NOW Today: Round 2. The stakes have never been higher

Updated

It might sound like cliché, but the stakes have arguably never been higher for President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

The reason? Tonight’s presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York comes as poll numbers continue to improve for Governor Romney. The most notable development in the polls is a new USA TODAY/Gallup survey which finds Governor Romney is enjoying growing enthusiasm among women in swing states, leading him to a 4 point advantage among likely voters across 12 key swing states (50-46 Romney). It’s worth noting there is perhaps no demographic more coveted, which might explain this challenge to the numbers from the Obama campaign.

Last week, our NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll found that Governor Romney had main gains in Virginia, Florida, and Ohio following the first presidential debate (though the gains among women were not close to what Gallup is now reporting). Regardless, there is mounting concern that President Obama’s lead is in jeopardy, most notably in Ohio. TIME and msnbc Sr. Political Analyst Mark Halperin reportedthis morning that “the first debate had such a big impact on making Romney seem like an acceptable choice” that it “changed the balance in the Electoral College,” putting Governor Romney in “position to win Ohio.” Mark will explain further when he joins the panel to preview tonight’s main event.

See you at noon ET on NOW.

PANEL

Josh Green, Sr. National Correspondent, Bloomberg Businessweek (@joshuagreen)

Scott Helman, The Boston Globe (@swhelman)

David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief, Mother Jones (@davidcorndc)

Ryan Grim, Washington Bureau Chief, The Huffington Post (@ryangrim)

GUESTS

Mark Halperin, TIME/msnbc Sr. Political Analyst (@markhalperin)

Shannon O’Brien, Fmr. MA Gubernatorial Candidate

Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood (@cecilerichards)

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, NBCLatino.com/msnbc Contributor (@drvmds)

NOW Today: Round 2. The stakes have never been higher

Updated