Romney Pulls Even With Obama in Florida: Poll

Republican challenger Mitt Romney has pulled even with President Barack Obama in the critical swing state of Florida, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has found.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
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Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

The survey shows that Obama draws 47 percent among likely voters, while Romney draws 46 percent. That's a shift from a September poll which showed the Democratic incumbent leading his Republican challenger by 49 percent to 44 percent.

(Read More: Obama-Romney Debate Faces Off-Script Challenge.)

The telephone poll of 890 likely voters, conducted Sept 30 and Oct 1, carries a margin for error of 3.3 percentage points.

Romney's progress reflected his gains among women voters in the Sunshine State. Of all the remaining battlegrounds, Florida is the biggest prize with 29 electoral votes.

But other new swing state surveys by NBC/WSJ/Marist showed Romney still faces major obstacles in his quest to overcome Obama's lead.

(Read More: Obama Leads Romney in Three More Swing States.)

In Ohio, with 18 electoral votes, Obama retains a solid lead. He draws 51 percent among likely voters to Romney's 43 percent. Romney's strategists believe he needs to carry both Ohio and Florida to amass the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency.

In Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, Obama leads Romney among likely voters by 48 percent to 46 percent. That lead is down from a five percentage point edge Obama enjoyed three weeks ago.

In all three states, the polls show, Obama runs roughly even with Romney on voter assessments of who can best handle the economy. That neutralizes the issue that Romney, a former Bain Capital executive, had hoped would tilt the election his way.

(Read More: Why Democrats Are Feeling Better About the Economy.)

—By CNBC's John Harwood; Follow Him on Twitter @JohnJHarwood