New CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University polls released early on Wednesday show President Obama and Mitt Romney running neck-and-neck in Florida and Virginia, while Obama maintains his 5-point lead in Ohio, a state considered critical to both candidates.
In Florida, Obama leads Romney by a single point, 48 percent to 47 percent. The president holds a similar lead in Virginia, 49 percent to 47 percent. Both results are well within the margin of error for each poll of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Romney runs stronger in these two states than he did in previous CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac polls, but he has yet to overtake the president. In Florida, Obama held a dominant, 9-point lead in late September, prior to the pivotal first presidential debate. Romney has also narrowed Obama's advantage in Virginia: A poll conducted just after that first debate showed Obama leading by 5 points.
Meanwhile, Obama continues to lead in Ohio, 50 percent to 45 percent, unchanged from a CBS News/Quinnipiac University poll conducted a week ago (The Times did not sponsor last week's survey). His lead is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
Quinnipiac credited a narrowing gender gap with Romney's uptick in Florida and Virginia, with the former Massachusetts governor running stronger among both sexes than in previous polls.
"The gender gap which has marked this campaign is getting smaller in Florida and Virginia," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"In general, women are about 10 points plus for President Obama and men are in Governor Romney's corner by about the same margin. This represents a slight increase for Romney among men and women. In some earlier polls, Obama's lead among women had been in the high teens."
The polls were conducted Oct. 23-28, following the final debate on Oct. 22. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,073 likely voters in Florida, 1,110 in Ohio, and 1,074 in Virginia.
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