Election Day: Does Obama have the edge? (+video)
The final polls show President Obama with a slight lead. But Republicans show greater enthusiasm for turning out. So the race this Election Day is far from over.
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Romney has made a late play for Pennsylvania, as a way to survive a loss in Ohio, but if neither of those states goes into his column, another option is Wisconsin. But the polls look even less favorable there.Skip to next paragraph
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And unless there’s an across-the-board shift toward Romney of about two percentage points, he may find that 270 is a bridge too far.
On Monday, other handicappers came out with predictions of an Obama victory. In his final “Crystal Ball” rating, University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato gives Romney the southeastern swing states – Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia – but none of the other remaining battlegrounds. That puts Obama at 290 electoral votes to Romney’s 248.
“This has been a roller-coaster campaign, though very tight ever since Romney dramatically outshone Obama in the first debate in Denver on Oct. 3,” write Mr. Sabato and coauthors Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley.
“Yet for a challenger to defeat an incumbent, the fates must be with the challenger again and again,” they continue. “Who could have imagined that a Frankenstorm would act as a circuit-breaker on the Republican’s campaign, blowing Romney off center stage for three critical days in the campaign’s last week, while enabling Obama to dominate as presidential comforter-in-chief, assisted by his new bipartisan best friend, Gov. Chris Christie (R)?”
Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif., also projects an Obama victory, but by a slightly narrower margin. He gives Colorado to Romney, which puts the Republican at 257 electoral votes to Obama’s 281. On the popular vote, he has Obama squeaking by with 50 percent to Romney’s 49 percent, and 1 percent to other candidates.
“The most likely outcome is that Obama wins the popular and electoral vote,” Mr. Pitney writes.
But the polls could be wrong, he says, either because of sampling errors or other problems with polls. The Pew Research Center’s final poll, released Nov. 4, has Obama leading Romney 48 percent to 45 percent – a shift toward Obama due partly to his handling of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. But Pitney points to Pew director Andrew Kohut’s caveat that “undecideds and switchers” could alter the outcome.
"We still have 11 percent of the sample saying 'we could possibly change our mind,’ ” Kohut told NPR. “This is our projection, and our projections have been pretty good, but there's always the possibility things could change."
The Pew analysis also raises hope for Barone’s point – that Romney voters are more enthusiastic than Obama voters, and could bring about an Election Day upset.
“Voter turnout, which may be lower than in 2008 and 2004, remains one of Romney’s strengths,” Pew reports in its final analysis. “Romney’s supporters continue to be more engaged in the election and interested in election news than Obama supporters, and are more committed to voting.”
Bottom line: This race isn’t over.