As Obama Opens 9-Point Lead In Florida, Republicans Claim Polls Are Bogus

If the Quinnipiac poll released last night is even close to accurate, Mitt Romney is in big trouble in Florida. The survey found Obama with a commanding nine point lead in the Sunshine State -- a huge swing from the last Q-poll before the conventions, which found the two candidates within the margin of error.

But is the poll to be trusted? As results show Romney fading in Florida and other swing states, Republicans have started attacking the pollsters, including a new broadside launched against Quinnipiac this morning.

The Republicans beef? That polls inaccurately use "turnout models" that try to predict the makeup of voters on Election Day and unfairly over-poll Democrats.

Of the voters surveyed in the latest Q-poll, for instance, 36 percent were Democrats, 33 percent were independent and only 27 percent were Republican.

That's "almost malpractice from a polling standpoint," Florida Romney strategist Brett Doster complains to the Tampa Bay Times this morning.

Thing is, Quinnipiac says it doesn't even use "turnout models;" while they weight polls to get an accurate age distribution, the 1,196 voters they polled in Florida were more heavily registered Democrats for a simple reason: Democrats have more registered voters in Florida.

Kyle Kondik, a University of Virginia political scientist, may have gotten to the real bottom of the GOP's complaints: "There's a natural tendency to question the accuracy of polls when you're losing," he tells the Times.

So assuming it's not incurably slanted, what did the Q-poll find?

A whole lotta bad news for the Romney camp. Both Florida and Ohio are favoring Obama 53 to 44 percent, the poll found, while the president also leads Pennsylvania 54 to 42 percent.

In Florida, only 7 percent of voters said they might change their mind by election day, and almost half had unfavorable views of Romney.

The survey also found that those planning to vote for Obama strongly favor him at a 73 percent clip; a similar question of Mitt Romney's voters found only 53 percent felt strongly about his candidacy.

The poll also reinforced the notion that Bill Nelson is poised to destroy Connie Mack at the polls; Quinnipiac found the incumbent with a 53 to 39 percent lead.

Polls should always be served with a side-helping of salt, and there's a lot of campaigning, gaffes and counter-gaffes yet to happen in the next month.

But when the trend across a broad spectrum of surveys all show Mitt Romney fading in Florida, it's starting to look like smart money to bet on the president.

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