In a new Purple Poll released today, voters in 12 swing states diverge dramatically on their views of the country's economic trajectory. This overwhelmingly affects who they plan on casting their ballot for in November.
"Among those who believe the economy is getting better, 93% support Obama, 4% favor Romney. And among those who say it is getting worse, Romney leads Obama 84% to 7%," says the Purple Strategies findings.
This economic question is now more predictive of vote choice than any other factor this election, including partisanship.
Swing state voters who view the economy as improving is down 8 points from April, undoubtedly on the heels of multiple months of sluggish job growth.
Interestingly, polling results also find negative ads running in these high stakes states do very little except evenly split voters between the candidates. This is especially of note given how negative both campaigns have become in the past few weeks, as President Obama's economic record and Gov. Romney's tenure at Bain Capitol continue to be heavily scrutinized.
Despite a few new insights, the findings highlight just how stable the race is at the moment. Voters remain nearly evenly divided, and clearly quite polarized. President Obama continues to lead Gov. Romney by a two point margin, comparative to June.
Looking at individual states, the race is tight in Colorado and Virginia, while Ohio swing state voters appear to be favoring the President, and Florida swinging slightly to Gov. Romney.
The poll also looked to some unconventional ways to gather insight into independent and swing state voters, by asking respondent to associate a company or animal to a specific candidate.
Gov. Romney was most closely identified with Microsoft, while voters chose Apple to associate with President Obama. For car manufacturers, Gov. Romney was overwhelmingly associated with BMW, while President Obama received similar margins in association with GM.
Purple State voters found Gov. Romney to be slightly more associated with a snake, over President Obama. However, independents in the states chose to identify President Obama with a snake by 7 points more, making it a 9-point swing.
The Purple Poll gathers data from voters in 12 highly contested swing states. "The Wild West" of Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. "The Heartland" of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. "The Rust Belt" of New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. And "The Southern Swing" of Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Click here for the full results of July's Purple Poll (in PDF format).