Polls: Romney's Fla. lead grows, but Iowa, NH, NC remain close

Mitt Romney has opened a 5-percentage-point lead in Florida, according to a Rasmussen survey released Friday. But the races in the critical battleground states of Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina are all within the margin of error, according a new round of swing state surveys. 

Romney now has 51 percent support in Florida compared to 46 percent for Obama, according to the Rasmussen poll. 

According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, the GOP nominee now leads the president by 2.6 percentage points in Florida. The Sunshine State has been among the most hotly contested this election cycle. With 29 Electoral College votes at stake, Florida is also the largest swing-state prize.

Two new polls from Public Policy Polling show a much tighter race in Iowa and New Hampshire, with Romney holding a 1-point lead — 49 percent to 48 percent — over Obama in both. Previous PPP surveys showed Obama up 4 points in Iowa and up 6 points in New Hampshire.

In North Carolina, a Grove Insight polls shows Obama leading Romney 47 percent to 44 percent, but that poll could be an outlier. 

Romney has a nearly 6-point lead in the Tarheel State, according to the RCP average, and many polling analysts believe the state is firmly in the Republican's column at this point.

The candidates are now tied nationally at 47 percent, according to the RCP average. The battleground states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the election are similarly close.

Since Romney’s spike in the polls following the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, Republicans are increasingly optimistic about winning North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. Democrats, meanwhile, believe they have a firm grasp on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada remain true toss-ups.

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