The final polls remain extremely close but there is plenty of reason for optimism among Obama supporters. The Romney campaign is also trying to look optimistic, citing internal polls which vary several points from the nonpartisan ones.
The final national polls show a slim lead for Obama, especially if you follow the usual rule of thumb that Rasmussen will favor Republicans by two points:
ABC News/Washington Post: Obama 50%, Romney 47%
American Research Group: Obama 49%, Romney 49%
Democracy Corps: Obama 49%, Romney 45%
Gallup: Romney 49%, Obama 48%
Monmouth: Obama 48%, Romney 48%
Public Policy Polling: Obama 50%, Romney 48%
Rasmussen: Romney 49%, Obama 48%
Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 48%, Romney 46%
UPI/CVoter: Obama 49%, Romney 47%
I was especially interested to see the Gallup poll after it went on hiatus after Sandy hit. Gallup has found support for Obama to be trailing behind the other polls, and still does by a small margin. Gallup has shown Obama to be trailing as by as much as five points in October. The final poll shows Obama trailing by only one point among likely voters, essentially a tie, suggesting the momentum is on Obama’s side. Obama leads 49% to 46% among all registered voters–showing both the importance of turning out to vote and the potential which Obama has to outperform the polls should his turnout be better than expected.
The final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has Obama leading 47% to 46% but also provides reason to believe that Obama has a better shot than Romney of picking up the voters who are still up for grabs:
The survey found that 9% of the likely voters are up for grabs (meaning they’re undecided or just leaning to a candidate), and these folks have more positive feelings toward Obama than Romney. Obama’s job approval with them is 48% approve, 41% disapprove. What’s more, Obama’s fav/unfav with them is 46%/29%, vs. Romney’s upside down 22%-49%. Bottom line: Our pollsters see more of an opportunity for Obama among these voters and more of an uphill climb for Romney.
These findings do show momentum towards Obama, which is also seen in many of the battleground states. Most polls agree that Obama leads in Ohio, which makes it very difficult for Romney to win unless he can significantly out-perform the polls. Most of the disagreement in predictions comes down to Florida and Virginia, which were leaning towards Obama before the first debate, leaned towards Romney after, and are now too close to call. Larry Sabato predicts Obama will win with 290 electoral votes with Romney winning in Florida and Virginia. Nate Silver’s model has increased Obama’s chances of winning to 92.2%,predicting Obama will win in Florida and Virginia, returning to where the race was before the Denver debate. Sam Wang is preparing his final predictions, with his site showing Obama with the advantage. The conservative-leaning Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Obama a lead of 0.7%. Their electoral map with toss up state allocated to the candidate who is leading gives Obama 303 electoral votes winning in Virginia but losing Florida. Intrade currently has Obama’s chances of being reelected at 67.4% None of these findings mean anything after the real numbers are in, but Obama certainly is in a better position going into election day. The question is whether this lead is enough to overcome Republican attempts at voter suppression.