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Swing state polls: Is Mitt Romney running out of time?

President Obama's edge in key swing states appears to be growing. And while he may only hold single-digit leads, it's getting harder to see how Mitt Romney can reverse the current trajectory.

By Correspondent / September 14, 2012

Republican presidential candidate campaigns in Fairfax, Va., Thursday.

Charles Dharapak/AP


Should we just call this thing for President Obama now?

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Liz Marlantes covers politics for the Monitor and is a regular contributor to the Monitor's political blog, DC Decoder.

Recent posts

Monitor political correspondent Liz Marlantes takes a look at one version of the US Electoral College map following the political conventions and how a future map might look as we get closer to November.

We’re kidding, of course (hold your outraged comments, Romney supporters!). But as the old saying goes, there’s some truth in every jest. It now appears safe to say that Mr. Obama did, in fact, get a real bounce out of the Democratic convention – and, even more important, that bounce is showing up in key swing states. According to a new set of NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls, Obama is now leading Mitt Romney by 7 points in Ohio and 5 points in Florida and Virginia.

True, that’s just one set of polls. But even the aggregate polling out there is in Obama’s favor. The RealClearPolitics polling average right now has Obama up by 4.2 percentage points in Ohio, 1.3 points in Florida, and 0.4 points in Virginia. The last is an admittedly scant edge, but the Virginia average incorporates more outdated data, since there have been fewer recent polls to draw on.

At the very least, Mr. Romney needs to win two of the three states. And while Obama’s lead in those states is no one’s definition of insurmountable, it is getting harder and harder to see how Romney can turn things around.

According to the NBC/WSJ/Marist polls, the number of undecided voters in the swing states at this point is downright tiny. In Ohio, for example, just 6 percent were undecided – which means that if Romney were to wind up winning every one of those undecided voters, he would still fall short.

And as MSNBC’s First Read points out, a lot of those undecided voters probably aren’t going to bother casting ballots in the end. They write: “These are voters who simply aren’t paying attention…. they seem disengaged from the campaign, and they don’t call themselves enthusiastic about the election. They are probably NOT voters.”

In other words, we’ve now reached the point in the campaign when opinions have become fairly set. Most people who are actually going to vote already know who they’re voting for – and barring some big, unexpected event, they’re not going to change their minds.


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