent to 46 percent. According to the poll, the president previously lead Romney by 12 points, 54 percent to 42 percent.
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The GOP candidate continues to receive the support of men (54 percent to 43 percent), white voters (53 percent to 43 percent), and white Catholics (56 percent to 43 percent).
The president, on the other hand, counts on the support of women (57 percent to 39 percent), black voters (97 percent to 1 percent), college graduates (54 percent to 43) and voters without college degrees (49 percent to 47 percent).
According to the poll, only 7 percent of Pennsylvania likely voters believe they might change their minds in the next three weeks.
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said, "Gov. Mitt Romney is coming on strong in the Keystone State, especially among white Catholics."
"Pennsylvania voters say Vice President Joseph Biden, a native son and a Catholic, won the debate and is more qualified than U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to be president," Malloy added. "But that doesn't seem to be lifting to top of the ticket."
The Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of voters said that the vice presidential debate last week does not affect who they plan to vote for. Likely voters in Pennsylvania said 42 percent to 37 percent that Biden beat out Ryan during the debate. Voters also found Biden to be better qualified to serve as president, 50 percent to 42 percent, the poll found.
President Obama enjoys a higher favorable opinion among Pennsylvania voters, 52 percent to 45 percent, than does his rival. According to the poll, Romney has a 46 percent to 44 percent favorability rating.
Democrats also have a slight lead in the Senate race, with Sen. Robert Casey Jr. leading 48 percent to his Republican challenger Tom Smith's 45 percent.
Similar to the presidential race, men back the Republican candidate (53 percent to 42 percent) while women back the Democratic candidate (53 percent to 38 percent). The poll found that independent voters are divided among the two candidates 44 to 44 percent.
Malloy explained, "Tom Smith's relentless TV ad barrage has lifted him out of the coal mine to give Sen. Robert Casey a run for his money."
"Casey had a 55 - 37 percent lead in Quinnipiac University's August 1 survey," Malloy added. "Now this race is too close to call."
President Obama and Romney will face each other tonight during their second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. in a town hall-style debate. Their final presidential debate will held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
WATCH ASSISTANT DIRECTOR TIM MALLOY EXPLAIN THE POLL RESULTS: