Hours before the first presidential debate here at the base of the Rocky Mountains, new polls indicate that President Barack Obama holds a lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney in one crucial battleground state, with the race for the White House basically all tied up in two other swing states.
The states, Florida, Ohio and Virginia, have been getting an outsized proportion of attention from the candidates and their campaigns compared to the other swing states.
According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey released Wednesday morning, 47 percent of likely voters in Florida say they back the president, with 46 percent supporting Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. Obama's one-point margin is well within the survey's sampling error, meaning the battle for the Sunshine State's 29 electoral votes can be considered a dead heat.
The president held a 49 percent-45 percent edge in Florida in the previous NBC/WSJ/Marist poll.
The new survey, which was conducted Sept.30-Oct. 1, is latest of seven non-partisan, live operator polls of likely voters conducted over the past two weeks. The other surveys are Suffolk University (Sept. 27-30); Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times (Sept. 18-24); Mason Dixon (Sept. 17-19); Washington Post (Sept. 19-23); American Research Group (Sept. 20-22) and Fox News (Sept. 16-18). A CNN Poll of Polls which averages all seven surveys puts the president at 49 percent and Romney at 45 percent.
President George W. Bush carried Florida in his 2004 re-election, but Obama turned Florida from red to blue four years ago.
It's a similar story in Virginia, where a new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll indicates the president at 48 percent and Romney at 46 percent. Obama's two-point edge is within the sampling error. The survey is the third non-partisan, live operator poll conducted over the past week of likely voters in Virginia. American Research Group (Sept. 24-27); Suffolk University (Sept. 24-26) are the other two. A CNN Poll of Polls of the three surveys puts Obama at 48 percent and Romney at 46 percent.
Thirteen electoral voters are at stake in Virginia. Four years ago Obama became the first Democrat to win the Commonwealth in a presidential election since 1964.
The new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll in Ohio indicates the president with an eight point 51 percent-43 percent lead. The new survey is the third conducted in Ohio over the past two weeks. The others are Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times (Sept. 18-24); Washington Post (Sept. 19-23). A CNN Poll of Polls which averages all three surveys indicates Obama at 52 percent and Romney at 43 percent.
Bush carried the state in 2004, with Obama topping Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the Buckeye State four years ago. Eighteen electoral votes are up for grabs in Ohio.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll was conducted by telephone with 890 likely voters in Florida, 931 likely voters in Ohio and 969 likely voters in Virginia questioned. The sampling errors are plus or minus 3.1 percentage points in Ohio and Virginia and plus or minus 3.3 percentage points in Florida.