A new wave of state-by-state polls is showing just how sizable the field of swing states will be this election, with several of the Democratic-leaning white, working-class states looking very much in play even as President Obama is holding his ground in some of the traditional battlegrounds.
For Romney, the most encouraging findings come out of Michigan, where several polls showed the race between Obama and Romney in a statistical dead heat. The findings were echoed today by NBC/Marist, which found Obama with a tenuous 48 percent job approval rating and only leading Romney, 44 to 39 percent. Obama won the state by 16 points in 2008. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Wednesday's Quinnipiac poll showed Obama with a 45 percent job approval rating, and only leading Romney, 45 to 39 percent. That's downright worrisome in a state, with 20 electoral votes, that the president can't afford to lose.
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But in the more-traditional battlegrounds, where both campaigns are spending their time and money, the race is still neck-and-neck - a sign that the Obama campaign's negative barrage is taking a toll on Romney. Quinnipiac found Obama extending his lead over Romney in Ohio to nine points, 47 to 38 percent, with his job approval at a respectable 48 percent. In North Carolina, a state where the Obama campaign is facing newfound woes but still spending significant money, the new NBC/Marist poll shows him with a 47 percent job approval rating and leading Romney, 44 to 41 percent. Even in Florida, where some polls showed the race moving away from Obama, Quinnipiac found the president with a 45 to 41 percent lead, with 47 percent approving. The results suggest that Obama was able to hold his own, in an otherwise tough month, thanks to the campaign spending.
Still, the overall state-by-state numbers are good news for the Romney campaign. Obama's job approval is under 50 percent in all of them, and is in perilous territory in several must-win states. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the electoral math is looking better for Romney than Obama, given that several electorally-rich Democratic-friendly states - Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan -- now look like toss-ups.