President Obama and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney run neck-and-neck in hypothetical match-ups in three critical swing states, a new Quinnipiac poll shows.
Voters are nearly split between the president and the former Massachusetts governor in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida -- and since 1960, no presidential candidate has won without carrying at least two of those three states.
The poll, conducted from October 31 to November 7, shows that businessman Herman Cain leads Romney among Republican voters in Ohio and Florida and is tied with Romney in Pennsylvania. However, in all three states, voters consider Romney more trustworthy than Cain and are more comfortable with the idea of Romney as president. Furthermore, Mr. Obama bests Cain in a hypothetical match-up in all three states.
Mr. Obama won Pennsylvania by more than a 10-point margin in 2008, but the Quinnipiac survey shows the president polling just one point ahead of Romney, 44 percent to 43 percent. Fifty-two percent of Pennsylvania voters disapprove of the president's job performance, and 50 percent say he doesn't deserve a second term.
In Ohio, Mr. Obama is ahead of Romney 45 percent to 42 percent. Half of Ohio voters disapprove of the president's job performance and 46 percent say he deserves to be re-elected.
In 2008, Mr. Obama won Florida by just about 2 points, but he currently trails Romney there, 45 percent to 42 percent. While the president beats Cain in a hypothetical match-up, Cain comes close in Florida: The president leads 45 percent to 41 percent.
Florida could prove to be even more of a challenge for Mr. Obama if the Republican candidate selects Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as a running mate. The first-term senator, a rising GOP star known for his charm and his Cuban heritage, has been widely considered a top contender for the GOP vice presidential slot, though he's said he's not interested in the job.