Polls: Making Gains On The Economy, Obama Leads In WI And VA, But CO Remains Close

Tom Kludt

With a strengthened position on the economy, President Barack Obama claims clear leads in two swing states, including in Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's native Wisconsin, while the race is tight in a western battleground, according to a new slate of polls released Wednesday.

The latest round of polls from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times show Obama leading Mitt Romney among likely voters in Wisconsin (51 percent to 45 percent) and in Virginia (50 percent to 46 percent), while the president narrowly edges his GOP challenger in Colorado (48 percent to 47 percent).

Obama's lead in Wisconsin represents a bump for the Democratic ticket from a month ago, when the the previous Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll showed the president hanging on to a 2-point edge among likely voters in the state. Coinciding with Obama's expanded lead in the Badger State is a shift in voters' preference over which candidate is better-suited to preside over the economy. A month ago, 49 percent of Wisconsin voters said Romney would do a better job on the economy, compared with 43 percent who preferred Obama on the issue.

Today, Wisconsin voters give Obama the edge on the all-important issue, 49 percent to 46 percent -- striking a blow to Ryan, whose economic pitch has centered around hardships in his hometown of Janesville, Wis.

The president also claims an advantage on the economy in Virginia, 49 percent to 47 percent, reversing a 2-point Romney lead held in the Commonwealth a month ago. And while Romney is slightly preferred by Colorado voters to handle the economy, 48 percent to 47 percent, it's a steep drop for the Republican nominee from a month ago. In August, 51 percent of Colorado voters gave Romney the nod on the economy, outpacing the president by 10 points on the issue.

These state-level gains by Obama on what had been a consistent strength for Romney dovetail with recent national polls, which have likewise shown the president cutting into his opponent's advantage on the economy since the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention.

Wednesday's polls also show voters in all three swing states believe Obama would do a better job than Romney handling an international crisis and national security, areas with added weight in light of the ongoing tension in the Middle East and North Africa.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Wisconsin and Virginia slightly favoring Obama, while Colorado is in tossup territory.

The swing state polls were conducted by Quinnipiac University Sept. 11-17 using live telephone interviews of 1,497 likely voters in Colorado, 1,474 likely voters in Virginia and 1,485 likely voters in Wisconsin. Each sample has a margin of error of three percentage points.

(Photo Credit: Brett Marty Photography)