Poll: Obama and Romney neck and neck in key swing states

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is in a dead heat with President Obama in the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a Qunnipiac University poll released on Thursday.

The president is running ahead of all of Romney’s Republican rivals, although half of the swing-state voters say Obama does not deserve a second term.

“His wide lead over most of the field and his neck-and-neck race with Romney show that the dissatisfaction with the president as evidenced by his mid-40s percent job approval and weak ‘deserves a second term’ ratings hasn’t translated into affection for his GOP challengers,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.

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The poll also found that the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain have not critically damaged his appeal.

In Florida, Cain holds a healthy lead over all Republicans with 27 percent support, followed by Romney at 21, Gingrich at 17 and Perry at 5.

But in match-ups against Obama in Florida, Romney does the best, leading the president 45 percent to 42, while Obama leads Cain 45 to 41. Obama also holds slim leads over Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, by margins of 45-42 and 46-40, respectively.

In Ohio, Obama leads all of his Republican challengers, with Romney the closest by a margin of 45-42. The president has double-digit leads over the rest of his Republican rivals in that state, and once again Cain leads the Republican field with 25 percent of the support to Romney’s 20.

And in Pennsylvania, Obama leads Romney 48 to 43, Cain 48 to 38, Gingrich 48 to 38, and Perry 47 to 38. Cain and Romney are tied among Republicans at 17 percent, with Santorum pulling 13 percent in his home state, along with Gingrich.

Recent polls indicate that Obama faces an uphill battle to duplicate the success he had in 12 toss-up states, including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, that he won in 2008.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7 and has a 3 percent margin of error.

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