Mitt Romney has reclaimed the slight edge held by President Obama, locking the presidential candidates into a statistical dead heat going into 2012′s first presidential debate. New polls by Politico/George Washington University and ABC News/Washington Post both show Obama leading among likely voters by the slight margin of 49-47. However, the candidates’ two-point separation falls within the margin of error–this one’s too close to call, folks.
Will that be the case later this week? Much anticipation surrounds the upcoming series of three presidential debates, the first of which takes place Wednesday evening. With the race tied up, the emergence of a clear victor could give the candidate insurmountable momentum leading up to Election Day. However, the candidates are battling for perhaps the smallest undecided electorate in American history–just 1 percent of voters say they’re undecided; 2 percent say they prefer neither candidate.
“We’ve never had a debate where the electorate was this polarized,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told Politico. “There’s a real question about how many voters are left to move in the debate.”
However, given how closely contested this race continues to be, a percentage point or two carries a lot of weight. Obama won significantly more Independent votes than John McCain in 2008, but new polls indicate that Independent voters now support Romney by a 4-point margin. That small swing is keeping him in the race, but it may not be enough. According to the Politico/GWU poll, Obama is trouncing Romney among female, Latino and, most especially, African American voters. Based on those numbers, Romney desperately needs to score as many independent and undecided votes as possible, leading some to suggest that the debates are “make or break” for Romney. That could be, but based on the latest polls, there’s likely plenty of pressure on both candidates to perform well.
Who do you think will win the debates? As a sportsman, what do you hope to learn?