If you look at the latest NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll numbers out this morning, it appears the race is tightening in several key battleground states.
While the contest in Ohio remains elusive for Governor Mitt Romney (he trails President Obama 51-43 in the Buckeye State), he has closed the gap to a statistical dead heat in Virginia (48-46) and Florida (47-46). Governor Romney is up two points in both those states since our sample there last month, while the President has lost one point in Virginia and two in Florida. There are a number of reasons the numbers may have shifted, including a "dissipation in some of that post-convention bounce that [President Obama] enjoyed," explains Marist Poll director Lee Miringoff.
Another factor that could change all these numbers? Tonight's first presidential debate matchup. Will tonight be a "contest modifier," as we like to say on NOW? We'll look at what's at stake today at noon ET - and be sure to follow us and join in the conversation tonight as we live tweet on @NowWithAlex.
Kurt Andersen, Author, “True Believers”/Host, "Studio 360" (@kbandersen)
Richard Wolffe, msnbc Political Analyst (@richardwolffedc)
Karen Finney, Fmr. DNC Communications Dir./msnbc Political Analyst (@finneyk)
Michael Crowley, Deputy Washington Bureau Chief, TIME (@crowleytime)
Mark Halperin, msnbc/TIME Sr. Political Analyst (@markhalperin)
Ben LaBolt, Obama Campaign National Press Secretary (@benlabolt)