The Washington Times - August 8, 2012, 07:53AM

President Obama leads presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the key states of Virginia and Wisconsin, but trails Mr. Romney in Colorado, according to new swing state polls released Wednesday.

Forty-nine percent of likely voters, including undecided voters leaning toward a candidate, favor Mr. Obama compared to 45 percent who support Mr. Romney in Virginia, according to the Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS polls on swing states. Mr. Obama also gets 51 percent of the vote in Wisconsin compared to Mr. Romney’s 45 percent.


Mr. Romney, however, leads 50 percent to 45 percent in Colorado. Mr. Obama carried all three states in 2008.

A plurality of voters in each state all rate the economy as the most important issue in their decision, however — a split that could augur well for Mr. Romney. Fifty-one percent in Colorado say they think Mr. Romney would do a better job on the economy compared to 41 percent who favored Mr. Obama. Though Mr. Obama leads in Virginia, voters there give a 2-point edge to Mr. Romney on the economy, 47 percent to 45 percent. And Mr. Obama holds just a 1-point lead, 47 percent to 46 percent, on the issue in Wisconsin.

However, strong majorities in each state favor Mr. Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit by raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year. Fifty-six percent support it in Colorado, compared to 40 percent who oppose it. In Virginia, the gap was 23 percentage points — 59 percent support it and 36 percent oppose it. In Wisconsin, the split was even greater — about two-thirds support the concept, compared to 30 percent who oppose it.

But Quinnipiac pollsters cautioned that the electorate remains fluid with months to go before the November vote.

“History tells us that many voters who say they are sure will change their mind in the next 90 days,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

In Colorado, 32 percent of those polled are self-identified Democrats, 27 percent are Republicans, and 37 percent are independents, with independents essentially split between voters leaning more toward either party.

In Virginia, the sample is 23 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat and 40 percent independent, although 46 percent of independents say they are closer to the Republican Party compared to 32 percent who say they are closer to the Democrats. Likewise, Wisconsin has a greater Democratic sample size: 34 percent say they are Democrats, 27 percent are Republicans and 33 percent are independents. Among independents, 45 percent say they are closer to the Republican party, compared to 37 percent who say they are closer to the Democratic party.

But Mr. Romney also appears to be siphoning off some of the support Mr. Obama received in 2008. Forty-eight percent in Colorado say they voted for Mr. Obama in 2008, compared to 46 percent who voted for Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican. Fifty-one percent in Virginia voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 while 42 percent voted for Mr. McCain, and 53 percent voted for Mr. Obama in Wisconsin compared to 40 percent who voted for Mr. McCain.

Results are based on surveys of 1,463 likely voters in Colorado, 1,412 in Virginia and 1,428 in Wisconsin conducted from July 31 to Aug. 6.

Sarah Freishtat contributed to this report.