Obama Ahead as Race for White House Comes to an end

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Ben Cohen
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A survey by the Pew Research Center shows Obama leading Romney 48% to 45% among likely voters. Pew estimates that Obama will take 50% of the popular vote to 47% for Romney. The 3% lead for Obama marks turning point from a week ago when both candidates were level with 47% of the vote. It appears that Hurricane Sandy helped Obama with 69% saying they approved of Obama's handling of the storm.

There is a saying in America that when it comes to Presidential elections, 'As Ohio goes, so goes the nation', referring to the fact that the Midwestern swing state is a pretty good (but not entirely accurate) measure of who will win the election. Here's a snap shot of the latest polling data from a cross section of polls on Ohio showing the President leading Romney by a clear margin. From Real Clear Politics:

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As Paul Krugman points out about the aggregate:

That’s a lot of polls, with one tie and every other poll showing Obama ahead. Since Ohio is generally considered crucial, you can see right there why all of the poll aggregators — not just Nate Silver, but also Sam Wang, electoral-vote.com, Drew Linzer, Pollster, Talking Points are showing an Obama advantage. It’s not the political leanings of the analysts; it’s the polls. Again, the polls could be wrong, but they have to be systematically wrong by at least 2 percent to reverse this.

And while Obama is the favorite to take the popular vote, the electoral college looks an even surer bet.

The Romney campaign has fired up its rhetoric significantly, and if you look at the Mitt Romney's manic travel schedule compared to the President's over the last month, you can see that Romney's campaign knows it's in trouble. Check out these charts from the Guardian mapping each candidates travel itinerary:

Obama's campaign trail

Obama's campaign trail

Polls aren't always accurate, and looking at Romney's travel schedule isn't a fail safe way of predicting an election, but with most major polls pointing to an Obama victory and some striking admissions by key Romney advisers (Karl Rove admitted that Hurricane Sandy has given Obama a significant boost), it would be extremely surprising for Romney to pull it out at the last minute. There is also the ground game - a factor that the polls don't take into consideration, and a facet of the election that Obama has a massive advantage in. Obama's ground team is one of the most powerful organizations in US voting history, and the difference on the day could be significant.

It's slightly pointless to make predictions and get excited one way or the other - the result will be what the result will be, and no matter how bullish either side is, what matters is how many people actually come out to vote. That is a massive unknown that can be affected by many different factors, making accurate predictions even harder. The bottom line is, Obama looks to have some wind behind his sails and seems to have an advantage in the closing days. That doesn't necessarily mean he is going to win. For that we, will have to wait until November 7th to find out.

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