The bad news: new Washington Post polls of likely voters in Ohio and Florida show Barack Obama leading both key swing states, and outside the margin of error in Ohio.  The good news?  Er … at some point, the replacement officials will get the boot from the NFL.  No, seriously, the polls don’t have a lot of good news, but the sample skew in Ohio might be a somewhat mitigating factor:

President Obama has grabbed a significant lead over Mitt Romney in Ohio and holds a slender edge in Florida, according to two new polls by the Washington Post that indicate there are fresh hurdles in the way of the Republican nominee’s best route to victory in the Electoral College.

Among likely voters, Obama is ahead of Romney in Ohio by 52 to 44 percent. In Florida, the president is up 51 to 47 percent, a numerical but not statistically significant edge. Among all registered Florida voters, Obama is up nine percentage points.

All right, let’s look at the samples, bearing in mind my analysis from earlier today.  Among likely voters in the Ohio sample, the D/R/I is 37/30/30.  That’s a far cry from the midterm 36/37/28 — but it’s not that far off from 2008’s 39/31/30.  The question, then, is what kind of turnout should we expect in Ohio — one that looks more like 2008 or 2010?  Before you answer that, remember that the Republicans who won that midterm election in Ohio have struggled to maintain their momentum, although John Kasich appears to be rebounding a bit now.

Let’s look at a couple of other demos in Ohio.  Romney actually has a one-point edge over Obama among likely-voter independents, 47/46.  In 2008, Obama won them by eight points, 52/44, on his way to winning the state by five.   However, Obama wins women by seventeen points while losing men by 1 for a +16 gender gap.  In 2008, that was just +11 (+3 men, +8 women).  If there’s a difference, it’s in that gender gap rather than independents.

Next, let’s look at Florida, where Obama only has a 4-point lead.  The likely-voter D/R/I has a D+1 edge, 33/32/31.  That’s right in the ballpark for Florida, which had a 37/34/29 in 2008 and 36/36/29 in 2010.  Unfortunately, their link to the cross-tab functions isn’t working so it’s impossible to drill down further than this, but it shows that Romney needs to pick up his game in the Sunshine State, too.

Update: I had a typo in the 2010 exit polling in Ohio; the independent vote was 28%, not 38%.