[EDITOR's NOTE: This post will be UPDATED all day with new polling and other campaign news. Given the volatility of this race, the headline could be outdated so REFRESH TMV OFTEN throughout the day and scroll down.]
Last minute U-turn on the part of independents is showing up in the final polls. Taegan Goddard reports:
Some pollsters have started to notice that independent voters, who until recently were leaning toward Mitt Romney, may be trickling back toward President Obama with just days until the election.
A Zogby poll finds Obama has picked up five points among independents, perhaps because of how he has handled the federal response to Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile the latest national Public Policy Polling tracking poll shows Obama turning a longtime disadvantage with independents into a 49% to 44% advantage. …Political Wire
Even Politico’s (leans right) poll shows the candidates are now even with independents after Romney had a wide lead, and the WashingtonPost/ABC poll shows them dead even.
And here’s some potentially very, very good news. It’s not about the election, it’s about the damn gun lobby. …
UPDATE: Polls remain all over the place. The final NBC/WSJ national poll finds Obama ahead by one point:
With just two days until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are running neck and neck nationally, according to the final national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll before the election.
Obama gets support from 48 percent of likely voters, while Romney gets 47 percent.
In the NBC/WSJ poll released two weeks ago, the two candidates were deadlocked at 47 percent each.
While both Obama and Romney are running virtually even in this national poll, a majority of surveys from the battleground states – especially in the crucial battlegrounds of Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin – show the president with a slight advantage.
–The AP sees Obama with an apparent early vote lead:
President Barack Obama heads toward Election Day with an apparent lead over Republican Mitt Romney among early voters in key states that could decide the election.
Obama’s advantage, however, isn’t as big as the one he had over John McCain four years ago, giving Romney’s campaign hope that the former Massachusetts governor can erase the gap when people vote on Tuesday.
More than 27 million people already have voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia. No votes will be counted until Election Day but several battleground states are releasing the party affiliation of people who have voted early.
So far, Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio — five states that could decide the election, if they voted the same way. Republicans have the edge in Colorado, which Obama won in 2008.
Go to the link to read it in full.
–MORE SWING STATE POLLS again show numbers all over the place. Each side will point to them and say it means their guy will win. Karl Rove is now questioning the state polls (the ones that show Obama ahead, that is..).
–The Washington Post published its 16th Outlook Crystal Ball election predictions article that has experts and non-experts predictions. The panel includes professional journalalists plus a variety of people from various walks of life including a 12th grade government class. All predict an Obama victory and CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicts Obama will win in a big landslide.
PPP’s daily national tracking poll now finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 50-47 based on interviews conducted between Thursday and Saturday. This is the first time either candidate has led by more than 2 points in the three weeks we’ve been doing this survey. Obama has led in 4 individual days of polling in a row since Wednesday, suggesting that he may be getting a bounce based on his leadership during Hurricane Sandy.
Obama’s approval is now on positive ground at 48/47. On our release last Saturday night he was at 44/52, so his net approval has improved 9 points in the last week. Obama’s net favorability rating of +5 (51/46) is now 7 points better than Romney’s is at -2 (47/49).
There are a couple reasons Obama has pulled into this small lead. One is that he’s turned what had been a persistent disadvantage with independents into a 49/44 advantage. The other is that he’s reduced what had been a 20+ point deficit with white voters back down to a 57/40 spread. When you combine that with his 89/9 lead among African Americans and 67/28 edge with Hispanics it’s the formula for a small overall lead.
There are also indications that young voters might be renewing their enthusiasm for Obama in the closing stage of the campaign. He’s leading 66/33 with respondents under 30, making up for his 49/47 deficit with the rest of the electorate.
--Obama and Bill Clinton team up in New Hampshire as polls there show the race narrowing:
President Obama and former President Bill Clinton this morning teamed up to rally voters in the key state of New Hampshire, a small state where a last-minute campaign push could make all the difference in the presidential race.
“I know I look a little bit older, but I’ve got a lot of fight left in me. I am not ready to give up on the fight,” Mr. Obama shouted in a hoarse voice to a crowd of about 14,000 in Concord. “If you’re willing to work with me… if you’re willing to turn out for me, we’ll win New Hampshire, we’ll win this election.”
New Hampshire has just four electoral votes, but as the quintessential swing state, it could make all the difference. New Hampshire is the only state that President George W. Bush won in 2000 but lost in 2004 – in both instances by a slim, one point margin. In 2000, New Hampshire’s four electoral votes made all the difference — if then-Vice President Al Gore had those votes in his column, Florida would’ve been a moot point.
Furthermore, unlike other states where early voting is increasingly significant, CBS News estimates only 10 percent of New Hampshire voters will be casting ballots before Election Day on Tuesday. That makes last-minute rallies like the Obama campaign’s event today critical. Mitt Romney visited the state on Saturday, telling a crowd in Newington, “It is time we lead America to a better place.”
Polls out of New Hampshire showed Mr. Obama with an advantage over Romney in September, but the race has tightened up in the home stretch. The latest WMUR Granite State Poll shows the race tied, 47 percent to 47 percent.
–ABC News’ blog reports Team Romney is looking more and more towards Wisconsin:
12:28 p.m. ET — With Ohio In Doubt, Romney Campaign Looks to Wisconsin
“With polls in nearby Ohio showing a small but consistent Obama lead, the Romney campaign has made a concerted effort in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – both thought earlier in the campaign to be more Democratic. If Romney can win either of these states, he can win the election without Ohio.
Why could Romney win Wisconsin? Jonathan Karl points out that after the decisive victory in the Scott Walker recall election, Republicans believe their organization is stronger in Wisconsin than in any other state. Republican Scott Walker won that recall race by seven points (53-46) after most polls predicted he would win by 2 points. Republicans believe if there is one state they can out-perform the polls it is Wisconsin.
But there is a difference between a recall election and a general election. According to exit polls from the recall, 60 percent of voters who participated in Walker’s win believed that recalls should only for official misconduct. Walker’s recall, on the other hand, was a triggered by a policy difference – his curbing of collective bargaining rights for public sector unions.”
–Nate Silver has this post explaining why he think Romney is making a big push now in Pennyslvania. He gives Obama 85.1% chance of winning with 306 of 270 electoral votes needed to win. A few quick quotes:
That is probably a reasonable strategy, even though Mr. Romney’s chances of pulling out a victory in Pennsylvania are slim. What makes it reasonable is that Mr. Romney’s alternative paths to an Electoral College victory are not looking all that much stronger.
Wisconsin, for instance, is one of the states where Mr. Obama has shown the sharpest rebound in his polling. Another issue for Mr. Romney is that Wisconsin allows voters to register on Election Day, which may make it one case where the likely voter models that pollsters apply are too restrictive. Polls put out by two Wisconsin-based universities, St. Norbert College and Marquette University, show a larger lead for Mr. Obama than those produced by national polling firms, which may not account for these nuances. (Democrats slightly outperformed the polling average in Wisconsin in both 2004 and 2008.)
Nevada is problematic for Mr. Romney because perhaps 65 or 70 percent of its vote has already been cast — and because Democrats have roughly a 50,000-ballot lead there based on the votes that have been collected so far. The better news for Mr. Romney is that Democratic margins in the early vote count are down from 2008. But Mr. Obama carried Nevada by more than 12 percentage points that year, so he could lose a significant amount from his margin and still win.
Democrats also have about a 63,000-ballot lead in Iowa based on the early vote. That is down from an 87,000-ballot lead for Democrats in 2008. Still, as in Nevada, this is a state where Mr. Obama can afford to lose something from his 2008 margin, when he won Iowa by about 10 percentage points.
Ohio is another early-voting state. The most recent figures in Democratic-leaning Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland, suggest that about 236,000 votes have already been cast there, representing 35 percent of 2008 turnout.
In Franklin County, where Columbus is the largest city and which is the Democrats’ next best county in the state, early votes represent 36 percent of 2008 turnout.
By comparison, the early vote represents 21 percent of 2008 turnout in the other 86 counties in Ohio, combined..
………The early-voting figures in these states tell a story that seems to be consistent with the polling. In contrast to Iowa and Nevada, where Mr. Obama will almost certainly underperform his 2008 margins, the polls anticipate less of a decline for Mr. Obama in Ohio, which he won by five percentage points four years ago.
Is Mr. Romney likely to flip enough votes in Pennsylvania to win? Probably not. Pennsylvania has historically had quite accurate polling, with the final polling average missing the eventual margin there by just one percentage point on average between 1996 and 2008. It is also a relatively “inelastic” state, meaning that there are relatively few swing voters who make up their minds at the last minute — perhaps part of the reason that the polling has normally been accurate.
Given the number of unappealing options for Mr. Romney, however, it may be worth a try. …..
What Mr. Romney will want to see are national polls showing him a point or so ahead in the race, as was the case just after Denver.
If the national polls show a tie on average, then Mr. Romney will be more of an underdog than you might think, since that is when Mr. Obama’s Electoral College advantages will tend to give him their greatest benefit. In the FiveThirtyEight simulation on Saturday, Mr. Obama won the Electoral College about 80 percent of the time when the national popular vote was tied.
UPDATE 4: There are clearly indeed two alternative visions of reality shaping up before election day. Andrew Sullivan notes them, from his perspective:
Yesterday, I tried not to think about the election for a day. The off-grid-because-no-grid experience helped me see there was little use at this point in obsessing about the tiniest of details that will be washed away by whatever reality flushes out on Tuesday or thereafter.
But that flush will be instructive. The narrative in the GOP blogosphere is of imminent triumph, even landslide. All the independents are surging toward Romney, the swing states are trending Romney, and the total failure of Obama’s four years is so obvious you have to be a liar to believe that deficits have slightly declined on his watch, despite a collapse in revenues caused by the Great Recession. And so state after state is falling to Romney even as I type. Hinderaker – who still believes that George W Bush was a great president – sees one outlier poll in Pennsylvania as something that will be “sending chills down David Axelrod’s spine”. It’s one poll – and the only one that doesn’t give Obama a clear edge. The poll of polls puts Pennsylvania as 50 percent Obama, 45 percent Romney, and it’s been very stable. Minnesota? That’s also got Hinderaker atwitter: he thinks both Minnesota and Pennsylvania could both “very possibly end up in the red column.” All the polling suggests otherwise – but I guess they’re all rigged.
Then there’s Michael Barone’s rather amazing forecast. Michael knows every inch of every district in a way few others do; he’s deeply knowledgeable about the electoral process, and, his latest column predicts a Romney landslide..
–Yet another case of the head of a company suggesting he’ll fire employees if they don’t ensure Romney wins. This time a company bigwig in Florida.
A little personal note on this since it is a sore point: I worked for newspapers in Wichita and San Diego that were owned by newspaper chains. I often looked at the editorial pages and in many cases voted the opposite of what they suggested after doing my usual weighing. If I had been virtually ORDERED to vote their way or lose my job my inclination would be to AUTOMATICALLY vote the opposite of what they told me.
My father fought in World War II and he and so many others including those who died since the United States became the United States assumed when it came time to vote we’d all make our little, distinctive decisions without being pressured with a loss of a job. P.S. If people think most of these folks threatening to fire people or close down their companies if Romney doesen’t will do it if it impacts their bottom line, then let me tell you about a nice, furry bunny that will visit you this Easter.
This is a smelly, nose-picking, sleazy political tactic — one unworthy of American democracy. If this is allowed to work, just think about future elections.