Polls: Obama pulling away from Romney in three swing states

President Obama leads the GOP presidential candidates in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — three states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

The president holds his widest lead in Florida, where he tops Mitt Romney 49 percent to 42, and leads Rick Santorum 50 percent to 37.

{mosads}In Ohio, the president leads Romney 47 percent to 41, and Santorum 47 percent to 40, according to Quinnipiac.

The closest contest is in Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania, where Obama leads Romney 45 percent to 42 percent, and leads Santorum 48 percent to 41.

Obama will likely need to win about half of the electoral votes supplied by Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire if he is to secure a second term.

The president won all of those states in 2008.

“President Barack Obama is on a roll in the key swing states,” Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Peter A. Brown said in a statement. “If the election were today, he would carry at least two states. And if history repeats itself, that means he would be reelected. But the election is not today. It is seven months away. Two months ago President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney were in a statistical tie in Ohio and Florida.”

The GOP nominees have terrible favorability ratings in these three states, perhaps a result of the elongated and increasingly contentious primary season.

Santorum is under water in all three states, including his home state.

Romney only has a positive favorability rating in Florida, where 41 percent say they have a favorable view of the former Massachusetts governor, versus 36 percent who have an unfavorable view. In Ohio, Romney is at 36 percent favorable versus 43 percent unfavorable, and in Pennsylvania he’s at 37 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable.

President Obama has positive favorability ratings in all three states, with 51 percent favorable in Florida compared to 44 percent unfavorable, 49 percent favorable in Ohio versus 46 percent unfavorable and 48 percent favorable in Pennsylvania against 46 percent unfavorable.

The polls were conducted between March 20 and 26, and have a 2.8 percent margin of error.

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