Swing-State Polls: Contest Tightens

A series of new polls of competitive states shows the race between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney tightening since their debate last week — so much so that they conflict over who’s leading in Virginia.

A CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll shows Obama ahead in Virginia, by 51 to 46 percent, up one point from his 50 to 46 percent advantage in September. Romney led marginally in Virginia, by 48  to 47 percent — a virtual tie — in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College survey, a reversal of Obama’s 49 to 44 percent lead last month.

As for the other states, CBS/Times/Quinnipiac found a one-point lead for Romney in Colorado, 48 to 47 percent, a reversal from Obama’s one-point lead last month — both statistical ties, within the margin of error — while the president continued to lead in Wisconsin, by 50 to 47 percent, down from 51 to 45 percent.

NBC/Journal/Marist found Obama ahead in Florida, by 48 to 47 percent, after being ahead by five points in September, and in the lead in Ohio, by 51 to 45 percent, after being ahead, 50 to 43 percent last month. No Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio.

The impact of the first presidential debate on Oct. 3 can be seen in these surveys.

“Before the first presidential debate, Romney was the expected loser and overcame those low expectations to impress the voting public,” says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute in Hamden, Connecticut.

Voters surveyed say Romney has an edge on handling the economy in Colorado, 52 to 44 percent; in Florida, 48 to 45 percent; and in Wisconsin, 49 to 47 percent. He leads, 48 to 45 percent on the economy in Virginia in the NBC/Journal poll and is tied with Obama at 48 percent in the CBS/Times survey. Obama leads in Ohio on that question, 49 to 45 percent.

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