WASHINGTON-- While national polls show Republican Mitt Romney pulling ahead of President Obama, the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows the President holding a firm lead in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Iowa.
In Wisconsin, the poll taken October 15-17 shows Obama has increased his lead over Romney despite strong debate performances by the Republican nominee for President and that of his Wisconsin running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. The poll shows Obama leading 51-45 among likely voters. That number was 50-45 in the same poll one month ago.
In Iowa, the same poll shows Obama leading 51-43. The same poll showed the President leading 50-42 in September. The poll also showed one-in-three Iowans have already voted in early voting. Romney leads in Iowans planning to vote on election day, but the poll indicates not by nearly enough to overcome the President's early voting advantage.
While the two states only combine for 16 electoral votes, they are seen as critically important in a race where so few states are up for grabs. Should Obama win both Iowa and Wisconsin, Romney would have to make a virtual clean sweep of the remaining 'battleground' states to earn enough electoral votes for victory.