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Polls Show President Obama Slightly Ahead In More Critical Swing States

President Obama has a seven-point lead over Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, but they’re neck-and-neck in North Carolina and Nevada, according to new swing state polling.

Likely voters in the NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist Institute polls released Thursday night prefer Obama 51 percent to 44 percent in New Hampshire, where Romney has a vacation home. The president leads his Republican challenger by two percentage points in North Carolina and Nevada, but the numbers for both are within the margin of error.

The findings mirror other recent surveys from about a dozen other battleground states where the presidential contest will likely be decided.

GOP officials rightfully worried that the recent string of poll findings could depress turnout from their base on Election Day have disputed the results as flawed in favor of Democrats.

The latest poll news is likely to add even more pressure on Romney as he prepares for Wednesday night’s critical debate in Denver against the president.

The GOP standard bearer will likely need to score a decisive victory to shed the growing narrative that his campaign has stalled and that Obama is beginning to pull away down the stretch.

Obama’s better standings in the recent polls have been aided by improved perceptions about the direction of the country, especially in New Hampshire.

Just three months ago, 57 percent of New Hampshire voters believed the country was on the wrong track vs. 37 percent who said it was going in the right direction. While a slight majority of Granite State voters still believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, the gap between the two views is down to seven points.

“There’s been a reversal on the economy,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “In June, more voters saw Romney as better for the economy, but no longer.”

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