Obama and Romney Neck and Neck in Three Critical Swing States

New polling shows President Obama and Mitt Romney are nearly tied in three states that are traditional lynchpins in the path to the White House.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows razor-thin margins between Obama and Romney in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. President Obama won all three of the states in question in 2008 and no Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio, where the president leads Romney 45% to 42%. That margin is just outside the 2.7% margin of error.

Meanwhile in Florida Romney is beating Obama 45% to 42%, just outside the 2.9% margin of error. In 2008, Obama won a tight race against Sen. John McCain in the sunshine state, which is key to his re-election effort.

In Pennsylvania the president and Romney are locked in a virtual tie, Obama polling at 44% and the former Massachusetts Governor at 43%, inside the 2.6% margin of error. In 2008 President Obama carried Pennsylvania by about 11%.

Since 1960, no candidate has won the presidency without carrying at least two of these three states.

Meanwhile Herman Cain is also still very much in the race according to the Quinnipiac poll. Obama leads Cain 45% to 41% in Florida, while the president is beating Cain 48% to 38% in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. It is worth noting that the survey was conducted between October 31 and November 7, while Cain was embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal involving allegations regarding his time as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

The poll was taken over the phone and 1,185 adults were surveyed in Florida, 1,436 in Pennsylvania and 1,312 in Ohio.

Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.