Rasmussen: Mitt Romney leads in Iowa, Wisconsin in a tie

While other polls show Iowa and Wisconsin out of Mitt Romney’s reach, new polling from Rasmussen in both states show a tightening race with just four days left to go until voters head to the polls.

The Real Clear Politics shows Obama up by 2 points (an average of the most recent polls), but the latest from Rasmussen shows Romney with a 1-point lead, within the margin of error:

A week ago, the candidates were tied at 48% apiece. The president led by two earlier in the month, while Romney posted a three-point lead in September.  Prior to the latest findings, Romney’s support in Iowa has fallen in the narrow range of 46% to 48% in surveys since June, while Obama’s support has ranged from 44% to 49%.

Forty-two percent (42%) of likely Iowa voters have already voted. The president leads 56% to 39% among these voters.

In line with voters nationally, Iowa voters trust Romney more by seven points – 51% to 44% - when it comes to handling the economy but trust the candidates equally in the area of national security.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters in the state worry more that the federal government will do too much in reacting to the nation’s current economic problems. Thirty-five percent (35%) are more fearful that the government won’t do enough. Seventy-four percent (74%) think the government should cut spending in response to the bad economy. Only 14% believe it’s better to increase spending. Voters nationally are more closely divided when asked which they fear more, the government doing too much or not enough. Iowa voters are even more strongly in favor of spending cuts than voters are nationwide.

And in Wisconsin, where Real Clear Politics shows a 5-point lead for Obama, who campaigned in the state yesterday, Rasmussen has the race at a dead heat:

The race in the Badger State was also tied last week after the president has led there in most surveys since October of last year. During that time, Obama has earned 44% to 52% of the vote, while Romney’s support has ranged from 41% to 49%.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of likely Wisconsin voters have already voted, and the president leads 56% to 41% among these voters.

Voters in the state trust Romney more than the president by just two points - 50% to 48% - when it comes to handling the economy. Obama has a three-point edge in voter trust - 50% to 47% - in the area of energy policy and leads by one - 49% to 48% - when it comes to national security. Among voters nationwide, Romney leads by seven on the economy, and the two are nearly tied in the other areas.

Romney has a better shot in Iowa than Wisconsin, but it’s still unlikely to win either state. Rasmussen, which has a GOP-tilt in its polling, is polling with a heavier Republican turnout than it should. In Iowa, 2008 exit polls showed a D/R/I split of 34/33/33 (D +1). However, Rasmussen has the party ID’s at 35/39/27 (R +4). They’re under-polling independents, which prefer Obama over Romney — 50/43, and over-polling Republicans. So it’s not a surprise that Romney is up.

In 2008, exit polls in 2008 showed a D/R/I split of 39/33/29 (D +6) in Wisconsin. Rasmussen’s poll has a D/R/I split of 37/39/24 (R +2). Once again, Rasmussen is under-polling independents and over-polling Republicans.

Now, they could just be anticipating a lower turnout, which many analysts are predicting. That would indeed make both states more competitive for Romney. But ad spending is pretty high — $9.8 million in Iowa and $10.8 million in Wisconsin — and Romney has outspent Obama 2-to-1 in both states.

Even if Romney were to win these two states, he’s still short 6 electoral votes, according to Real Clear Politics, from the 270 needed to win. Of course, Romney can swing Colorado, where the race is very close, back into his camp, he wins — and does it without Ohio. But again, that scenario is unlikely.

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