Today, we saw a plethora of polls released, nearly all showing the same thing, the presidential race as a dead heat. It’s not just a turnout game. Or is it?
Republicans are convinced Romney is going to win. Democrats certain Obama will be elected to a second term. Jim Hoft is offering regular Romney landslide watches. Democratic prognosticators are fine-tuning the likelihood of an Obama victory. Over at the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru commented that he’d “never seen as big a divergence in expectations about a presidential election less than a week away.”
So, where do we stand?
At the gym, I looked up to see Wolf Blitzer teasing us about a new CNN poll; I had expected bad news for Mitt Romney, given that network’s surveys tendency to oversample Democrats. But, it showed the race a dead heat, with both candidates tied at 49.
I wondered if that might be good news for Republicans, assuming it oversample Democrats — and vowed to look at the internals when I got home. Fortunately, Jim Hoft and Joel Pollak had already done that. Both found that the survey showed an electorate 3 percent more Democratic than in 2008. Independents broke for Romney by over 20 points.
Does he really have a lead that big? The Pew poll only showed him with an edge of 3 points among independents.
In the end, this race will boil down to the independent voters. They seem to be breaking for Romney, but Hurricane Sandy may have helped Obama improve his standing with them.
UP=UPDATE: Observing that, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Obama gained ground with independents, Josh Jordan crunched the numbers of recent polls and found:
Over the last few days the independents have been returning back to Romney, however, indicating that the final vote Tuesday might revert back to polling from the days just before Sandy made landfall. Rasmussen has seen Romney’s lead with independents jump from three points to fifteen. The Washington Post tracking poll moved from a tie with independents on Saturday to a three-point lead for Romney on Sunday.
In the national non-tracking polls, Romney has continued to enjoy leads with independents as well. The Pew poll taken in the days after Sandy has Romney up three among independents while the NBC/WSJ poll released yesterday that showed Obama up one point overall has Romney up seven with independents. A CNN national poll released last night has a tied race, but Romney is up 22 points with independents.