U.S. experts say race close, Obama has edge

Obama-Romney Presidential Debate. Photo courtesy of Mediaite.com
Obama-Romney Presidential Debate. Photo courtesy of Mediaite.com

WASHINGTON (4-Nov-2012/PNA/Xinhua) – With U.S. presidential election only three days away, the race to the White House remains static with poll results being essentially the same for the past weeks. Political scientists argue that although it is hard to predict a winner at this point, the electoral math favors President Barack Obama, as he leads in a number of critical swing states.

Thomas Mann, a leading expert in U.S. politics at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua in an interview that he believes Obama is ahead in the race at this point, “an upset by Romney is possible but very unlikely.”

Mann said Obama has run a more effective campaign than Romney, but “the fundamentals of the election” including an incumbent president seeking reelection, deeply polarized parties, a struggling economy moving in a positive direction, have been more important factors than the campaigns, and could be the real factors driving people’s decision at the voting booth.

The improving jobs picture and the leadership Obama projected during Superstorm Sandy has reinforced his lead, making it difficult for Romney to press his claim that he could work more effectively with Congress and fix a broken economy, said Mann.

John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, noted that the race is close, with Obama ahead in several battleground states. Wins in those states would mean reelection no matter what the national popular vote results turn out to be.

“I expect it to be a very close race, within a couple of points of the national popular vote,” Fortier told Xinhua this week. “It may well come down to just a couple of states.” ALL IMPORTANT OHIO

The showdown in Ohio is shaping up to be the marquee battle of Tuesday’s election. With 18 electoral college votes, an Ohio win would push Obama tantalizingly closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to win a second term.

A multitude of polls have shown a consistent lead for Obama in the Buckeye state. According to NBC News/Wall Street Journal/ Marist polls released Saturday, Obama holds a six-point advantage over Romney among likely Ohio voters, 51 percent to 45 percent, which is unchanged from last month’s poll in the state.

A CNN/ORC International survey released on Friday also showed Obama holding a three point advantage over Romney in Ohio, consistent with three other non-partisan, live operator surveys of Ohio likely voters conducted entirely after the final presidential debate. The University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll and an American Research Group survey both indicated Obama having a two-point edge while a CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll showed him in a five-point advantage.

“Ohio has always been an important state, in 2004 it was the one deciding state that if John Kerry had won he would have beaten George Bush,” said Fortier. He said the state of the race in that state maybe connected to Obama’s strategy to emphasize his support and Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout, as well as his campaign’s successful portrayal of Romney as a vulture capitalist through negative ads.

Both campaigns are focusing a big portion of their efforts during the last stretch of the campaign in Ohio. Since both candidates are back on the campaign trail, Obama has held four events Friday and Saturday in Ohio, and will hold another one there on Monday. Romney has held two there on Friday, to be followed by another on Monday.

Fortier believes that although Ohio is a little out of reach for Romney at this point, it’s definitely in play. If Romney can manage to pull off a shock win in Ohio, he could well change the prevailing electoral math, and poke a hole in Obama’s mid-western firewall, greatly increasing his odds in winning the election. (PNA/Xinhua)


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