Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; two states Romney has to have and one he'd dearly love to win. Polling over the last months has shown Obama with a consistent lead in those crucual states and a new Quinnipiac poll out today does nothing to change that notion:
Voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania support President Barack Obama's new immigration policy and are divided on whether the president or Gov. Mitt Romney would be better for their personal economic future, as they give Obama leads in these three critical swing states, a razor thin 4 points in Florida, a healthy 9 points in Ohio and 6 points in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.
This compares to the results of a May 3 Swing State Poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, showing Obama with an 8-point lead in Pennsylvania with Florida and Ohio too close to call.
Matching Obama against Romney in each of these key states - no one has won the White House since 1960 without taking at least two of them - shows:
Florida: Obama edges Romney 45 - 41 percent;
Ohio: Obama over Romney 47 - 38 percent;
Pennsylvania: Obama tops Romney 45 - 39 percent.
"President Barack Obama has decent margins over Gov. Mitt Romney in Ohio and Pennsylvania and a smaller advantage in Florida. If he can keep those leads in all three of these key swing states through election day he would be virtually assured of re-election," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Politico points out that Romney can't keep the conversation on the economy - or, at least focus the attention of voters on Obama's failings:
It's hard not to see Obama's slight edge as linked to his ability to keep the debate over the economy competitive. Asked which candidate would be better for their "personal economic future," voters in all three states essentailly split between Obama and Romney. In Florida, 46 percent chose Obama and 45 percent chose Romney. In Ohio, it was 47 percent for Obama and 42 percent for Romney. In Pennsylvania, the split was 44 percent for Obama and 43 percent for Romney. If Romney's going to run an economy-only campaign, he'll need a stronger performance on this particular question - and if the economy stays stagnant, he may well get it.
Obama is turning sommersaults to keep the economy from being the number one issue, and so far, he has been successful. But the closer we get to the election, the harder that is going to be and eventually, voters will see the election as a referendum on the incumbent's performance.
When that happens, Romney should have convinced people that he can do a better job than Obama or the president will get a second term.