Obama And Romney Tied In Western Swing States
Yet more evidence that this is shaping up to be a very close election.
Following up on their polls of Ohio, Florida, and Virginia last week, NBC News and Marist College came out this morning with new polling in three Western swing states that shows the battle on the ground there to be as tight as a drum:
President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are deadlocked in three key presidential battleground states, according to a new round of NBC-Marist polls.
In Iowa, the two rivals are tied at 44 percent among registered voters, including those who are undecided but leaning toward a candidate. Ten percent of voters in the Hawkeye State are completely undecided.
In Colorado, Obama gets support from 46 percent of registered voters, while Romney gets 45 percent.
And in Nevada, the president is at 48 percent and Romney is at 46 percent.
These three states are all battlegrounds that Obama carried in 2008, but George W. Bush won in 2004.
“These are very, very competitive states,” says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted these polls. “Everything is close.”
In all three states, a majority of respondents believe that the worst of the economic downturn is behind us, which you would think would be something that would help the President in all three states, but there are also indications that the economy seems to be benefiting Romney more than Obama:
[W]hat seems to be hurting Obama – and helping Romney – is a sense that the nation is on the wrong track, with 54 percent in Iowa, 55 percent in Nevada and 56 percent in Colorado sharing that belief.
Asked which candidate would do a better job on the economy, respondents in Colorado (45 percent to 42 percent) and Iowa (46 percent to 41 percent) picked Romney over Obama. But the two men were tied in Nevada (44 percent to 44 percent).
What’s more, Romney leads Obama in Colorado and Iowa among those expressing a high level of enthusiasm, while the president leads among those voters in Nevada.
National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar notes that these results should be of some concern to the Obama campaign:
President Obama’s campaign team has increasingly focused on the Southwest as their must-win battleground region as it seeks to cobble a path to 270 electoral votes. But today’s crop of NBC/Marist state polls suggest that Obama is in as much trouble in swing states like Colorado and Nevada as he is in the more-traditional battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida.
The electoral map CW has been that Romney has a tougher path to 270 electoral votes since the demographic changes in the Southwest would give the president a slight edge in Colorado and New Mexico, and allow him to compete in Nevada. But if those states are looking as vulnerable as Ohio, Florida and Virginia for the president, Obama has as little room for error as Romney.
I think Kraushaar is over-stating the President’s vulnerabilities here, or at least being incorrect in arguing that his path to victory is as narrow as Romney’s. The three states in this poll represent a grand total of 21 Electoral Votes, opposed to the 60 Electoral Votes represented by the three Eastern Swing States. In fact, Obama could lose all three of these states (although I don’t think he will), lose Virginia and Ohio, and still get over the 270 Electoral Vote mark. Romney, on the other hand, would still need to win either Virginia or Ohio and Florida even if he did win all three of the Western swing states. In fact in that scenario, the must-win state for Florida would become Florida because, without it, there’s no possible way he could get to 270. Thus, it’s still Mitt Romney that has the incredibly narrow path to victory.
All of that assumes, of course, that Romney sweeps all three of the Western Swing States, but that seems unlikely. Nevada may be winnable thanks in no small part to the state’s Mormon population, but there’s also a sizable Hispanic population there and, as we have already seen, Romney has a huge problem with Hispanic voters right now. The rising political power of evangelicals in Iowa suggests that Hawkeye State is winnable as well. Colorado, meanwhile, strikes me as a state that has been trending blue for years and, notwithstanding these, polls, I’m still thinking this is a state that the President is likely to win in the end, due in no small part to a statewide Republican Party that remains woefully disorganized. Losing any one of these three states would make Romney’s path to victory even narrower.
This is, of course, very early in the election cycle and, the previous caveats about polling at this stage still apply. Nonetheless, we’re seeing yet more evidence that, at least for now, this looks to be shaping up as an incredibly close election. Unless one candidate or the other is able to make a breakthrough, that’s likely how it will stay for months.