As most polls continue to show GOP nominee Mitt Romney gaining momentum in the final weeks of the campaign, two new surveys from Midwestern states released late Thursday show President Obama may be maintaining his firewall in Iowa and Wisconsin, though other polls in those states show closer races.
The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls show Obama leading Romney in Iowa, 51 percent to 43 percent, while the president also leads in Wisconsin, 51 percent to 46 percent. The polls included interviews conducted before and after Tuesday night's debate; both show no change between interviews before or after the debate.
The polls show races that are statistically unchanged since before the first two presidential debates this month, which differs from the trend seen in many other national and battleground-state polls, including a Marquette Law School poll in Wisconsin that showed Obama lose virtually his entire lead after the first debate.
They also run counter to the campaigns' own behaviors: Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen rallied supporters in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday evening. And, according to NBC News, two of the five most-trafficked television-ad markets this week are in Wisconsin: Green Bay and Madison.
The Iowa poll shows Obama with a commanding advantage among early voters. Obama leads among those who have voted early, 67 percent to 32 percent, and he also holds a significant advantage among those who plan to vote early, 55 percent to 39 percent. Romney leads among Election Day voters, 54 percent to 39 percent.
But Obama faces a challenge in turning out his supporters. Among likely voters in Iowa who say they are very enthusiastic about the election, the two candidates are tied, each with 49 percent. They are also deadlocked in Wisconsin among high-enthusiasm voters, with Obama at 50 percent and Romney at 49 percent.
The polls were conducted Oct. 15-17. The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion surveyed 1,137 likely voters in Iowa, for a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. In Wisconsin, 1,013 likely voters were surveyed; these results carry a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.