President Barack Obama holds a narrow lead over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in three pivotal battleground states -- Florida, Ohio and Virginia -- according to an NBC-Marist poll released on Thursday. The Florida results come in stark contrast to a a Quinnipiac University poll on Wednesday, which showed Romney ahead by six points, and are indicative of how much polling can fluctuate in a closely contested race.
According to the NBC-Marist poll, the president is ahead by an identical four-point margin in Florida and Virginia, leading Romney 48 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. In Ohio, Obama holds a six-point edge, leading Romney 48 percent to 42 percent. But the president's advantage is substantially lower than that in an earlier round of NBC-Marist polls conducted in March, which placed him ahead of Romney by 12 percentage points in Ohio and 17 points in Virginia.
As NBC points out, the president is hurt by public sentiment that the country is on the wrong track. At least 55 percent of respondents in all three states said the country is going the wrong way, but they were less sure which of the two candidates will do a better job steering the economy.