Obama "firewall" holding in the midwest. Per new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, Obama leads 51%-45% in Wisconsion, 51%-43% in Iowa, and 51%-45% in Ohio, all basically unchanged from a month ago:
Regarding Iowa, the article does point out that polling is difficult:
*** Romney camp: The Iowa race is much closer: The Romney campaign insists, however, that the contest is MUCH closer in Iowa than our NBC/WSJ/Marist poll shows. The X-factor here may very well be early voting. Per our poll, 34% of likely voters say they have already cast their ballots, and the president is winning those people, 67%-32%. Another 11% say they are planning to vote early, and Obama is up with them, 55%-39%. On the other hand, Election Day voters have Romney ahead, 54%-39%. But Republicans have pointed out that 285,000 early and absentee ballots have been received in Iowa, which is about 19% of the 2008 electorate in the state -- so less than the 34% in our poll. But an overall total 463,000 absentee ballots have been REQUESTED in the state, and that comes to 30% of the 2008 electorate, which is much closer to that 34%. So whatís going on here? Are likely-voter models overstating those who have voted early? Are Democrats just more apt to say theyíve voted early (even if they havenít), because Obama is asking them to do so? Are these requested absentee ballots already in the mail but havenít been received by the Iowa secretary of state? These are all fair questions to ask. And, yes, it makes polling in these heavy early-voting states much harder.