Both polls show a statistical dead heat between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But there are some key underliers here that give Romney a lot of reason to be confident.
FIRST: These polls are notable because they’re the first comprehensive swing state polls since Republicans settled on a nominee. That has boosted Romney. In March, when his nomination was not certain, Romney trailed Obama in the Gallup swing-state poll by 9 points. Now it’s only 2 points, and in polling that’s a virtual tie.
SECOND: This is from the Politico poll. Though there are more “definites” for Obama, Romney is crushing him among the “leans.” Most undecided voters are leaning Republican, and leaning toward Romney. That means Obama has to win the remaining undecideds (5 per cent) and/or some of Romney’s leans (8 per cent). Because right now, when you factor in the leaners, Romney leads 48 to 47.
THIRD: The USA Today/Gallup poll compounds this problem for Obama. Susan Page takes a look at the uncommitted, “persuadable voters.” This is what she finds.
This time, they tend to be Republican or Republican-leaning. Half describe themselves as moderate; six in 10 say Obama is more liberal than they are. They give the president a lower job-approval rating (40%) than other voters. By 2-to-1, they predict Romney would do a better job in handling the economy.
Those are some rough numbers for the voters that will likely decide the election. And the economy, of course, is No. 1 this year.
Now, here are some things on Obama’s side. In its analysis, Gallup points toward the “intensity” of likability, something the polling agency thinks can be a crucial measure. It’s a valid point: The more likable candidate has captured every election since 1980.
Obama also has the edge on the enthusiasm aspect.
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