By David Jackson, USA TODAY
A new poll gives President Obama solid leads in three key swing states: Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.
The president hits 50% in all three states, according to the survey by Quinnipiac University, the New York Times and CBS News.
Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 50%-44% in Ohio, by 51%-45% in Florida, and 53%-42% in Pennsylvania.
"If today were Nov. 6, President Barack Obama would sweep the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania and - if history is any guide - into a second term in the Oval Office," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Obama campaigns today in Ohio and is scheduled to be in Florida tomorrow.
Brown pointed out that Obama "is running better in the key swing states than he is nationally."
"Part of the reason may be that the unemployment rate in Ohio is well below the national average," Brown said. "In Florida it has been dropping over the past year, while nationally that has not been the case."
"All this matters because half of all likely voters say the economy is the most important issue to their vote, far ahead of any other issue. The saving grace for Gov. Mitt Romney is that he roughly breaks even with the president on who is best on the economy.
The president's strength among women is the dominant dynamic fueling his lead. It is this dynamic that argues for Romney to pick a female running mate. On the other hand, the president's lead in Ohio and Florida also argues for the selection by Romney of Sen. Rob Portman or Sen. Marco Rubio since he can't win the White House without the Buckeye and Sunshine states and presumably these home state senators would be the most helpful."