Romney’s Surge Still Strong Heading into the Close

The third and final debate is in the history books. The candidates have embarked on a two-week campaign trail whirlwind. The 2012 general election has entered the final stretch. Let’s get to it.

Monday night’s foreign policy debate was the least impactful and least watched of the three debates. Romney passed the Commander-in-Chief test by coming across as very presidential and thoughtful on the issues. Obama was far more aggressive and snipped at Romney a number of times, but most snap polls showed Obama winning. But that doesn’t matter much at this late date. What mattered most was that Romney did OK.

The driving issue in the election continues to be the economy. Virtually no one votes based on foreign policy. The result of Monday’s final debate did little to slow down Romney’s momentum.

Both the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls have Romney at or above 50%. The Gallup poll today has it 51-45 in favor of Romney, and he has been consistently above 50% for the last two weeks. It is also very significant that Obama has never made it to 50% in Rasmussen. Plus we now have a third poll showing Romney at 50%, which backs up the Gallup poll, thus removing its “outlier” status.

Clearly Romney has the upper hand at this point. If you look at the RealClearPolitics average of all polls, Romney leads by 0.7%. Obviously two weeks is a long time in politics and anything can happen, but I maintain that the Romney surge is alive, well and growing. I would not be surprised to see Romney rise to the 50% level in other major polls over the next week.

Romney currently leads Obama in the Rasmussen battleground states poll by 50-45, his largest margin ever. This does not bode well for the president. OH remains the ultimate battleground with the candidates deadlocked at 48% each in the most recent poll of the state. Romney seems to have a slim lead in NH and IA is now tied.

CO now leans Romney and NV is rapidly headed that direction. NC is now safely in the Romney column. FL is leaning heavily toward Romney, who has led in nine of the last 12 polls in the state, and achieved over 50% in two of them. Old Dominion (VA) is likely going for Romney, but the Obama campaign has not given up.

Keep an eye on where the candidates travel over the next two weeks. This will tell you where they think they are weak or where they think they have a chance to tip the vote in their favor. No doubt both candidates will blanket OH, VA, IA, WI, NV and CO. Be glad if you don’t live in one of those states right now!

Both the Democrats and the GOP will mobilize massive, and I mean MASSIVE, turnout operations on Election Day. Tens of millions will be spent by both parties in the effort to get voters to the polls. Both campaigns claim to have the superior “ground game” in this cycle, but I would give a slight edge to Team Obama since they’ve done this before. On the other hand, Romney still has the lead in terms of voter enthusiasm.

Early voting makes for some interesting headlines, but elections are won in the trenches on Election Day and no matter what the polls say, the Obama campaign will not roll over.

Next week we will post our electoral map with commentary and a breakdown of the states to watch. For my readers that live in OH, you have my sympathies! Here in TX, we are not subjected to what I am sure is wall-to-wall political advertising. Hang in there.

Finally, we will discontinue this Wednesday “Election Special” after the election, unless there is something controversial about the election. In that case, we might have a final election blog on Wednesday, November 7.

Also, after the election, my Friday blog will shift to Thursdays. I will continue to write about whatever I find most interesting, just a day earlier in the week.

See you next week.

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