msnbc | September 22, 2012
>>> new polling finds president obama ahead of mitt romney national and in key swing states . with 4 days until the election and still a struggling economy a reality, can president obama hold on to the lead? joining subcommittee senior political editor mark murray . good to have you here. national journalal's new poll finds that president obama is leading mitt romney among likely voters 5% to 43%. but the a.p. is finding that this is a much closer race than that. president obama at 47% and mitt romney at 46%. well within the margin of error. how should we read into this.
>> well, not every poll is the same especially when measuring likely voters. the preponderance of the polling the last two weeks has shown that president obama has a national and also state battleground lead of about in the mid single digits. and hitting that 50% mark, and hitting 50% like he does in the " national journal " poll and our most recent nbc/" wall street journal " national poll is a good place for an incumbent to be. you certainly want to be at that 50%. that is usually considered safe haven for an incumbent facing re-election.
>> let's dig in to see how the " national journal " poll is doing its polling. we look at how they broke it down. nonwhite voters, they found 78% are voting for president obama versus 18% for mitt romney . mark, as we consider the demographics of the likely voters, what does that say big picture ?
>> well, the demographics is a fascinating story in this entire election. and if president obama is getting about 80% of the nonwhite vote, that means that mitt romney has to hold president obama under 40% among the white vote to -- so that obama doesn't hit 50%. so if president obama ends up getting 80% of the minority vote, 40% or more of the white vote, that means that he's going to be at 50% or above. that's a great way to look at this election just by measuring all the demographics and looking at them.
>> in the key swing states , the latest nbc news poll looks at colorado, iowa, wisconsin, and look at how these are framing out with the president ahead in all three.
>> again, hitting that 50% mark. i can't stress enough how important that is. you see in the battleground states of colorado and wisconsin, president obama with a five-point lead. in iowa, a state that had been problematic for obama the past three or four months, up eight points. you're seeing things all breaking in this direction right now with six weeks to go.
>> all right. how likely is it that this poll could change as we get closer? this is obviously posts-convention polling. we're now 11 days out from the very first debate. how much wiggle room do you think there is between now and the election for certain places?
>> thomas, things can change. particularly with the debates. rim in the 2004 presidential -- i remember in the 2004 presidential contest, at this point in september, george w. bush had a lead around the same size as we're seeing for obama . john kerry used three debates to bring the rate back into a tie. as we saw that 2004 contest was decided by one state, ohio, that george w. bush beat over john kerry . so there is a potential for mitt romney to get back in the game. the problem for him is that we're approaching the six-week mark, and time is beginning to run out. he has to start making his move.
>> they're going try to reframe the conversation leading into the debates, hopefully to get after the bad weeks that mitt romney racked up and get the message back on the economy. as we look at the economy, there are several swing states where the individual state unemployment ratsz f -- rates for august came out. four of the key states had unemployment rates higher than the average in. i'll remind everybody, that's 8.1%. to nevada, over 12%. north carolina , nearly 10%. why aren't these easy wins for mitt romney ? the president did carry north carolina in '08. but that's not looking likely this time around.
>> you have seen president obama and his campaign particularly in their conventions make the case that this is a choice election and not a referendum. and i do think that because they've been able to do that and say that the economy is improving, maybe not fast enough, that i deserve another four years in office. of course, mitt romney 's making the argument that things aren't improving fast enough. sometimes it's actually an easier case to make. for mitt romney things are getting worse rather than things aren't getting better fast enough. i think that's why mitt romney is not only just talking about the economy, he's branched out his criticism of obama to national -- to foreign affairs , as well as welfare. other social issues. so i think even the romney campaign has realized that these unemployment rates aren't enough to be able to force president obama out of office.
>> mark murray . thank you, good to see you.