Remember all the pundits who said the debates wouldn’t matter? That the percentage of undecided voters was the lowest it’s been in a century? Well, they were wrong. This is the year the debates actually mattered.
Romney received an almost immediate 12-point boost following the first debate. His momentum slowed following the second debate, which most consider a draw, but the race has continued to slowly slip away from President Obama.
According to polls, Romney has increased his lead in the overall popular vote. He’s closed a 26-point gap to take the lead in favorability ratings. He leads in key swing states including Florida and Virginia, and he’s closed the gaps in Wisconsin and Ohio. One shocking poll even has him leading in Pennsylvania, which a Republican hasn’t won since 1988. Most dramatically of all, for the first time ever, some forecasts show Romney leading in the Electoral College.
What impact are sportsmen having on the race? According to our polls and others, the issue of gun control is having a big impact among our demographic–hunters and shooters, especially, are leaning heavily toward Romney, who earlier this week announced the Sportsmen for Romney coalition.
In recent days the gun rights issue, particularly in regards to so-called “assault weapons,” has taken center stage. The candidates addressed it directly during the second presidential debate, and gun rights groups have struck while the iron is hot. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reiterated its support for Romney. And the National Rifle Association has stepped up its anti-Obama TV ads, flooding such swing states as Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin with them. The ads seek to use Obama’s very words in the debate against him. The NRA’s endorsement of Romney has not been without controversy, given Romney’s past flirtations with gun control. Here’s how NRA responds to such criticism:
So, are sportsmen making the difference in these latest polling numbers? Perhaps, but the biggest shift remains among women. Obama had a huge lead among female voters, but they’re now split 50/50.
With just a few weeks left in this race, who do you think is the best overall choice for sportsmen?