NBC/Marist/WSJ: Obama, Heller up 3 in NV among likely voters

The NBC/Marist poll released today shows President Obama up 3 percentage points and Sen. Dean Heller winning by the same margin.

If the screen is lifted to include registered voters, the power of the Democratic machine is evident: Obama's lead doubles and Rep. Shelley Berkley catches Heller.

Some thoughts:

It's a huge sample -- 1,253 registered voters (MOE=+/-2.8 percent) and 1,042 likely voters (MOE=+/-3.0 percent). Lots of cell phone users, too, which is a good sign.

Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they plan to vote before Election Day. So when early voting ends a week from Friday, we will know a lot about this election -- as we always do.

President: 50-47 among likely; 51-45 among registered

U.S. Senate: 48-45 among likely; 46-46 among registered

So the higher the turnout, the better for the Democrats. And if Obama wins by 6 or so, Berkley can win.

The likely screen produced 16 percent Hispanic voters; the registered screen gave up 19 percent, which would be a record.

Party ID (and it's self ID, so beware): 39-33, D, among likely; 38-31 among registered.

Obama won the debate in a landslide among both sets of voters. But almost all voters said they had made up their minds before the debate.

Bottom line of this poll: Internals look pretty solid, but it's all about who has the best turnout model, which is why people trust Mark Mellmann after 2010 here. But it is clear from many polls -- and this one cements it -- that if Obama wins the state by 5-plus, Berkley could well oust Heller. And if it is a 5-point Obama win, we may be up very late on Nov. 6 for that Berkley-Heller battle.

Here's the full poll.