New polling data show that Mitt Romney’s path to victory is narrowing, as the Republican nominee tries to refocus his campaign on the economy amid a week of negative coverage.
President Barack Obama has opened an eight percentage-point lead in Iowa and maintains a five-point edge in Colorado and Wisconsin, according to Wall Street Journal/
NBC News/Marist Poll surveys of the three presidential battlegrounds released on Thursday.
The new results are significant in part because the Romney campaign views the three states as significant to taking the White House via the Electoral College.
Romney has fallen in polls of two of the largest battlegrounds, Ohio and Virginia.
The margin of error in the polls released on Thursday of likely voters was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points in Colorado, 3.2 points in Wisconsin and 3.3 points in Iowa.
The new Journal surveys were taken just as video surfaced earlier this week of Romney telling donors that 47 percent of those who support Obama "sees themselves as victims" and is dependent on government.
The new results show that Romney has ground to make up in a large number of states amid fewer undecided voters.
One indication of the challenge that lies ahead, according to the Journal: Even if Romney was awarded all the states in which Obama leads by fewer than three percentage points in aggregated poll results — states such as Colorado, Florida ,and Iowa — the president would still win reelection based on his leads in Ohio, Virginia and smaller swing states.
The results come as public opinion is on the verge of turning into votes cast at the ballot box. So far, on-the-ground data from two early voting states, Iowa and North Carolina, are mixed for the candidates, according to the Journal.
In North Carolina, Republicans have requested nearly 7,000 more absentee ballots than Democrats, out of nearly 50,000 requests, according to state officials.
But in Iowa, Democrats have requested about 100,000 ballots, versus 16,073 ballots requested by Republicans.
"I see the early vote numbers, and I grimace a little bit," said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party and editor of a popular blog, The Iowa Republican. "It feels like an Obama state. . . . The president has been more accessible to voters than Romney and Ryan."
The Romney camp dismisses most of the recent polling as a "sugar high" for Obama left over from the party conventions. Among other factors, they point to polling that shows Republicans holding a modest edge in voter enthusiasm and data that show a large percentage of Americans still think the country is moving in the wrong direction.
"We feel like we're in a very close contest," Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, told the Journal. "We feel like Romney is likely to win."
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