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Obama and Romney: Sprinting toward Election Day

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are racing around battleground states this weekend, and they'll keep it up through Monday. The race is dead even, but Obama holds an edge in key states.

By Staff writer / November 3, 2012

President Barack Obama greets supporters during a campaign rally at Mentor High School in Mentor, Ohio, on Saturday.

Jason Reed/REUTERS

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Three days and a few hours from now, Americans will know who their president will be for the next four years. That’s barring some sort of Florida-2000 debacle, of course.

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Both candidates are racing around battleground states this weekend, and they plan to keep it up through Monday. Smoke is coming out of pollsters’ computer modeling machines cranking out last-minute numbers. Pundits are furiously stroking their beards, hoping to be seen as prescient (or at least not too far wrong) come the morning after.

At this point, it seems, Mitt Romney’s post-debate Big Mo(mentum) appears to have slowed a bit as national polls put the race at dead-even. Or to put it another way, Barack Obama may claim the glimmer of a Mini Mo in those battleground states that could decide the election.

In Pictures: A roadtrip across the political landscape

An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll of likely voters released Friday night has Obama ahead by six percentage points (51-45) in Ohio and two points (49-47) in Florida.

In Florida, respondents gave the edge to Romney on handling the economy (48-46), but in Ohio – a strong union state – those numbers are reversed with a slight plurality saying Obama would do the better job here. Seven of ten people surveyed in both states expressed approval of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy.

The Real Clear Politics average of ten recent polls in Ohio has Obama up by just under three points.

Ohio may be especially critical to Romney, whose party has never won the presidency without taking the state. "Ohio, you're the lynchpin, you're the battleground of battlegrounds," Romney running mate Paul Ryan said Friday while campaigning there.

More and more, demography may be destiny in electoral politics – more so now than at any time, and it may be what saves Obama from becoming a one-term president.

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