Polls Show Tight Races in Mich., N.H. and N.C.

Polls Show Tight Races in Mich., N.H. and N.C.

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - June 28, 2012

President Obama and Mitt Romney are running virtually neck-and-neck in three critical battleground states, a trio of new NBC News/Marist polls released Thursday show. The pair is locked in a dead heat in New Hampshire, while the president holds narrow leads in Michigan and North Carolina.

A majority of voters in each state believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, but they also tend to believe the president inherited the current economic situation, instead of creating it. Majorities in New Hampshire and Michigan believe the worst is behind them, as do 49 percent of voters in North Carolina. Still, voters are divided in these states over which candidate would best handle the economic conditions.

Both candidates attract 45 percent of the support in the Granite State. Obama's approval rating is slightly above water here, with 47 percent approving of the job he is doing and 45 percent disapproving. By a 50 percent to 44 percent margin, voters have a favorable opinion of the president, as opposed to an unfavorable one. Voters are split, 45 percent to 45 percent, over whether they like Romney.

But Romney would do a better job handling the economy, 46 percent of voters here say; 42 percent say the same of Obama. Voters have a pessimistic view of the state of the country: 57 percent say it is on the wrong track, while 37 percent say it is headed in the right direction.

The race is also extremely tight in North Carolina, where Obama edges Romney, 46 percent to 44 percent. Voters are split, 47 percent to 47 percent, on whether they approve of the job Obama is doing. His favorability ratings remain above water (48 percent to 45 percent), while Romney's sink slightly below (40 percent to 42 percent).

Just as in New Hampshire, voters in North Carolina have a dismal outlook about the direction of the country: 56 percent say it is headed in the wrong direction while 36 percent say the opposite. But when it comes to who will best handle the economy, voters are split between the two men, 43 percent to 43 percent.

The president also leads in Michigan, edging native son Romney, 47 percent to 43 percent. Obama's grades are slightly better here: 48 percent of voters approve of the job he is doing, while 42 percent disapprove. By a 51 percent to 41 percent margin, voters have a favorable impression of Obama. Romney, though, receives negative ratings in his home state: 43 percent find him unfavorable, while 37 percent find him favorable. Romney was raised in Michigan, where his father served as governor and ran an auto company.

Still, voters hold a dim view of the nation's state of affairs. Fifty-five percent say the country is on the wrong track, while 38 percent say it is heading in the right direction. By a narrow two-point margin, voters believe Obama would better handle the economy than would Romney.

Michigan will also host a key U.S. Senate race in November, but it doesn't yet appear to be as competitive as the presidential contest. The poll finds Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow leading former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, 49 percent to 37 percent.

The NBC News/Marist polls were conducted June 24-25 among 1,029 registered voters in New Hampshire, 1,019 registered voters in North Carolina, and 1,078 registered voters in Michigan. The margin of error for the New Hampshire and North Carolina polls is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The sampling error in Michigan 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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