NBC/Marist/WSJ: Obama Up 8 In Ohio, Race Neck-And-Neck In Florida, Virginia

Tom Kludt

President Barack Obama continues to look like the clear favorite in Ohio, while the race is tight in Virginia and Florida, according to a trio of polls out Wednesday.

In the latest slate of swing state polls released jointly by NBC News, Marist College and the Wall Street Journal, Obama boasts a comfortable lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters in Ohio, 51 percent to 43 percent. The Buckeye State slipped away from Romney last month, and Wednesday's poll indicates that the president is maintaining his strong standing there.

Obama draws support from a variety of different sources in Ohio, including 45 percent from white voters in the state. The president leads big among women, 56 percent to 39 percent, as well as in every region of the state except Toledo in the northwest and Cincinnati in the south.

Obama leads Romney by a similar margin in Ohio, according to the PollTracker Average.

The race is decidedly closer in Virginia and Florida, where Obama leads Romney by 2 points and 1-point respectively. In the previous NBC/Marist/WSJ polls conducted in early September, Obama led Romney in each state by identical 5-point margins. Obama is viewed favorably by at least 50 percent of likely voters in each state, once again outpacing Romney in terms of personal popularity.

But the two are running neck-and-neck on the question of who would do a better job presiding over the economy. Obama is viewed as the better candidate to handle foreign policy by voters in each state, while in Florida, with its high population of senior citizens, the president is preferred over Romney to handle Medicare, 48 percent to 43 percent.

The PollTracker Average currently shows both Virginia and Florida favoring Obama.

The polls from NBC News, Marist College, and the Wall Street Journal were conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 1 using live phone interviews with 931 likely voters in Ohio, 969 likely voters in Virginia and 890 likely voters in Florida. Ohio's sample has a margin of error of 3.2 percent, Virginia's sample has a margin of error of 3.1 percent and Florida's sample has a margin of error of 3.3 percent.