Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s surprise endorsement of President Barack Obama came with a warning for the Republican Party.
Crist, who was elected governor as a Republican and then ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as an independent, penned an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times that told arriving Republican National Convention delegates that an element of the GOP had veered too far to the right on women’s issues, immigration, seniors and students.
ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos used Crist's endorsement to press Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican party’s platform committee, to respond to the charge.
McDonnell replied that Crist was "wrong on the platform. He also missed the point. What matters is getting the nation back on track, the federal government out of debt, and jobs for the American people.
"So on the things that really matter to voters, George, I think the records are stark, and I think that's why independent voters have a 10-point margin in favor of Mitt Romney right now," McDonnell said.
Romney is ahead by 10 points among independents? We looked at the most recent national polls to find out if that was correct.
We found that while national polls showed Romney leading Obama among independent voters, the Republican’s advantage varied from a few points to 11 points.
- A Fox News poll supported McDonnell’s claim, with Romney leading Obama among independents 42 percent to 32 percent. This poll tracked likely voters, and was conducted Aug. 19-21. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.
- An AP-GfK poll last week showed Romney ahead among independent voters 41 to 30. The poll was conducted Aug. 16-20, with a margin of error of about 4 percentage points.
- A CNN/ORC International poll showed Romney ahead with the backing of 48 percent of likely independent voters, to Obama’s 45 percent. It was conducted Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 by telephone. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
- The three-week average of Gallup’s poll of registered voters showed Romney leading Obama among independents 44 percent to 41 percent. Polling took place July 30 to Aug. 19.
It’s worth nothing that Obama was ahead among independents in the days before Romney chose U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential pick. CNN and Fox polls showed that about three weeks ago, Obama was ahead by 11 percent.
We also took a look at recent polls in three key battleground states.
A Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday showed that Romney was ahead 48 percent to 44 percent among independents in Florida. This was within the poll’s margin of error.
That same poll in Ohio showed Romney was ahead of independents 48 percent to 43 percent in Ohio.
In Virginia, data from the firm Public Policy Polling showed Romney with a 46 to 43 lead among independents.
McDonnell said Romney was ahead of Obama with independents by 10 points. He is right that polls show Romney leading among independents, although the polls range from a few to 11 points. We rate the claim Mostly True.