New polls out early on Wednesday show President Obama opening up a significant lead in Wisconsin, but the race for president is within the margin of error in two other critical battleground states, Colorado and Virginia. The CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University surveys show that Obama has erased Romney's advantage in voters' perceptions of which candidate would do a better job handling the economy.
The new polls come amid a recent barrage of survey data. The Washington Post began releasing figures from its new Virginia poll on Tuesday, and a new Marquette Law School poll is expected to shed further light on the race there later on Wednesday.
Obama leads Romney in the new poll, 48 percent to 47 percent, well within the poll's margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points. Two percent of likely voters prefer another candidate, and 3 percent are undecided.
The poll shows a significant improvement for Obama from the previous survey, conducted six weeks ago, when Romney led in the state, 50 percent to 45 percent.
Romney leads, 52 percent to 43 percent, among male voters, but Obama carries women by the same margin. Romney also wins 52 percent of the white vote, down from 54 percent in August. Hispanics favor Obama, 65 percent to 31 percent. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.
Asked which candidate would do a better job handling the economy, 48 percent of likely voters say Romney and 47 percent say Obama would do a better job.
Obama leads Romney, 50 percent to 46 percent, barely within the margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points. Four percent were undecided or prefer another candidate.
In the previous poll, conducted at the end of July and in early August, Obama led by a nearly identical margin, 49 percent to 45 percent.
Men favor Romney in the poll, 51 percent to 46 percent. But female voters tilt heavier to Obama, 54 percent to 42 percent.
Romney trails despite leading among independent voters, 53 percent to 42 percent, similar to his margin among these voters in the previous poll. Each candidate wins an overwhelming 95 percent of their own partisans.
White voters heavily favor Romney, 57 percent to 39 percent, while black voters throw their support almost entirely behind Obama, 93 percent to 5 percent.
The CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll compares to a Washington Post poll released on Tuesday showing Obama with a slightly larger lead among likely voters, 52 percent to 44 percent.
Voters are now split on which candidate they think would do a better job handling the economy: 49 percent choose Obama, compared to 47 percent for Romney.
Obama leads Romney in Wisconsin, 51 percent to 45 percent, the poll shows. While that lead is statistically significant, the numbers are relatively unchanged from mid-August, when Obama led by just 4 points in the state.
Romney holds just a slight edge among male voters, 49 percent to 47 percent. Obama leads by a healthier margin among women, 55 percent to 42 percent.
The Badger State's electorate remains highly polarized. Obama wins an astounding 98 percent of Democrats, while Romney holds 94 percent of Republicans. Independents tilt toward Romney by a 6-point margin, 50 percent to 44 percent. Compared to last month, Quinnipiac University found that more respondents who said they would definitely vote in the election are identifying as Democrats.
Obama holds a slight lead on which candidate would do a better job handling the economy, 49 percent to 46 percent. But a majority of likely voters approve of the job GOP Gov. Scott Walker is doing, and voters in Wisconsin are more likely to say they have a favorable opinion of Romney's running mate, home-state Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., than in the two other states surveyed.
The polls were conducted Sept. 11-17, surveying 1,497 likely voters in Colorado, 1,474 in Virginia and 1,485 in Wisconsin. The margin of error for each survey is plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points.
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