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Obama above 50% in some battleground polls

By Paul Steinhauser, CNN Political Editor
September 27, 2012 -- Updated 0025 GMT (0825 HKT)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, order food at a Wendy's restuarant in Richmond Heights, Ohio, on Tuesday. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, order food at a Wendy's restuarant in Richmond Heights, Ohio, on Tuesday.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Polls indicate Mitt Romney has lost his edge on the economy, which was supposed to be a strength
  • Barack Obama leads in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, all expected to be contested states
  • Pollster says electorate divided on whether the country is better off than four years ago
  • Romney and his campaign say they're not concerned about the polls

(CNN) -- New polls in three swing states indicate President Barack Obama exceeding 50% support among likely voters and holding leads of nine to 12 points over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Fueling those numbers, the four polls suggest that Romney has lost his edge on the economy, an issue on which the challenger has based his campaign.

The new surveys come one day after another batch of battleground state polls also suggested Obama with the advantage.

The fresh batch of polls in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, which together account for 67 electoral votes, were released by Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times and Franklin and Marshall College.

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They were conducted after the release last week of secretly recorded clips from a May fundraiser during which Romney casts Obama supporters as dependent on government. The story dominated coverage of the race last week.

Fresh polls give Obama the advantage in four crucial battlegrounds

Voters in the three states questioned in the Quinnipiac survey said they saw Obama as better for handling the economy, health care, Medicare, national security, international crisis and immigration. Romney tied or edged ahead on dealing with the budget deficit.

While Romney's distractions last week over his controversial remark about Obama supporters might influence these polls, the economy appears to be a key to the Democrat's increasing advantage.

"The wide difference between the two candidates is not just a result of Romney's bad week. In Ohio and Florida, votes are basically split down the middle on whether the country and they and their families are worse or better off than they were four years ago," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"If voters don't think they are worse off, it is difficult to see them throwing out an incumbent whose personal ratings with voters remains quite high," Brown said.

Why Romney is losing must-win Ohio

"The president's strength results from the fact that for the first time in the entire campaign, he is seen as better able to fix the economy than is Romney, the issue that has been the Republican's calling card since the general election campaign began," Brown said.

The economy remains the top issue for Americans when it comes to their vote for president.

CNN Polling Center

Romney says he's not worried about the new surveys.

"Polls go up and down, but frankly you're going to see the support that I need to become president on Election Day," Romney said Tuesday in an interview with CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta.

Romney's political director also says he's not concerned.

"The public polls are what the public polls are. I kind of hope the Obama campaign is basing their campaign on what the public polls say. We don't. We have confidence in our data and our metrics," Rich Beeson said Tuesday to reporters aboard the Romney campaign plane. "I feel confident where we are in each one of our states. I have great faith in our data."

As both Romney and Obama separately campaign throughout Ohio on Wednesday, the Quinnipiac/CBS News/New York Times poll indicates the president leading Romney 53%-43% among likely voters.

The Quinnipiac/CBS News/New York Times is the fourth non-partisan, live-operator, survey to be conducted in Ohio over the past two weeks. A CNN Poll of Polls that averages all five surveys puts Obama at 51% and Romney at 44% among likely voters. Some partisan polling indicates a closer contest.

CNN Electoral Map

Ohio, with 18 electoral votes, is crucial to winning the White House. In modern times, no Republican has won the presidency without carrying the state. It put George W. Bush over the top in his 2004 re-election and Obama won it four years ago by five points.

The Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times survey in Florida indicates the president at 53% and Romney at 44%.

Five non-partisan, live-operator, polls have been conducted in the Sunshine State since mid month. A CNN Poll of Polls that averages all five surveys puts Obama at 50% and Romney at 45% among likely voters. As with Ohio, some partisan polling in Florida has the battle for the state's 29 electoral votes much closer.

Florida is another state that Obama turned from red to blue four years ago, edging out McCain by three points. Some partisan polling indicates a closer contest.

In Pennsylvania, the new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times survey puts the president at 54% and the former Massachusetts governor at 42%. And the Franklin and Marshall poll indicates Obama holding a 52%-43% advantage. The nine-point margin is just within the survey's sampling error for likely voters.

Five non-partisan, live-operator polls have been conducted in the Keystone State over the past 2 1/2 weeks. A CNN Poll of Polls average of all the surveys puts Obama at 51% and Romney at 41%.

George H.W. Bush's 1988 victory in the state was the last time a Republican carried Pennsylvania in a presidential election.

But the state remained competitive in the successive cycles, until four years ago, when Obama carried Pennsylvania by 10 points. But two years ago in the midterms, the GOP won back the governor's office, a Senate seat and five House seats.

This cycle, the state has seen little candidate traffic. Obama last visited Pennsylvania on July 6. Romney's last visit to the state was on July 17.

The new round of polls come one week before the first presidential debate in Denver.

The three presidential showdowns are Romney's best chance to try and change the numbers. But early voting is already underway in a handful of states, and Iowa becomes the first battleground state to begin early voting on Thursday.

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