NBC/Marist poll shows Obama and Romney tied in Iowa

A new poll by NBC News and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion finds that President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney each have 44 percent support among Iowa registered voters. Details from that poll are after the jump. It finds a significant gender gap.

Speaking of which, I've also enclosed below a new anti-Romney commercial that Planned Parenthood Action Fund rolled out on Wednesday. It will run on broadcast and cable networks through June 19 in the Des Moines market as well as West Palm Beach, Florida and northern Virginia. I saw it on a cable network Thursday evening.

Romney's campaign has been running this television commercial in Iowa for the last couple of weeks. The Obama campaign has run seven different television commercials statewide during the past two months. The president has also visited Iowa three times this spring and sent Joe Biden and Michelle Obama here twice. Obama has many potential paths to 270 electoral votes, not all of which depend on Iowa, but his campaign considers this state an important battleground and apparently expects a tight race.

The NBC/Marist Poll surveyed 1,106 Iowa registered voters from May 22 through May 24. Key findings are here. The full poll memo is here (pdf), and the tables are here (pdf).

This poll finds Obama's job approval at 46 percent in Iowa, while 45 percent of respondents disapprove of his job performance. Only 39 percent think things in the country are headed in the right direction, while 54 percent say they are off on the wrong track.

If the election were held today, 44 percent of respondents would vote for Obama, 44 percent for Romney, 2 percent for some other candidate, and 10 percent are undecided. Among no-party voters in the sample, Obama's at 42 percent, Romney 38 percent, "other" at 4 percent and undecided at 17 percent.

Romney does as well in this poll among Republican respondents (83 percent plan to vote for him) as Obama does with Democrats (82 percent).

The survey asked respondents whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the candidates. Obama was barely in positive territory: 48 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable, 7 percent unsure. Romney was at 43/43, with 15 percent unsure whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him.

About 46 percent of respondents planning to vote for Romney are "very enthusiastic" about voting in November, compared to 38 percent of Obama supporters. On the other hand, respondents who "strongly" support their presidential choice favor Obama by 54 percent to 46 percent. Among respondents who said they plan to vote early or by absentee ballot, 55 percent support Obama and 37 percent Romney.

Asked which candidate would handle the economy better, 46 percent said Romney, 41 percent said Obama, while 13 percent were not sure. The survey also found Iowa registered voters think Romney would do a better job reducing the national debt (52 percent to 34 percent for Obama). Respondents favor Obama's ability to handle foreign policy (50 percent to 36 percent) and think the president best understands their problems (50 percent to 38 percent).

Like most polls of the presidential race, this one finds women much more inclined to support Obama. Male respondents plan to vote for Romney by 49 percent to 40 percent, while female respondents support Obama by 48 percent to 39 percent.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund has formally endorsed Obama for president. This week the political arm of Planned Parenthood started running a 30-second ad is called "Mitt Romney: Out of Touch and Harmful for Women's Health."

My transcript:

Female voice-over: When Mitt Romney says,

Clip of Romney speaking: Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that.

Voice-over: Romney is saying he'll deny women the birth control and cancer screenings they depend on. When Romney says,

Clip of Romney speaking: Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v Wade? Yes.

Voice-over: He's saying he'll deny women the right to make their own medical decisions. And when his campaign can't say whether he'd support equal-pay protections,

Audio clip of campaign aide speaking: And we'll get back to you on that.

Voice-over: Romney's putting your paycheck at risk. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising, because Mitt Romney is out of touch and wrong for women.

"Putting your paycheck at risk" makes it sound like Romney is going to confiscate women's paychecks. He's waffled on whether he supports government action to enforce equal pay for equal work.

It's a stretch to imply Romney would actively prevent women from obtaining birth control or cancer screenings. However, government funding to Planned Parenthood supports contraception and cancer screening services (not abortions), so it's fair to conclude that defunding Planned Parenthood would reduce many women's access to affordable birth control, pap smears, and mammograms.

More than two dozen states would quickly ban all abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, so it's fair to point out that Romney would deny women the right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy.  

  • this

    About 46 percent of respondents planning to vote for Romney are "very enthusiastic" about voting in November, compared to 38 percent of Obama supporters.

    is the real problem.

    Dunno about that PPAF ad as a surgical strike. Perhaps I've seen too many like this. I imagine anyone in DSM who is a PP supporter is already on board, while conservatives on the fence might be convinced that Romney is their "saving babies" champ.

    • I think Planned Parenthood Action Fund

      would do better to focus on identifying and turning out supportive but unreliable women voters in Iowa, Virginia, Florida, and wherever, rather than spending a lot of money on tv ads. I don't think many people who watched this ad learned something they didn't know about Romney.

      I still don't think Romney will put together much of a GOTV effort in Iowa, but I agree with you that the lack of enthusiasm for round two of "hope and change" is a big problem for Obama.  

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