Snapshot: Obama, Romney virtually even in 3 battleground states
A little more than 4 months to go before election day and another series of snapshot polls give us a sense of where the race is at this point in late June.
In three key states, Romney and Obama are virtually tied, according to a new NBC/Marist poll:
In Michigan, Obama is ahead by four percentage points among registered voters, including those who are undecided but are still leaning toward a candidate, 47 to 43 percent.
In North Carolina, the president gets 46 percent to Romney's 44 percent, which is within the survey's margin of error.
And in New Hampshire, the two men are tied at 45 percent each.
"Everything is very close," says Lee Miringoff, the director of Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted these surveys.
In 2008, Obama won Michigan and New Hampshire - which had been competitive states in previous presidential elections - by double-digit margins. And he carried North Carolina, a reliably Republican state since 1980, by just 14,000 votes.
In all three states, Obama's approval rating remains above water -- or right on the surface. In Michigan, 48 percent of registered voters approve of his job, while 42 percent disapprove.
In New Hampshire, it's 47 to 45 percent, and in North Carolina it's 47 to 47 percent.
As for Romney, his favorability rating is upside down in two of the three states. In Michigan, 37 percent say they have favorable impression of the former Massachusetts governor, and 43 percent have an unfavorable opinion. In North Carolina, Romney's fav/unfav is 40-42 percent.
The lone exception is in New Hampshire - which borders Massachusetts, and where Romney owns a home - it's even at 45-45 percent.
I am not convinced - yet - that Obama is in trouble in Michigan. Like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Michigan is teasing the GOP with prospects of an upset. But in the end, the equilibrium supplied by history and tradition reasserts itself and by election day, Obama should win Michigan by a fairly comfortable margin.