Obama, Romney in even race before election
Washington, November 5, 2012
The race for the White House remained in essentially a dead heat ahead of Tuesday's election but US President Barack Obama holds a slim edge over Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the key state of Ohio, according to a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Sunday.
Nationally, of 3,805 polled likely voters, 48 percent said they would vote for Democrat Obama, while 47 percent sided with Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, the poll showed.
The results were similarly close in several swing states seen as determining the winner - Virginia, Colorado and Florida.
But in Ohio - perhaps the single most crucial swing state and where 18 electoral votes are at stake - Obama had 48 percent compared to Romney's 44 percent. On Saturday, Obama was ahead in Ohio by a point in the same poll.
"It's really a game of inches. It's extremely close, but things look pretty optimistic for Obama, I would say, if you do the electoral math," said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.
"Looking over the last few days, Ohio does seem to be more comfortably on the Obama side."
All of the Reuters/Ipsos poll results on Sunday fall within the polls' credibility intervals, a tool used to account for statistical variation in Internet-based polling.
Obama and Romney have been in a neck-and-neck race for weeks. Over the weekend, both were making final appearances in a few crucial states, hoping to sway a shrinking number of undecided voters and to encourage their supporters to vote.
In Sunday's poll, they were tied in Colorado, which has nine electoral votes, and in Florida, which has 29, at 48 percent and 46 percent respectively, the online poll showed.
In Virginia, which has 13 electoral votes, Obama held on to a slim lead of 47 percent to Romney's 46 percent among likely voters.
"The popular vote is going to be really on a hair, extremely close, but I think the electoral college makes it more likely for Obama to be re-elected," Clark said.
A victory in U.S. presidential elections relies not on a popular vote count but reaching 270 electoral college votes, which are given to each state based on population size.
Nationally, the poll's credibility interval was plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for likely voters.
Meanwhile, President Obama and Romney crisscrossed the country on the next-to-last day of a campaign.
After months of sometimes bitter attacks and saturation advertising in pivotal states, Obama and Romney pressed their arguments that they offer the best solution to a weak economy and partisan gridlock in Washington.
The two also made direct appeals for votes in a race that may come down to which side does the best job of getting its supporters to the polls.
"It's up to you. You have the power," Obama told a crowd of more than 14,000 people who filled the downtown streets of Concord, New Hampshire. "You will be shaping the decisions for this country for decades to come, right now, in the next two days."
In Iowa, Romney urged more than 4,000 people in a Des Moines hall to get out and vote - and convince undecided or former Obama supporters to back him while they are at it. At a later stop in Ohio, he said, "Let's make sure that we get everyone to the polls."
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, renewed his argument that he is the candidate who can offer change and reach out to the opposition party to craft bipartisan agreements.
"Accomplishing real change is not just something that I talk about. It's something that I've done," Romney told supporters in Des Moines. "And it's something I'm going to do when I am president of the United States."
Many polls show Obama with a slight but persistent lead in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada - states that would give him more than the 270 electoral votes he needs, barring any surprises elsewhere.
OBAMA'S SWING STATE EDGE
Republicans said they see hope in early voting in key states, which mostly shows Democrats casting more early ballots but not at the pace that Obama set in his victory in 2008 over Republican John McCain by 7 percentage points.
"What we're seeing consistently ... is that there is a general underperforming in places where President Obama needs to do well and there's an over-performing in places where Governor Romney does well," Romney's political director Rich Beeson said on "Fox News Sunday."
Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Obama's early leads in states like Nevada, Iowa and the vital swing state of Ohio would hold up on Election Day, even if he does not repeat the size of his victory in 2008. - Reuters