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Three new national polls show Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney trailing U.S. President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race – which is heading into a pivotal stretch that will include the major parties’ national conventions, an as-yet-to-be-determined number of televised debates and a blitzkrieg of paid advertisements.

According to a new Fox News poll, Obama enjoys a nine-point lead over Romney (49-40 percent) – up from a 45-41 percent spread in July.  According to that survey Obama has an 11-point lead among independent voters – seven points better than a month ago.

Meanwhile a new CNN/ ORC International poll shows Obama ahead of Romney by a 52-45 percent margin – up from a 49-46 percent margin last month.  That poll also shows Obama with a double-digit lead among independent voters.  Finally a new Reuters/ Ipsos poll has Obama leading Romney by seven percentage points – 49-42 percent.

What gives?

America’s economy remains stuck in neutral … and voters’ outlook is growing more pessimistic by the day.  How on earth is Obama winning?  Hmmmm … maybe Romney isn’t as “electable” as Republican voters were originally led to believe he was.

So … is there any recent polling that shows Romney in the lead?  Yes … a Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll has him up by a 46-43 percent margin.

Obviously the national popular vote means nothing in a presidential election  … although we’ve consistently argued that it should.  At the end of the day in our democracy it all boils down to the swing states which will decide the Electoral College count.  According to The Washington Post, Obama is currently ahead 196-170 (with 172 electoral votes in play) in the Electoral College.  RealClearPolitics’ map has Obama ahead 247-191 (with 100 electoral votes in play).

Thanks to Obama’s big spending and Romney’s recent fundraising prowess, the GOP nominee is expected to have a cash advantage heading down the stretch.  Based on these numbers, he’s going to need it …