President Obama in Chapel Hill, N.C., on April 24, 2012, and Republican… (Associated Press )
WASHINGTON -- It’s been more than 50 years since a candidate has won the White House without carrying at least two of the three swing states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, and a new poll shows Mitt Romney neck and neck with President Obama in two of them.
Romney, who trailed Obama 49% to 42% in Florida and 47% to 41% in Ohio in late March, is now statistically tied with the president, 44% to 43% in Florida and 42% to 44% in Ohio, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll of voters in the three states.
Obama, however, has improved on his lead in Pennsylvania, where he beats Romney 47% to 39%, up from the 45%-42% lead he enjoyed in March.
Quinnipiac surveyed 3,467 voters in the three states in interviews on cellphones and land lines from April 25 through May 1. The results of the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, led Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the university’s polling institute, to conclude that Obama is doing “slightly better” than Romney in the three states.
“What appears to be keeping Romney in the ballgame, at least in Florida and Ohio, is the perception he can better fix the economy,” Brown said.
A majority of voters surveyed – at least 67% in each state – said they economy was in a recession, but at least half said recovery had begun. In Pennsylvania, voters were divided over which candidate would do a better job on the economy. In Florida and Ohio, more voters thought Romney would do a better job.
Asked whether they believe the Supreme Court should overturn Obama’s healthcare law, a signature achievement of his administration, 51% in Ohio and Florida and 46% in Pennsylvania said they thought it should be overturned.
The poll found Obama continuing to perform better than Romney among women. Pennsylvania women in particular are “wild” about Obama, supporting him 52% to Romney’s 35%.
Still, the 8-percentage-point margin Obama enjoys in Pennsylvania is 3 percentage points lower than his winning margin there in the 2008 election.