Poll: Obama lead narrows in key swing states

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign stop, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in North Las Vegas, Nev.
AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

(CBS News) New CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll numbers from three important swing states show a tight presidential race getting tighter.

The poll shows President Obama's lead in Florida is down to just three points. Mr. Obama had a six-point lead there at the end of July.

The president is still leading Mitt Romney by six points in Ohio. In Wisconsin, home state of Romney's running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's now in a virtual tie with the president with just two points between them.

Poll: Ryan pick helps cut into Obama lead in Wisconsin

(Watch: Face to Face: Ryan may be helping Romney close gap with Obama in key swing states.)

Tapping Ryan as his VP has moved the needle and made Wisconsin a battleground state. In the poll, one in three voters say they're more likely to support Romney since he put Ryan on the ticket. Ryan is also viewed more favorably in the state than Vice President Joe Biden, who has negative ratings in all three swing states polled. Since the Ryan announcement, in those states, Republican enthusiasm for the election is up. GOP voters say they're more excited about voting than they were four years ago by wide margins over Democrats.

But voters are not enthusiastic about changes to Medicare. By a two-to-one margin, voters favor keeping Medicare as it is, rather than a voucher-type program that the GOP supports - and the White House has been looking to expand that advantage.

But the Romney campaign has been fighting back - arguing the president is the one taking money from Medicare. "What President Obama will not tell you is that he took $716 billion from the Medicare program to pay for the Obama care program," Ryan said.

Linking Medicare to the president's health care law is where Republicans see an opportunity. The poll shows the president's signature achievement remain unpopular in all three states.

(Watch: Face to Face: The full interview with Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown.)

Another challenge for Romney is a gender gap. He trails the president among women by 12 points in Florida, 13 points in Ohio and 9 points in Wisconsin. So expect more introductions like this one Wednesday - from Iowa's lieutenant governor Kim Reynolds. "President Obama is yet again on the attack, trying to divert attention from his failed economic policies, which have been especially devastating to women."

The gender gap is an issue that will continue to be analyzed in light of the Missouri senate candidate's controversial comments about rape and pregnancy. This poll did not account for Rep. Todd Akin's comments. The impact of his remarks, if any, on the presidential race still remain to be seen.

  • Jan Crawford
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    Jan Crawford is CBS News' chief legal correspondent and based in Washington, D.C.