Women, Indies give Obama PA lead in new poll

President Obama holds a steady 6-point lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of the state released Tuesday morning.

Obama’s 46 to 40 percent advantage among registered voters is virtually unchanged from the university’s May survey, and pollsters said that the president is buoyed in the Democratic-leaning state by his advantage among women voters and independents.

In Tuesday’s poll, women back Obama 51 percent to 36 percent in Pennsylvania, while men narrowly favor Romney, 44 percent to 40 percent. Obama is leading 43 percent to 35 percent among independent voters, the poll finds.

But the poll contains some warning signs for Obama, who is due to attend three fundraising events at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia Tuesday night. It’s the ninth weekday out of the last 27 that Obama has been on the road raking in campaign cash; he was at three events in Baltimore earlier in the day.

First, he hasn’t cracked 50 percent support in a series of Quinnipiac polls. In addition, the president’s job approval rating in this survey (46 percent) is worse than his likability rating of 77 percent. By 49 percent to 41 percent, respondents say that Romney would do a better job of handling the economy. Asked which candidate would create more jobs, 45 percent picked the Republican, to 43 percent who named Obama.

“Pennsylvanians may like the president more than they like Mitt Romney, but the warm and fuzzy feeling gives way to the cold hard truth of a still-shaky economy,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the university’s polling institute.

Pennsylvania Republicans sought to pre-but Obama’s visit to the state during a conference call with reporters, centering on the president’s comment last week that “the private sector is doing fine” as well as a provisions of the new health-care law that will burden state medical-device manufacturers with a new tax.

“Mr. President, we’re not doing fine,” said state GOP Chairman Rob Gleason. “You’re not doing fine, either. It’s time for you to go.” Though Pennsylvania’s 7.4 percent unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 8.2 percent, Gleason said that the number does not reflect huge numbers of out-of-work state residents who have given up looking for jobs.

U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, of the Sixth District in suburban Philadelphia, spoke of a young medical-device company he had visited Tuesday, Neuronetics, that faces a new 2.3 percent gross-receipts tax next year as part of the Obama health-care overhaul. “It’s absolutely going to crush them in terms of their ability to grow,” Gerlach said. “If the president is serious about jobs, he should come a few miles west of Philadelphia and speak to the medical-device manufacturers.”

The industry says Pennsylvania is home to 600 companies that make medical devices, employing about 20,000 people.

The Quinnipiac survey is based on telephone interviews June 5-10 with 997 registered Pennsylvania voters, and results are subject to a statistical error margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.