Polls Tighten But Obama Retains Vital Edge in Electoral College Votes and Superior Ground Game

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Ben Cohen
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Although the popular vote looks increasingly close, Obama is retaining the edge when it comes to electoral votes - and that is down to his performance in swing states. From the Huffington Post:

Ohio remains one of the most critical states in the election. Along with Wisconsin, Nevada and Iowa, where the model estimates Obama leading by 2 to 3 percentage points, these states would get Obama to 277 electoral votes, just over the 270 needed to win.

It's worth remembering that each campaign's ground game makes the real difference on the actual day - the party with the best ability to get the vote out. Notes Molly Ball in the Atlantic:

Four years ago, Barack Obama built the largest grassroots organization in the history of American politics. After the election, he never stopped building, and the current operation, six years in the making, makes 2008 look like "amateur ball," in the words of Obama's national field director Jeremy Bird. Republicans insist they, too, have come a long way in the last four years. But despite the GOP's spin to the contrary, there's little reason to believe Mitt Romney commands anything comparable to Obama's ground operation.

Ball's article is worth reading in full as it outlines the cultural differences between the two campaigns - and she doesn't paint a favorable picture of the Romney operation. She writes:

These basic characteristics were repeated in all the offices I visited: The Obama offices were devoted almost entirely to the president's reelection; the Republican offices were devoted almost entirely to local candidates, with little presence for Romney. In Greenwood Village, Colorado, I walked in past a handwritten sign reading "WE ARE OUT OF ROMNEY YARD SIGNS," then had a nice chat with a staffer for Rep. Mike Coffman. In Canton, Ohio, the small GOP storefront was dominated by "Win With Jim!" signs for Rep. Jim Renacci. Obama's nearest offices in both places were all Obama.

So yes, the polls show a close race, but don't be surprised if the numbers on the day show something completely different. Voter enthusiasm is absolutely vital to getting a candidate elected, and while people may tell pollsters they like Romney more than Obama, actually getting them off the couch and out to vote is an entirely different game, and one the Republicans haven't been great at playing.

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