Quinnipiac poll: Obama opens 7 point lead over Romney, 49-42

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In his best showing in this election cycle, President Barack Obama pulls away from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in two critical swing states, while a third state remains too close to call, according to today’s Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In Florida, President Obama tops Romney 49 – 42 percent; Obama beats Santorum 50 – 37 percent.

Other notes from the poll:

Florida voters give Obama a split 47 – 49 percent job approval rating, and say 50 – 47 percent he deserves to be reelected.

The economy is in a recession, 68 percent of voters say, but 57 percent say it is beginning to recover. Romney would do a better job on the economy, 48 percent of voters say, while 45 percent pick the president, but Obama tops Santorum 50 – 39 percent on this issue.

Oil companies are most to blame for gas prices, 32 percent of voters say, while 23 percent blame oil-producing countries most; 18 percent blame Obama and 16 percent blame supply and demand.

Florida voters oppose 54 – 36 percent releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to curb rising gas prices.

“Although a solid majority of Florida voters see environmental regulations as a cause of higher gasoline prices, Sunshine State voters are slightly less likely than their brethren in Ohio and Pennsylvania to see things that way. They are also the least supportive of the idea of tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat higher gas prices,” Brown said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.