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Poll: Romney Opens 7-Point Lead in Florida

Mitt Romney’s 7-point lead in the TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon poll is the latest sign of a Florida surge:

The survey conducted this week found 51 percent of likely Florida voters supporting Romney, 44 percent backing Obama and 4 percent undecided. That’s a major shift from a month ago when the same poll showed Obama leading 48 percent to 47 percent — and a direct result of what Obama himself called a “bad night” at the first debate.

The debate prompted 5 percent of previously undecided voters and 2 percent of Obama backers to move to Romney. Another 2 percent of Obama supporters said they are now undecided because of the debate.

Any poll that shows a shift as significant as this one should be taken with caution. But there are other indications that there’s strong momentum behind Romney in Florida, including today’s Rasmussen (which shows Romney +4) and ARG (which shows Romney +3). There’s also the assessment of the Suffolk University pollsters, who pulled out of Florida, Virginia and North Carolina this week after saying Romney has already definitively locked up these states.

According to the TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon poll, Obama is in serious trouble with Hispanic voters in the state:

Especially ominous were the numbers for Hispanic voters, a demographic where the Obama campaign is banking on an advantage of at least 15 percentage points. The poll showed 44 percent of likely Hispanic voters favoring Obama and 46 for Romney, though the margin of error is higher with that smaller group of voters. …

The bottom line? Obama appears to be in serious trouble in America’s biggest battleground state. He has two debates and 25 days to turn it around, but the poll points to a race that had been close and stable for months shifting significantly toward the Republican nominee.

Making up 17-points with Hispanic voters seems close to impossible at this point. Obama can cite an executive order on immigration every day between now and the election, but if the TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon numbers are correct, he still won’t be anywhere near where he needs to be.

These numbers are also devastating for Obama:

• Who do you trust more to improve the economy? Romney 50 percent, Obama 44 percent.

• Who do you trust more on foreign policy? Romney 49 percent, Obama 46 percent.

• Who do you trust more to look out for the middle class? Romney 50 percent, Obama 47 percent.

• Who do you consider more trustworthy to lead the nation? Romney 51 percent, Obama 46 percent.

• Whose plans are more likely to do more long-term harm to Medicare? Obama 54 percent, Romney 40 percent.

All that foreign policy cheerleading at the Democratic National Convention? It came to nothing. Romney has taken the lead on foreign policy, a subject the Obama campaign thought they had a comfortable advantage on. Romney’s lead on economic issues was predictable, but now he’s overtaken Obama on “looking out for the middle class” — the “empathy” question that Obama typically rules. The biggest surprise at all may be on Medicare. Likely voters say Obama’s plans are far more likely to harm Medicare in the long-term, which suggests the Obama campaign’s Mediscaring has been a complete bust.

We’ll have to see whether other polls back this up in the next few days. But this is disastrous for the Obama campaign.