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NBC-Marist polls: Obama, Romney deadlocked in three key states

Now that Mitt Romney is the official GOP presidential nominee, President Obama placed a call to the former governor to congratulate him. Meanwhile both campaigns have already spent a combined $85 million on TV ads. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are deadlocked in three key presidential battleground states, according to a new round of NBC-Marist polls.

In Iowa, the two rivals are tied at 44 percent among registered voters, including those who are undecided but leaning toward a candidate. Ten percent of voters in the Hawkeye State are completely undecided.

Read the full Iowa poll


In Colorado, Obama gets support from 46 percent of registered voters, while Romney gets 45 percent.

Read the full Colorado poll

And in Nevada, the president is at 48 percent and Romney is at 46 percent.

Read the full Nevada poll

These three states are all battlegrounds that Obama carried in 2008, but George W. Bush won in 2004.

“These are very, very competitive states,” says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted these polls. “Everything is close.”

Results from NBC-Marist polling in three other battleground states released last week – Florida, Ohio and Virginia – showed Obama with narrow leads in each state.

Optimism, pessimism and enthusiasm
In Colorado, Iowa and Nevada, a more optimistic attitude about the U.S. economy is working in Obama’s favor. Majorities in each of the three states believe the worst is behind us, rather than yet to come.

In addition, majorities in these states say that the president mostly inherited the current economic conditions. 

David Axelrod, a senior adviser for President Obama's re-election campaign, speaks with TODAY's Matt Lauer about the President's strategies for taking on the battleground states and rekindling the enthusiasm from 2008.

But what seems to be hurting Obama – and helping Romney – is a sense that the nation is on the wrong track, with 54 percent in Iowa, 55 percent in Nevada and 56 percent in Colorado sharing that belief.

First Thoughts: Still fighting on GOP turf

Asked which candidate would do a better job on the economy, respondents in Colorado (45 percent to 42 percent) and Iowa (46 percent to 41 percent) picked Romney over Obama. But the two men were tied in Nevada (44 percent to 44 percent). 

What’s more, Romney leads Obama in Colorado and Iowa among those expressing a high level of enthusiasm, while the president leads among those voters in Nevada.

Obama’s approval rating, Nevada’s Senate race
The NBC-Marist poll also shows that Obama’s approval rating is above water in Iowa (46 percent approve, 45 percent disapprove), and it’s underwater in Colorado (45 percent to 49 percent) and Nevada (46 percent to 47 percent)

And in Nevada’s competitive Senate contest, the survey finds incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller in a tight race with Democrat Shelley Berkley, with Heller getting 46 percent among registered voters and Berkley getting 44 percent.

President Obama phones Mitt Romney to congratulate him for locking up the GOP nomination. NBC's Steve Handelsman reports.

These NBC-Marist polls were conducted May 22-24 by landline and cell phone of 1,030 registered voters in Colorado, 1,106 registered voters in Iowa and 1,040 registered voters in Nevada. The margin of error in all three surveys is plus-minus 3.0 percentage points.

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