A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll of the pivotal swing states Ohio, Florida, and Virginia show President Barack Obama with a substantial lead over Republican challenger, Governor Mitt Romney. Obama has a five point lead in Florida and Virginia and a seven point lead in Ohio. The Florida and Virginia numbers are within the polls +-3.1% margin of error, but Ohio's is outside of the margin of error.
What is interesting is that the two candidates are tied on the question of who can handle the economy the best. The poll also notes that there are only 6% of undecided voters in the poll. Chuck Todd, NBC's Chief White House Correspondent, later said that these undecided voters "don't sound like they're going to vote." He notes they have low opinions of both Obama and Romney and are pessimistic of the country's direction. This further goes to show that this election, much like 2004's Presidential election, will be all about driving home the base of the two major political parties.
This poll is absolutely devastating to Romney's electoral college map. Many of the supposed "swing states", such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, have a tendency to go blue in most Presidential elections in modern times. Sure, it might not be a huge margin, but they still end up breaking that way in the end. Giving Obama those "lean blue" swing states and Florida puts his electoral vote count at 266. If he picks up just one of the smaller swing states like New Hampshire, that puts him at 270. Romney could win Ohio and Virginia, and several other states, and still lose the race.
It is very curious that these states, which went hard right just two years ago (Florida arguably elected the most conservative Governor in the country in Rick Scott), are now backing President Obama with solid numbers. I don't know what Romney needs to do in the next two months to change the electoral map, but I have a gut feeling that just a strong debate performance alone won't Romney over the top in the polls or on election day.