President Obama leads Mitt Romney narrowly in three critical swing states, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls.
In the fight for Virginia's 13 electoral votes, Mr. Obama draws 48% to Mr. Romney's 47% among likely voters.
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Battling for Florida's 29 electoral votes, Mr. Obama leads Mr. Romney by 49% to 47%.
And for Ohio's 18 electoral votes, the Democratic incumbent leads his Republican challenger by 51% to 45%. No Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio, which has been the most fiercely contested of all the battleground states this fall.
All three telephone surveys were conducted for NBC/WSJ by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. The Virginia poll, conducted Nov. 1-2, carries a margin for error of 2.9 percentage points.
The Florida poll, conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 1, carries a margin for error of 2.5 percentage points. The Ohio poll, conducted Oct 31- Nov 1 carries a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points.
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Taken together, the three states represent the challenge facing Mr. Romney just two days before Election Day. Their collective 60 electoral votes represent more than half the total among the nine most closely contested battleground states.
Because Mr. Romney begins with a smaller base of states almost certain to go his way, he needs to capture most of the battlegrounds to prevent Mr. Obama from amassing the 270 electoral votes he needs for a second term.
Nationally the race remains deadlocked, with Mr. Obama drawing 48% to Mr. Romney's 47% in the final NBC/WSJ pre-election national poll. But among the 9 top battleground states, only in North Carolina has Mr.Romney held a clear and consistent lead.
—By CNBC's John Harwood