Obama, Romney Tied in Key Battlegrounds

Today’s NBC/Marist poll finds that President Obama and Mitt Romney are now in a dead heat in three critical battleground states that swung to Obama in 2008:

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.

Colorado, Nevada and Iowa are particularly important to the Obama campaign because one of his most viable electoral paths requires him to win all three. Previous polls have shown Obama with an edge in these states, so Romney seems to be gaining ground. And as Jim Geraghty notes at the National Review, this is a tie among registered voters; we can probably assume that Romney’s numbers would be slightly higher among likely voters, which tend to skew more conservative.

At the National Journal, Josh Kraushaar weighs in on why this poll should raise alarms for 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.

Indeed. The Obama campaign’s ostentatious overconfidence earlier this month is looking sillier by the day. This is going to be a close race, even if Obama’s own supporters (and some of his campaign staff) still don’t grasp that yet.