President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney remained in a virtual tie in the latest opinion polls released Sunday, just two days before the White House election.
As Election Day looms on Tuesday, polls show Obama has a slight but significant lead in most of the crucial battleground states that ultimately will determine the outcome of the presidential election.
The survey by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News gave Obama 48 percent support and Romney 47 percent -- a statistical dead heat, given the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.55 percentage points.
“This poll is reflecting a very, very close campaign nationally,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart, said in a statement.
“It’s a dead heat,” Hart added. “This election is going to be decided by turnout, turnout, turnout.”
The poll, conducted between November 1-3, sampled 1,475 likely voters. The findings were in keeping with most national polls which find the presidential contest too close to call.
Meanwhile, a USA Today/Gallup Poll of swing states showed voters were evenly split, with 48 percent choosing Obama and 48 percent Romney.
However, a Pew survey found that Obama led 48 percent to 45 percent among likely voters who already have made up their minds, with four percent saying they remain uncommitted.
President Obama and Mitt Romney rallied deep into Sunday night and will resume their foray into battleground states Monday morning with Election Day now just hours away.
Romney closed the weekend with stops in Pennsylvania and Virginia, battleground states considered critical in the quest for the 270 electoral votes it takes to win the White House.
“I know how to change the course this country is on,” Romney told a crowd in the suburban Philadelphia town of Morrisville. “It’s something I’m going to do as president of the United States. … Two more days and we can get to work on rebuilding our country.”
Obama advisers, however, dismissed the trip as a sign of desperation from the challenger less than 48 hours from Election Day.
“We’re taking back the White House because we’re going to win Pennsylvania,” Romney told a crowd put at around 30,000, according to U.S. Secret Service estimates quoted by the campaign, who had gathered on a farm in frigid weather.
As Mitt Romney’s campaign bus rolled through the make-or-break state of Ohio earlier this week, the White House hopeful turned to aides in an unguarded moment to say how much he was enjoying himself.
“This is exciting, this is what all that hard work is for,” Romney said, according to his senior advisor Kevin Madden.
The aide looked back at the 2012 campaign snapshot as indicative of the positivity and confidence that has permeated the Romney camp -- and the candidate himself -- just days before the biggest night of the Republican nominee’s life on Tuesday.
“He’s really excited about the state of the campaign right now,” Madden told AFP news agency after a late-night rally in Virginia.
In the closing days of what has been a grueling, 18-month push for the nation’s top job, Romney was embracing what Madden described as “the opportunity to talk to voters up until the very last minute about what he wants to do as president.”
Obama’s last line of defense
If Obama wins Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa, and avoids any upsets on his turf, he is all but certain to become only the second Democrat to win two White House terms since World War II.
Romney spent months trying to tear the president’s Midwestern “firewall” but was hampered by an Obama advertising blitz hammering him as a wealthy plutocrat who disdains the middle class.
In most recent polls, Obama led Ohio between two and five points, an ominous sign for Romney, as no Republican since the Civil War has lost the state and gone on to win the White House.
Obama touts his bailout of the indebted auto industry in 2009 and Romney’s opposition to it, as one-in-eight jobs in the state are linked to the sector.
His team believes that Romney has undermined his hopes in Ohio by running ad an warning that Chrysler will outsource production of its Jeep vehicles to China, a charge the company’s CEO has said is false.
Obama leads an average of polls in Ohio by the RealClearPolitics (RCP) website by 2.8 percent.
Wisconsin has been solid Democratic territory for years: the last time a Republican won the state was Ronald Reagan in 1984.
But Republicans, who managed to repel an attempt by Democrats to oust Governor Scott Walker in a recall election this year, have a solid ground game in the state, and Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan is a local boy.
The president leads the RCP average by 4.2 percent.
Where it all started for Obama. The president built his grass roots operation in the agricultural heartland state and believes that after carving out an advantage in early voting, he has the edge on Romney.
Obama leads the RCP average in Iowa by 2.5 percent.
UP FOR GRABS
The Sunshine State, the largest electoral battleground, is often decisive in presidential elections, but may not be the kingmaker this time. But Obama is competing fiercely there because if he wins, it is all but impossible for Romney to take the White House.
A punishing foreclosure crisis and an unemployment rate higher than the national average have many analysts expecting Florida to swing to Romney.
Obama has led several recent polls however, and if he can get a bumper turnout in Democratic strongholds in the southern part of the state, he could pull off a surprise.
Romney leads the RCP average by 1.4 percent.
Neither side seem to know whether the state will revert to Republicans after Obama became the first Democrat to win there since 1964. Obama needs to maximize turnout among students, and African American voters around the cities of Richmond and Norfolk.
Romney will count on old school conservatives in rural areas of the state and look to cut down on Obama’s margins with educated middle class voters in the Washington DC suburbs.
Currently, Romney leads the RCP average by 0.3 percent.
NORTH CAROLINA (15)
The most likely state to move from Democratic to Republican because Obama won it by only 14,000 votes in 2008. Romney aides are certain their man will win, but the Obama camp has mobilized a massive early voting effort, which it says will keep the president competitive into election day.
Romney is up 3.8 percent in the RCP scoreboard.
Romney’s best chance to grab a western swing state. Obama is relying on women and Hispanic voters to keep him in the game here and currently heads the RCP average by 0.6 percent.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (4)
The flinty northeastern state with an independent streak knows Romney well after he served as governor of neighboring Massachusetts.
Obama won this state, in 2008 and leads the RCP average this year by 1.5 percent.
MAY BE OVER
The Obama campaign says it has a substantial lead after early voting which means Romney needs to win big in Election Day voting.
Obama has a powerbase among Hispanic voters, and his trip to the bowels of a vast Las Vegas casino hotel to greet culinary workers a few weeks ago looks to have paid off.
Obama leads Nevada by 2.8 percent in the RCP average.
ROMNEY’S LAST STAND
PENNSYLVANIA (20), MICHIGAN (16), MINNESOTA (10)
Romney will make a late swoop into Pennsylvania on Sunday after ignoring the Keystone State for much of the campaign. Democrats say his move shows desperation and a recognition that he cannot get to 270 electoral votes elsewhere. Obama leads the RCP average by 3.9 percent.
Republicans have also made big advertising buys in Democratic states Minnesota, where Obama is up by 5.8 five points, according to RCP and in Michigan where Obama leads by 3.8 percent in the averages.
Obama aide David Axelrod is so confident that he has offered to shave his trademark moustache if Romney wins any of the trio.