Today’s WSJ/NBC/Marist poll shows President Obama with a six-point lead in Iowa, but Mitt Romney within striking distance in New Hampshire and Wisconsin:
In Iowa, Obama is ahead by six points among likely voters, 50 percent to 44 percent, which is down from his eight-point lead earlier this month.
In Wisconsin, the president edges Romney by three points, 49 percent to 46 percent, which is within the survey’s margin of error. That’s also down from Obama’s six-point lead earlier this month.
And in New Hampshire, Obama gets support from 49 percent of likely voters, while Romney gets 47 percent. In September, before the debates began, Obama held a seven-point advantage in the state, 51 percent to 44 percent.
Ed Morrissey looks at how the the party identification breakdown in this poll compares to 2008 and 2010, and writes that they’re probably a little overly-favorable for Obama, but not too atrocious:
Overall, I’d say that while the toplines look decent for Obama and the samples look arguably solid, those numbers for independents should be a big, big worry. Obama has lost most of his double-digit edges among indies in all three states, and is in a virtual tie in Wisconsin and New Hampshire with Romney in those demos. With Republican enthusiasm waxing and Democratic enthusiasm waning, these second-tier swing states could break Obama’s hopes of winning a second term.
The bottom line is that the polls are still close, and the race will come down to whether Obama’s turnout operation is as effective as we’re told it will be on election day. If the party identification breakdown is similar to the WSJ/NBC/Marist poll, then Obama will be in a good position, as you can see from the above numbers. As long as Romney wins Ohio, he doesn’t necessarily need Wisconsin, Iowa or New Hampshire to win (assuming he takes all the swing states where he has a slight lead). But Obama is still ahead in the Ohio polls, and if that’s the case Romney will need either those smaller states, or a surprise victory in Pennsylvania — which is getting closer, but still leaning blue at this point.