In a new poll of registered Pennsylvania voters, President Barack Obama maintains a lead over Republican Mitt Romney, but one that is shrinking.
Obama enjoyed the support of 44 percent of registered voters, according to a poll released this week by Franklin & Marshall College. Romney had the support of 38 percent of voters, and 15 percent were undecided.
Those numbers represented a shift for both candidates.
In the previous F&M poll, released in February, 48 percent of registered Pennsylvanians supported the president compared to 36 percent who backed Romney, and only 12 percent were undecided.
“Obama’s personal favorability ratings and job approval rating declined in Pennsylvania since June,” noted the report, adding: “Obama has led Mitt Romney in every Franklin & Marshall poll since August 2011.”
Despite the decline, the president’s position in Pennsylvania mirrors his position here at the same point in the 2008 campaign.
“Obama’s re-election prospects in Pennsylvania today are quite similar to his position in August 2008,” said the poll. “His personal favorability scores are a bit lower than in 2008, but Mitt Romney’s scores are much lower than John McCain’s were at the time.”
In a more in-depth look at voter preferences, the poll found that non-white voters — it did not break voters down into individual ethnic groups — preferred Obama 85 percent to 6 percent. White voters were divided almost evenly, with 41 percent saying they supported Obama and 40 percent saying they supported Romney.
Women also favored the president, with 49 percent of women saying they’d vote for Obama compared to 34 who said they’d choose Romney.
Middle class voters gave Romney more support than either poorer or richer Pennsylvanians. According to the F&M figures, 44 percent of people with incomes between $35,000 and $75,000 said they supported Romney. Only 29 percent of those making less than $35,000 supported the Republican and just 34 percent of those making more than $75,000.
Nearly half — 49 percent — of those making less than $35,000 said they supported Obama, compared to 42 percent in the middle bracket and 49 percent in the over $75,000 income range.
Obama garners more support among college-educated state residents, with 50 percent of college graduates supporting Obama compared to 35 percent for Romney.
The poll broke down religious affiliation and found that fundamental Christians overwhelmingly support Romney, with 57 percent saying they backed the Republican compared to 29 percent who backed Obama.
Those figures compared to support among people who identified as “religious” who, overall, leaned toward the president — 61 percent of those said they backed Obama compared to 20 percent for Romney.
In a look at regional preferences — the Philadelphia region showed the most support for Obama: 73 percent of people here supported the president. In the counties surrounding the city, 47 percent supported Obama. Allegheny County residents also preferred the president 59 percent.