Poll: Obama leads in Ohio, Romney closing gap in Florida, Virginia

A new poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney in Ohio, with the GOP challenger closing the gap in two other swing states.

The NBC News/Marist/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday shows Obama leading Romney among likely voters in Ohio 51 percent to 43. That finding is virtually identical to when the poll last surveyed likely voters in the state and found Obama leading Romney 50 percent to 43.

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But in both Florida and Virginia, the race is much tighter. Obama just barely leads Romney in Florida, 47 percent to 46, which is down from about a month ago when the poll found Obama leading 49 percent to 45. Similarly, in Virginia Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 46. In September, Obama had a wider lead in Virginia with 49 percent support among likely voters to Romney's 45 percent. Obama's lead in those two states is within the poll's 3-point margin of error.

Obama's lead in Ohio can mainly be explained by strong numbers among female likely voters. Fifty-six percent of women in Ohio back Obama while 49 percent support Romney, the poll found. Additionally, 51 percent of likely voters in Ohio say they view Romney negatively while 42 percent say they have a positive opinion of him. By comparison, 52 percent of likely voters in Ohio have a favorable view of Obama while 44 percent have an unfavorable view. 


Nationally, the poll found Obama with a slight lead over Romney. Obama leads Romney 49 percent to 46 among likely voters. Among registered voters, Obama leads Romney 50 percent to 45, the poll found.

The poll was conducted among 1,000 registered voters and 832 likely voters. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for registered voters and 3.4 points among likely voters.