10/18: Obama Leads Romney in Iowa

October 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll

In the presidential contest in Iowa, 51% of likely voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee, support President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.  43% are for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Two percent back another candidate, and 4% are undecided.

“When likely voters intend to cast their ballot tells us a lot about what is happening in Iowa,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Those who have already voted are breaking for Obama by more than two to one.  In contrast, Romney leads by double digits with those who will vote on Election Day.”

Click Here for Complete October 18, 2012 Iowa NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete October 18, 2012 Iowa NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll Tables

In NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s September survey in Iowa, 50% of likely voters in Iowa, including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, were behind Obama and Biden while 42% supported Romney and Ryan.  Only 1% was behind another candidate, and 7%, at that time, were undecided.

Key points:

  • Debate difference?  The presidential debate on Tuesday night has done little to change the landscape of the presidential election in Iowa.  Only 3% of likely voters say they made up their mind after the debate.  Prior to the debate, 52% of likely voters supported the president while 43% backed Romney.  One percent was behind another candidate, and 4% were undecided.  Following the debate, on Wednesday, 51% of likely voters are behind the president while 43% support Romney.  Two percent are for another candidate, and 4% are undecided.
  • Party ID.  Most Democrats who are likely to vote — 96% — favor the president while most Republicans who are likely to cast a ballot — 92% — back Romney.  Among independent likely voters, 49% rally for the president while 38% are for Romney.
  • Enthusiasm.  55% of Iowa likely voters are very enthusiastic about voting next month.  Romney’s backers — 64% — are very enthusiastic about going to the polls compared with 53% of Obama’s supporters.  Compared with NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s September survey, there has been an increase in the proportion of  likely voters who back Romney who also express a high degree of enthusiasm.  55% felt this way in the previous poll.  There has been little change among Obama’s supporters.  In September, 55% of the president’s supporters had a similar level of enthusiasm.
  • Intensity of support.  86% of Iowa likely voters are strongly committed to their choice of candidate.  13% somewhat support their pick while 1% may vote differently.  Less than 1% is unsure.  86% of Romney’s supporters are firmly in his camp while 85% of Obama’s backers strongly support him.  In September, 80% of likely voters behind Romney and 82% of Obama’s supporters reported a high level of commitment to their candidate.
  • Gender.  A gender gap exists.  57% of likely voters who are women are behind Obama compared with 39% who back Romney.  Among men who are likely to cast a ballot, Romney edges Obama — 48% to 45%.
  • Age.  Young voters favor the president.  67% of likely voters under the age of thirty support the president.  This compares with 23% who are for Romney.  Among Iowa likely voters 30 to 44, 48% back Obama while 47% are for Romney.  Among likely voters between 45 and 59, Obama has the support of 51% compared with 43% for Romney.  Obama and Romney are in a close contest — 49% to 47% — among voters who are 60 and older and likely to cast a ballot.
  • Already voted.  34% of likely voters in Iowa indicate they have already cast their ballot. Obama leads Romney — 67% to 32% — among these voters.  Romney leads Obama — 54% to 39% — among likely voters who plan to cast their ballot on Election Day.

Looking at registered voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee, Obama has the support of 50% compared with 43% who favor Romney.  Two percent back another candidate, and 5% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Presidential Tossup (IA Likely Voters with Leaners and Absentee)

Table: Enthusiasm to Vote (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 Presidential Tossup (IA Registered Voters with Leaners and Absentee)

Impact of the Debate

95% of likely voters say they decided on a candidate before Tuesday night’s debate.  Three percent made their choice after the matchup.  Two percent are unsure.

94% of Obama’s supporters selected him as their candidate prior to the debate while 3% did so post-debate.  Among Romney’s backers, 96% decided prior to Tuesday night’s debate while 4% made their selection following it.

How did registered voters get their information about the debate?  59% mostly watched it.  This compares with 19% who saw its news coverage.  22% neither tuned in for the debate nor watched the news reports about it.

65% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans viewed the debate firsthand.  This compares with 52% of independent voters.  22% of independents caught the news about the debate while 26% neither watched the debate nor followed its news coverage.

Looking at age, 66% of registered voters 45 years of age or older watched the debate.  This compares with just 48% of those under the age of 45 who did the same.

Table: Candidate Selection Made Before or After Debate (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Information Source for First Presidential Debate (IA Registered Voters)

Majority Views Obama Favorably… Romney’s Image Still in Need of a Makeover

54% of likely voters in Iowa have a positive impression of President Obama while 43% do not.    Three percent are unsure.

In NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s September survey, 53% of Iowa likely voters had a favorable view of Obama while 42% had an unfavorable one.  Five percent, at that time, were unsure.

Romney’s favorability rating is still upside down.  51% of likely voters have an unfavorable opinion of him while 44% have a favorable one.  Five percent are unsure.

In September, half of likely voters — 50% — had an unfavorable view of Romney while 42% had a favorable one.  Eight percent were unsure.

Table: President Barack Obama Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Mitt Romney Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

A Look at the Vice Presidential Candidates

Likely voters in Iowa divide about Vice President Joe Biden.  47% have a favorable view of him while 46% have an unfavorable one.  Eight percent are unsure.

When NBC News/WSJ/Marist reported this question last month, 44% of Iowa likely voters thought well of Biden.  This compares with 43% who had an unfavorable impression of him.  13%, at that time, were unsure.

44% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Paul Ryan.  However, 45% have an unfavorable view of the candidate.  11% are unsure.

In September, 40% of Iowa likely voters had a positive view of Ryan.  43% did not, and 17% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.

Table: Vice President Joe Biden Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Paul Ryan Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Obama and Romney Battle Over Economy…Obama Bests Romney on Foreign Policy

Which candidate will do a better job handling the U.S. economy?  46% of registered voters statewide think Obama is the candidate for the job while the same proportion — 46% — has this opinion of Romney.  Nine percent are unsure.  Among Iowa likely voters, 47% perceive the president to be stronger on the issue compared with 46% who believe Romney will turn around the nation’s economy.  Seven percent are unsure.

In September, 46% of Iowa registered voters reported Obama would better handle the economy while 42% said Romney was more capable.  11%, at the time, were unsure.

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama — 51% — outperforms Romney — 39% — among registered voters.  11% are unsure.  Likely voters share these views.  51% of this group believes Obama is better prepared to handle foreign policy issues while 40% think Romney is.  Nine percent are unsure.

In NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s previous survey in the state, 53% of registered voters said Obama was the stronger candidate in the foreign policy realm.  35%, however, thought Romney had the better plan.  12% were unsure.

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling the Economy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling the Economy (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling Foreign Policy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling Foreign Policy (IA Likely Voters)

Half Give Obama’s Job Performance Stamp of Approval

Among Iowa registered voters, 50% approve of the job President Obama is doing in office.  This compares with 43% who disapprove.  Six percent are unsure.

Last month, 49% of registered voters statewide applauded the president’s performance while 43% believed he fell short.  Eight percent, then, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

A Nation Off Course?

When it comes to the direction of the country, 47% of registered voters in Iowa say the nation is moving in the wrong direction.  The same proportion — 47% — also thinks it is moving in the right one.  Six percent are unsure.

When NBC News/WSJ/Marist last reported this question in September, 49% believed the country needed a new compass.  However, 43% said the country was on the correct path.  Eight percent, at that time, were unsure.

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country (IA Registered Voters)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

Comments

8 Responses to “10/18: Obama Leads Romney in Iowa”

  1. BILL M on October 18th, 2012 9:17 pm

    Your Iowa poll is absurd on its face. Your poll indicates that 34% of Iowa voters have already voted. In the last presidential election, more than 1.5 million Iowans voted. Assuming that there is no increase in turnout (1,5 million Iowans will cast ballots this year) your poll would indicate that 34% of 1.5 million votes have already been cast , 34% of 1.5 million is 510,000. However, as of 10/17/2012, the total number of absentee ballots requested is 463,219. (http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/2012/general/absenteestats.pdf) In essence, your poll indicates that more absentee ballots have been cast than have been requested.

  2. Roger Pierce on October 19th, 2012 8:56 am

    C’mon guys.

    An Iowa poll with a RV D/R/I sample of 35/29/36? Seriously?

    Take a moment to check out the Iowa Secretary of State website.

    As of Oct. 8, the ACUTAL breakdown is 32/33/35.

    You know that. You also know that if you account for that the Obama lead is probably more like +2.

    What’s the deal here?

    With that said, I must say that other pollsters should use your format when presenting their results. Concise, clear, and informative.

    Roger Pierce

  3. Mary Azzoli on October 19th, 2012 10:08 am

    @Roger Pierce: According to our poll, among registered voters, party registration is 37/37/26. The party registration is 31/30/37.

  4. Final sales pitch on October 20th, 2012 12:05 am

    [...] polls suggest Iowa may be shedding its purple tint in favor of a baby or powder blue.  An NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll released Thursday shows President Obama leading Governor Romney by 8 percentage points among likely [...]

  5. Simon T. on October 22nd, 2012 3:34 am

    According to Daily Kos, only 19% of the 1.5 million expected voters have actually cast ballots so far. So how does this poll come up with 34%?

    Correcting for this error suggests something substantially different:

    Romney is at 50%
    Obama 47%

  6. Simon T. on October 22nd, 2012 3:39 am

    Moreover, if this poll sampled so many more early voters, its projections of party distribution may also be highly skewed.

    In that case, Romney’s lead may be even greater than 3 points.

  7. Presidential Polls Show Dead Heat Between Barack Obama, Mitt Romney | The AC Green Show on October 22nd, 2012 11:03 am

    [...] NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll conducted last week in Iowa, that unlike PPP sampled both landline and mobile phones, gave Obama an [...]

  8. Presidential Polls: Candidates Essentially Tied Nationwide, Obama Holds Electoral College Edge on October 22nd, 2012 5:19 pm

    [...] NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll from last week in Ohio, one that used both landline and mobile phones, gave Obama an 8-point lead [...]

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