Two new critical swing state polls have come out that have some good news for President Obama. The Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist polling operation went to Iowa and Wisconsin, two states that are critical for both candidates, and are especially critical for Romney if he loses Ohio.
Before we get to the numbers let me say that while national polls are important, and can show a trend, I tend to look at the state by state scorecard, as the Electoral College is still how we elect the President. The Electoral College configuration, if Ohio goes to the President, makes the road to victory for Mitt Romney very difficult. Not impossible, just very difficult. The Iowa numbers please.
The President leads Mitt Romney by 51% to 43% in Iowa, (with 4% undecided, and 2% with other candidates) which is largely unchanged from the September WSJ/Marist poll which had the President up by a 50% to 42% margin, with 7% undecided.How about the impact of early voting. 34% of the respondents in this poll have already voted, and the President leads with that group by a 67% to 32% margin. Another 11% are planning on voting early, and the President leads in that group by a 55% to 39% margin. With the voters planning on voting on election day Romney leads by 54% to 39%. Early voting is having a major impact. Barring some major gaffe at the last Presidential debate I am satisfied that Iowa will be in the Obama column in November. Iowa has voted Democratic in five of the last six presidentials, breaking only to vote for George W. Bush in 2004. It had been reliably Republican, voting for Nixon in 1972, Ford in 1976, and Reagan in 1980 and 1984. But that has changed, and Iowa can be shaded a blueish purple for now.
Wisconsin has been a real battleground, and neither party can take it for granted. Governor Scott Walker fought off a recall attempt by Democrats this year, and Wisconsin has been ground zero in the battle fought by organized labor against attempts to roll back collective bargaining rights. Obviously Wisconsin held some promise for Republicans nationally after their local success in 2010. But it has been an uphill fight for Mitt Romney here. Wisconsin has voted Democratic in the last six presidentials, but did vote for Ronald Reagan twice. The Wisconsin numbers please.
President Obama leads Mitt Romney in Wisconsin by 51% to 45% (3% undecided, 1% other). That is about the same as the September numbers, which had the President leading by a 50% to 45% margin, with 4% undecided. Early voting? 15% indicated they have already voted, and Obama leads with that group by 64% to 35%. Election day voters break slightly for Obama, by a 48% to 47%. Early voting patterns again showing some strength in the field for the President. I am not quite ready to declare this one over, but it is leaning heavily Democratic. In the key Senate race Democrat Tammy Baldwin leads former Governor and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson by a 49% to 45% margin, with 5% undecided. You cannot count Tommy Thompson out there, but Tammy Baldwin has had a small but consistent lead in the polls for a bit now. It would be a major upset if Baldwin were to win, and certainly hurt Republican chances of retaking the Senate.
I have put out the Manzi Electoral map, (October version), and hope you all participate in this as well. I have Barack Obama at 277 electoral votes, with Mitt Romney at 235, and toss-up at 26. Lets look at that map, and where the controversy will be. I have placed both North Carolina and Florida with Romney, although FLA may be back in play. I have made Virginia a toss-up, but giving it to Romney only moves him to 248. I have made both New Hampshire and Colorado toss ups, but I have given Ohio to Barack Obama. I have also given Nevada to Barack Obama, which may be questionable, but take away those six electoral votes and Obama is still sitting at 271, enough to win. I guess that this map shows you just how important it is for Mitt Romney to win Ohio. I have a funny feeling that we may be seeing David Paleologos with some Ohio numbers in the very near future.