A trio of polls released Thursday give President Barack Obama marginal leads over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in three crucial swing states.
The latest NBC/Marist surveys polled registered voters in Ohio, Virginia and Florida. Obama enjoys his largest lead over Romney in Ohio, where NBC/Marist found the president favored by voters over the former Massachusetts governor, 48 percent to 42 percent. The president's leads over Romney in Virginia and Florida are identical: 48 percent to 44 percent.
Not only will the three states figure prominently in the 2012 electoral college map; they are also home to three elected officials rumored to be on Romney's veep shortlist. The bad news for Romney: tapping Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) as a running mate would not improve the Republican ticket's chances in their respective stomping grounds. The NBC/Marist poll found there is little change in the three swing states when Portman, McDonnell or Rubio are added to the hypothetical matchup, with the Democratic ticket of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden maintaining their leads in all three states.
The current PollTracker Average of Ohio, Virginia and Florida illustrates just how tight the race is between Obama and Romney in the three battlegrounds. Below, the average for Florida shows Romney with a narrow lead: