WASHINGTON -

President Barack Obama tops Gov. Mitt Romney among likely voters by 9 to 12 percentage points in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University/ CBS News/New York Times Swing State Poll released today.

Voters in each state see President Obama as better than Gov. Romney to handle the economy, health care, Medicare, national security, an international crisis and immigration. Romney ties or inches ahead of the president on handling the budget deficit.

“Gov. Mitt Romney had a bad week in the media and it shows in these key swing states,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The furor over his 47 percent remark almost certainly is a major factor in the roughly double-digit leads President Barack Obama has in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The debates may be Romney’s best chance to reverse the trend in his favor.”

“The wide difference between the two candidates is not just a result of Romney’s bad week. In Ohio and Florida votes are basically split down the middle on whether the county and they and their families are worse or better off than they were four years ago. If voters don’t think they are worse off, it is difficult to see them throwing out an incumbent whose personal ratings with voters remains quite high,” Brown added.

“The president’s strength results from the fact that for the first time in the entire campaign, he is seen as better able to fix the economy than is Romney, the issue that has been the Republican’s calling card since the general election campaign began. And the economy remains the overwhelming choice as the most important issue to voters’ presidential choice.”

The economy is the most important issue for 47 percent of Florida voters, while 20 percent list health care; 10 percent list the budget deficit and 8 percent list national security.

A total of 53 percent of Florida voters are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” in Obama’s ability to make the right decisions about events in the Middle East, compared to 46 percent for Romney.