Obama Leading —a Bit—in Slew of New Polls But Romney not far behind as first debate looms By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Oct 3, 2012 7:20 AM CDT 29 comments Comments President Barack Obama uses a cell phone to call supporters during a visit to a local campaign office, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (Newser) – In the final hours before the first presidential debate of the 2012 election, a host of new polls to consider: President Obama has a significant lead in the battleground state of Ohio, 51% to Mitt Romney's 43%, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. That's been consistent since three weeks ago, when his lead was 50% to 43%. But in Florida and Virginia, also key states, Obama and Romney are statistically tied, the poll finds. Obama leads 47% to 46% in Florida, where he was leading 49% to 45% in mid-September. In Virginia, the president leads 48% to 46%; last month that was 49% to 45%. But a Roanoke College poll finds Obama is up 47% to 39% in Virginia, though his approval rate in the state is just 46% compared to a 45% disapproval rate. Meanwhile, an NPR poll finds Obama leads by 7 points nationally among those likely to vote—and is ahead by 6 points in a dozen battleground states. But Romney, NPR says, is "very much within striking distance." And the debates could very well have an impact: NPR also found that more than 80% of those polled planned to watch, and one in four said their vote could be influenced by what they hear. Obama is definitively winning in one area: campaign messages. Politico reports on a poll that tested 12 quotes from each candidate, asking respondents whether they found the messages believable, how the quotes impacted their feelings toward the candidate, and whether the quotes changed their likelihood of voting for the candidate. In the resulting analysis, Obama snagged all of the top eight spots. Click for more results from recent polls.