Presidential polls have been relatively stable since Mitt Romney’s post-debate bounce sent his prospects of a win soaring. With three days until Election Day, nearly all projections show Obama with a small but comfortable lead, seemingly giving him a path to re-election.
A slew of battleground presidential polls released in the last few days shows President Obama maintaining a lead in the states necessary to put him above the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. HuffPost Pollster‘s projection now gives Obama 277 electoral votes in states either solid or leaning his way.
In the pivotal state of Ohio, HuffPost Pollster shows that an aggregate of presidential polls have Obama ahead 49 percent to 46 percent. Ohio is seen as the pivotal point of the 2012 election, with the candidate who wins the Buckeye State more than likely to win the election.
Mitt Romney has run into some trouble in Ohio, as criticism of his Jeep ad claiming that Chrysler was moving production of the vehicles to China was met with criticism. Democrats called the ad misleading, and Chrysler executives even stepped in to decry the ad as untrue, hurting Romney’s standing in a state where the auto industry is a key part of the economy.
Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight now has Obama as having a more than 80 percent chance of winning on Tuesday. Though Silver has come under fire from pundits who criticize the certainly of his mathematical formula, he has held firm to his model and its prediction.
“President Obama is now better than a 4-in-5 favorite to win the Electoral College, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast. His chances of winning it increased to 83.7 percent on Friday, his highest figure since the Denver debate and improved from 80.8 percent on Thursday.
“Friday’s polling should make it easy to discern why Mr. Obama has the Electoral College advantage. There were 22 polls of swing states published Friday. Of these, Mr. Obama led in 19 polls, and two showed a tie. Mitt Romney led in just one of the surveys, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida.”
Silver argues that the sheer number of polls showing Obama ahead in these swing states crushes the conventional wisdom that the race is a “toss-up.”
With only a few days until election, it is not clear if Mitt Romney has the time to make up the ground that presidential polls suggest. In many states early voting has been going on for weeks, allowing Obama to build an advantage against a late surge that appeared to never materialize.
Obama has a number of other factors in his favor that may not have time to show up in presidential polls. His response to Hurricane Sandy has allowed him to show to voters that he is a strong leader, and a strong jobs report on Friday could also push undecided voters his way.
On Friday the jobs report for October showed that employers added 170,000 new jobs in the month, with the unemployment rate rising to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent as more people entered the labor force to begin looking for work.
Even in nationwide presidential polls, where Romney had shot ahead after his strong performance in the first debate, Obama has regained his strong standing. The GOP challenger who once led in a number of these polls now clings to only a few clear leads. Even the Republican-leaning Rasmussen daily tracking presidential poll now shows the candidates tied.
Scott Rasmussen himself was pushing the notion that the race was a toss-up, against the presidential polls and predictions of many other pollsters.
“It’s somewhat surprising that heading into the final weekend of the election season, we are unable to confidently project who is likely to win the White House,” Scott Rasmussen wrote in his latest weekly newspaper column. “But the race for the White House remains close because of the economy. Most Americans do not feel better off than they were four years ago, but most are not feeling worse off either.”
Nate Silver, however, stands by his model of presidential polls, writing: “But the state polls may not be right. They could be biased. Based on the historical reliability of polls, we put the chance that they will be biased enough to elect Mr. Romney at 16 percent.”