A Closer Look at the Sunshine State

Today's Quinnipiac "Swing State" poll took a close look at the state of the presidential race in three big states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The big news out of the poll is actually not so surprising to anyone who’s been paying close attention these last few weeks: Fred Thompson is in second place and gaining fast on Rudy Giuliani, while Hillary Clinton is holding tight. Looking a little closer though, at Florida, perhaps the most crucial state in the nation, you do see a few surprises.

(Customary disclaimer here: It’s early, no one’s paying attention, etc. etc. etc.)

Florida, as you know, is crucial this time around not only because of its role in the general election, but because it will be the first big primary state, coming right on the heels of the so-called “first four.” So, how are the contenders doing there? Well, the news is not good for Barack Obama. He is only registering 15 percent. Among men, he's tied with Al Gore at 14 percent. Even if you take all the undecided voters add them to Obama's figure, he's still trailing Clinton by eight points. Not exactly messiah-like numbers, but then, that’s been the story with Obama for a while now.

On the GOP side, Mitt Romney, despite his recent surge in some of the other early states, is still only pulling six percent in Florida, which puts him behind Newt Gingrich, who hasn’t even declared his candidacy. He does slightly better in Ohio (seven percent) and much worse in Pennsylvania (three percent). Of course, that could all change once he starts drawing on that huge war chest of his.

Speaking of which, Romney is in town tonight, holding two back-to-back fundraisers at the Intercontinental.

And no, the Quinnipiac poll did not ask about Michael Bloomberg.