Polls Show Tight Race in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada

Polls Show Tight Race in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - May 31, 2012

President Obama and Mitt Romney are running neck-and-neck in three key battlegrounds -- Colorado, Iowa and Nevada -- according to a new slate of NBC News/Marist polls of registered voters.

A majority of voters in each state feel optimistic about the state of the economy, and say the worst of the storm is in the rearview mirror. Still, majorities in this trio of battlegrounds feel that the nation is on the wrong track.

The closest race appears to be taking place in the Hawkeye State, where Obama and Romney are tied at 44 percent. Ten percent of Iowa voters remain undecided. Obama receives a 48 percent to 45 percent favorability rating there, while voters are split, 43 percent to 43 percent, on whether they like Romney. By a 46 percent to 41 percent margin, voters say the presumptive GOP nominee would do a better job handling the economy -- a factor that a large majority says is the most important in deciding whom to vote for. Notably, though, 57 percent say Obama inherited the current economic conditions, while 34 percent say his policies are to blame.

Iowa voters are virtually split on whether the president is doing a good job overall: 46 percent approve while 45 percent disapprove. Obama won Iowa by 10 points in 2008.

The president won Colorado four years ago by nine points. Now, he edges Romney by just 46 percent to 45 percent, according to the NBC/Marist poll. Forty-nine percent disapprove of his job performance, while 45 percent approve. Voters are split on whether they like Obama (47 percent to 47 percent) and whether they like Romney (43 percent to 43 percent). When it comes to the economy, 45 percent think Romney would handle it best while 42 percent say the same for Obama. Again, a majority of voters (54 percent) say Obama inherited the current economic problems.

Voters in Nevada, meanwhile, are split, 44 percent to 44 percent, on who would best handle the economy, though a majority says Obama inherited the current state of the economy. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 11.7 percent. Forty-seven percent of voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president, while 46 percent approve.

Overall, Obama edges Romney there, 48 percent to 46 percent. But his approval ratings are slightly under water: 47 percent disapprove of the job he is doing as president, while 46 percent approve. Voters view him favorably by the same margin by which he leads Romney overall, while 44 percent view the former Massachusetts governor favorably, and 41 percent view him unfavorably.

Obama won Nevada in 2008 by 12 points.

Nevada will also help determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. The poll finds Republican Sen. Dean Heller edging Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, 46 percent to 44 percent. The race is considered among the most competitive in the country. Heller holds a 5.4 percent lead in the RealClearPolitics average.

From May 22-24, the poll surveyed 1,030 registered voters in Colorado, 1,106 registered voters in Iowa and 1,040 registered voters in Nevada. The sampling error for each survey is plus or minus three percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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