Washington (CNN) — Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are neck-and-neck in three of the general election battleground states Obama turned blue in the 2008 election, according to a new survey.
The NBC News/Marist poll released Thursday indicated the rivals statistically tied in Colorado, Iowa and Nevada, where voters said the economy was by far their top issue heading toward Election Day.
Obama held a one-point advantage in Colorado, where he received 46% to Romney’s 45%, a margin well within the poll’s sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Obama led among independent voters, 48% to 38%, in the state he won in 2008 by nearly 9 percentage points over then-Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.
Romney took the lead among male voters and those 45 years or older in the state, while Obama came out on top among female voters and those under 45. Almost three-quarters of voters said the economy will influence their vote more than social issues, with 45% saying Romney would do a better job addressing the economy, compared to Obama’s 42%.
The two candidates were tied at 44% in Iowa with Obama edging out Romney among independent voters by four percentage points, also within the poll’s sampling error.
Obama held an advantage, within the poll’s sampling error, among independent voters, women voters, 48% to 39%, and those with college degrees, 50% to 39%. Romney, however, led Obama among men, 49% to 40%, and with those who do not hold college degrees, 47% to 41%.
More than seven-in-ten Hawkeye State voters said the economy is a more important issue with 46% of voters saying Romney would handle the fiscal situation better than Obama in the state the president carried with 54% percent of the vote in 2008 to McCain’s 44.7%.
Obama captured Nevada in 2008 by double digits, but Thursday’s poll indicated he holds a two-point margin over Romney, 48% to 46%.
The incumbent president held more support among independent voters in the state with 50% support to Romney’s 39%. He also led among women, 54% to 40%, African Americans with 89% support, Latinos with 61%, voters under 45 years of age and non-college graduates, 50% to 45%.
Romney received the top spot among white voters by 18 percentage points, 56% to 38%, among voters with college degrees and those 45 years or older, by six percentage points.
Seventy-eight percent of the Nevada electorate said the economy was issue No. 1, while 44% said Obama and 44% said Romney was best equipped to handle the financial issues.
NBC News and Marist surveyed 1,030 Colorado voters, 1,106 Iowa voters and 1,040 Nevada voters by telephone between May 22 and May 24 with a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.