After the Republican primary's many debates and many gaffes, Mitt Romney is a weaker candidate against President Obama. Obama is ahead in three important swing states, and way more personally popular. While Romney was a ahead of the president in the fall, Obama's lead widened in recent weeks. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.
Findings: Obama is ahead of Romney in three big swing states: Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The president leads his likely Republican challenger 47 percent to 41 percent in Ohio, 49 percent to 42 percent in Florida, and 45 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania.
Methodology: Survey between March 20 and March 26 of 1,228 Florida voters, 1,246 Ohio voters, and 1,232 Pennsylvania voters.
Why it matters: The crazy math of the electoral college means that If the election were held today, and these states voted according to this poll, President Obama would win. Obama's 7 percentage point margin in Ohio is particularly interesting, because Karl Rove has pointed to the Midwest as one place where Obama's extra weak. Perhaps millions of dollars in ads from Rove's Crossroads groups have yet to take effect. Another interesting tidbit: the poll finds women's reproductive health issues being important to between 48 percent and 52 percent of these swing state voters. Obama enjoys a significant advantage among women in all three states.
Caveat: Romney has a lot of time to make up the difference by November.