Six months from Election Day, Nov. 6, the expected contest between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney appears to be a dead heat.
Slice it either way: Nationally, or in the dozen or fewer states where the election actually will be decided, the “swing states.”
The “Battleground Poll’
‘ run by Politico and George Washington University, which draws on the skills of a bipartisan team of pollsters, portrays a statistical tie among likely voters nationwide: Obama 48 percent, Romney 47 percent.
There is welcome news in the survey of 1,000 likely voters for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor emerging from a bruising primary contest that forced him to take stands that don’t play well beyond the base of the Republican Party. Romney held a 10-percentage-point advantage among independent voters in the Battleground survey taken April 29 through May 3.
There also is a strong underpinning for Obama’s campaign in the poll — significant support among younger women, and a better than 10-point lead among people asked which candidate is more likely to stand up for the middle class. The president’s job approval stands at 48 percent in the survey conducted by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake and Republican pollster Ed Goeas.
The Gallup Poll
, surveying voters in 12 swing states, found Romney “better positioned today than he was in March.” Then, Obama held a nine-point advantage over Romney. Now, it’s within the margin of error in Gallup’s survey of 951 registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The survey, conducted April 26 through May 2, found Obama two points ahead of Romney. It also found a four-point advantage for Obama among voters who say they are certain to vote for Obama in November (36 percent) and certain to vote for Romney (32 percent.)
“Obama’s swing-state prospects also look a bit brighter than Romney’s on the basis of voter enthusiasm,” Gallup reports.“More than half of Obama’s supporters, 55%, are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s presidential election, up from 49% saying this in March. By contrast, 46% of Romney’s supporters are extremely or very enthusiastic, unchanged from 47% in March. Today’s figures reflect a reversal from January, when 55% of Romney voters were extremely or very enthusiastic, compared with 50% of Obama voters.”
What these two polls, taken together, most clearly tell us: The map of Obama’s campaign travels, which formally started with college campus rallies in Ohio and Virginia over the weekend, is fairly predictable.
Television viewers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers and anyone who steps near a TV set, computer, tablet or smart phone in the next six months in these 12 states will be hearing a lot more about this close contest.