President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Truckee Meadows Community College, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, in Reno, Nev.

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Truckee Meadows Community College, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama up in New Hampshire, but polls tight in Nevada, North Carolina

The latest in the NBC News/WSJ/Marist polls show President Obama up comfortably in New Hampshire but leading within the margin of error in North Carolina and in Nevada, which has a large Latino population.

Obama is ahead of Romney, 51 percent to 44 percent, among likely voters in New Hampshire. In Nevada, Obama gets the support of 49 percent of likely voters and Romney gets 47 percent. In North Carolina, it’s Obama at 48 percent and Romney at 46 percent. (Among registered voters in all three states, Obama’s lead expands to 8 points in New Hampshire, 4 points in North Carolina, and a wider 7 points in Nevada.)

In Nevada, where Latinos comprised 15 percent of the electorate in 2008  (but 27 percent of the population), Obama has a 62 percent to 36 percent advantage over Romney. That’s narrower than the 76 percent to 22 percent margin Obama won in 2008, but he won the state by 12 points last time, a significant cushion.

David Damore, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and pollster for Latino Decisions, says that while Nevada is a close state, he wouldn’t necessarily say the president’s support is eroding.

“This poll shows an oversample of independent voters and way more support for Romney among Latinos than anyone else,” he said.

Nevada is still suffering from the highest unemployment in the country at 12.1 percent and its home foreclosure rate is one of the highest in the nation, which may explain why Obama’s support isn’t rising as high as it is in other battleground states like New Hampshire. Damore says despite these figures, when it comes to the issue of “are we better off now than four years ago,” which has been a theme on the campaign over the last month, many Nevada voters are feeling that the worst is behind them.

“People are saying things are better,” he says.

“A lot of the blame is still put on George W. Bush or its systemic anger, where they aren’t blaming Obama.”

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