RCP’s average already had New Hampshire within a point so the new PPP number there isn’t news. The Iowa number is. This is the first poll in a month showing Romney ahead in the state, notwithstanding his blockbuster debate two weeks ago. NBC’s poll last night, in fact, had O up by eight points in Iowa, a ridiculous figure given that Obama’s worried enough to have campaigned there just two days ago but consistent with the CW that it’s his state to lose.
PPP’s newest polls in Iowa and New Hampshire find Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama 49-48 in both states. That represents a big decline for Obama compared to last month. Obama had previously led 51-44 in Iowa and 51-43.5 in New Hampshire on polls conducted the final week of September.
Mitt Romney’s seen a big improvement in his image in both states. In Iowa his net favorability has improved 16 points from a -15 spread at 40/55 on our last poll to now 48/47. He’s seen a 10 point ascent on that front in New Hampshire from -5 at 45/50 when we last looked at his favorability in August to now 51/46. Obama’s approval numbers have declined. He was at 49/48 the last time we polled each of these states, but now he’s dropped to 46/50 in Iowa and 47/51 in New Hampshire.
Romney has a big advantage on the economy in both of these states that seems to be driving his lead. In New Hampshire voters prefer Romney 52/45 on that front and in Iowa it’s 49/45.
The surge in Romney’s favorables is consistent with basically every other poll taken since the demolition in Denver. Interestingly, Iowans think O won the second debate, 45/36, but that hasn’t helped him protect his lead, possibly because the insta-polls taken afterward showed Romney winning on the more important question of the economy. Another interesting bit: No gender gap, despite months of “war on women” yammering and three tedious days of “binders” nonsense.
Obama’s in deep trouble if that margin holds, which is why you’re hearing a lot about abortion (and binders) lately. As for the sample, PPP has it 38R/34D/27I whereas the 2008 exit poll was 34D/33R/33I; everyone’s expecting a redder electorate this year, especially since the GOP’s worked hard on building a registration advantage in Iowa, so the partisan split here doesn’t seem wildly implausible. On the other hand, PPP has O up four points among independents, which cuts sharply against the trend nationally. This is worth watching too:
Democrats are more enthusiastic to vote than Republicans, even after Romney’s post-Denver surge? If that’s true, it’s a real testament to Obama’s organizational effort in Iowa. Exit quotation: “Now it’s a war on women. Tomorrow it’s going to be a war on left-handed Irishmen or something like that.”