Brown, Kaine, Nelson Lead in New Polls
New NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls show Democratic Senate candidates leading in the Ohio, Florida, and Virginia Senate races, though the Virginia contest is closer than the other two.
In Virginia, Democratic nominee Tim Kaine leads GOP opponent George Allen, 49 percent to 44 percent. The previous NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, in early September, showed a tied race -- but a number of recent polls have showed the Democrat with an edge for the first time in the contest. The poll shows a close presidential race in Virginia, with President Obama leading Mitt Romney, 48 percent to 46 percent.
The previous poll had showed Kaine underperforming among non-white voters: While Obama has the support of 77 percent, Kaine brought in 67 percent. But that gap has essentially disappeared in the new poll, which shows Obama winning 82 percent to Kaine's 79 percent. The poll was conducted Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and surveyed 969 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, holds a 9-point lead over GOP Treasurer Josh Mandel in the poll. Brown garners 50 percent support to Mandel's 41 percent, with 7 percent of voters undecided. The previous NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, conducted earlier in September, showed Brown with a 49 percent to 42 percent lead over Mandel, and the senator has hit or exceeded 50 percent support and held double-digit leads over his challenger in several recent polls.
Meanwhile, Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 43 percent in the survey. The poll was conducted Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and surveyed 931 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.2 percentage points.
In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has a significant lead in his bid for a third term. Nelson leads GOP Rep. Connie Mack, 52 percent to 41 percent. Seven percent of likely voters are undecided on the Senate race. Obama and Romney are in a dead heat in Florida, according to the poll.
Most recent surveys have shown Nelson with a double-digit advantage over Mack. In the previous NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, conducted last month, Nelson led Mack, 51 percent to 37 percent. The new Florida poll, conducted Sept. 30 through Oct. 1, surveyed 890 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.3 percentage points.