`Tight’ Swing States, Long Night?

Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Voters cast their ballots as they participate in early voting on Nov. 2, 2012 at the Silver Spring Civic Building in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“Tight as a tick” — President Barack Obama’s words for how close the vote is in some of the battleground states that matter most.

The latest national polling portrays a virtual tie among likely voters divided between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney — 50 percent Obama, 47 percent Romney in the Pew Poll; 48 Obama, 47 Romney, at NBC News and the Wall Street Journal; 48 Obama, 47 Romney, at CBS and the New York Times; 48-48 in the daily tracking poll at ABC News and the Washington Post; 46-46 at Fox News.

Yet it is those relative few swing states that will deliver the Electoral College victory of 270 votes. And, on the eve of Election Day 2012, there are more ticks than butterflies in the swing state surveys (and it’s worth noting that these are all states that Obama won in 2008):

OHIO: A must-win for any Republican who has ever won the White House. Without it, Romney would have to cobble another path to victory. It’s Obama 50, Romney 48, in the Columbus Dispatch poll run through Sunday. It was Obama 51, Romney 45, in the last NBC, Wall Street Journal poll through Nov. 1.

FLORIDA: One of the states Romney must win to make an Electoral College majority a reality, not so essential for Obama, who won it in 2008 by 2.8 percentage points. The NBC, Wall Street Journal survey run through Nov. 1 showed Obama at 49 percent, Romney 47. A Mason-Dixon poll run for the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald over the same time period: Romney 51, Obama 45.

VIRGINIA: Another state that Romney needs to overcome the Electoral College advantage Obama has in most pre-election surveys. It is 48 Obama percent, 47 Romney, in the NBC, Wall Street Journal poll out this morning, run through Nov. 2.

IOWA: Another state that Romney has hoped to capture. It is Obama 47 percent, 42 Romney, in the Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night. This is one of the most accurate state polls in the nation.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: This is where Romney’s roll begins on election night, if he rolls. The WMUR, University of New Hampshire poll showed Obama at 51 percent, Romney 48, in a survey run through Sunday. NBC and the Wall Street Journal, working with Marist College, found 49 for Obama, 47 Romney, through Oct. 29.

COLORADO: Another cornerstone of Romney’s formula for unseating Obama, particularly if the president holds Ohio. The Denver Post reports it’s Obama 47 percent, Romney 45, in a survey run through Halloween. CNN Opinion Research found Obama 50, Romney 48, through the same time frame.

If accurate, it all adds up to a potentially long election night.

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