President Barack Obama leads Republican challenger Mitt Romney in three critical swing states, for the first time hitting an important threshold of support, according to a recent survey.
According to polls of likely voters by Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times, support for Obama has hit 50 percent or more in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. No one has won the presidency without winning two of the three states since 1960.
In Florida, Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 45 percent; in Ohio, he leads 50 percent to 44 percent; and in Pennsylvania Obama leads 53 percent to 42 percent.
"If today were Nov. 6, President Barack Obama would sweep the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania and - if history is any guide - into a second term in the Oval Office," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release.
The poll also showed support for Obama's call to increase taxes on households with annual earnings of more than $250,000 – in Florida, the margin is 58 percent to 37 percent, in Ohio, 60-37 percent, and in Pennsylvania, 62-34 percent.
"The president is running better in the key swing states than he is nationally," said Brown. "Part of the reason may be that the unemployment rate in Ohio is well below the national average. In Florida it has been dropping over the past year, while nationally that has not been the case."
While most voters are split or give the edge to Romney when it comes to who would better handle the economy, Obama leads among women voters and Romney among men.
"The president's strength among women is the dominant dynamic fueling his lead," said Brown. "It is this dynamic that argues for Romney to pick a female running mate. On the other hand, the president's lead in Ohio and Florida also argues for the selection by Romney of Sen. Rob Portman or Sen. Marco Rubio since he can't win the White House without the Buckeye and Sunshine states and presumably these home-state senators would be the most helpful."
The president's campaign strategy of spending heavily in swing state advertising ahead of the fall may be paying off. The question is whether or not voters are settling into their positions or if there's still some way Romney can change their minds ahead of the election. The Obama campaign, still raising plenty of money, is still trailing Romney and the Republicans though, so it's likely they will be outspent once the general election officially gets underway in September.
The surveys were conducted from July 24 – 30 and have a margin of error of plus or minus about 3 percent in each state.