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Obama, Romney too CLOSE for comfort

November 01, 2012 22:57 IST

Days before America goes to polls to decide its next president, incumbent Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney appear to be a running a very close race, though a majority of Americans still believe the incumbent is better poised for a victory, if a series of national polls are to be believed.

Gallup's 10-point favourability measure found Obama slightly ahead of Romney while a Fox News poll found the two candidates tied at 46 per cent among likely voters.

Majorities of Americans were found to hold generally favourable views of Obama and Romney, using Gallup's historical 10-point 'scalometer' question, the Gallup said.

In the poll, conducted on October 27-28 -- before Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast -- 62 per cent of national adults rated Obama positively, against 55 per cent for Romney.

Among registered voters, it was a closer picture with 60 per cent rooting for Obama against 56 per cent for Romney.

"Obama's rating is similar to George W Bush's in 2004. But the most popular candidate on this measure doesn't always win," Gallup said.

On another measure, a majority of Americans continue to believe that Obama will win re-election over Romney, by 54 per cent to 34 per cent, the Gallup said.

"These views are roughly similar to where they were in May and August, although slightly more Americans now do not have an opinion either way," it said.

Since this poll was taken before Hurricane Sandy, it is unknown what effect the storm will have on Americans' voting preferences.

Meanwhile, a Fox News poll said that both Obama and Romney are tied at 46 per cent among likely voters.

While Obama's support has increased by one point, as compared to a similar poll taken in early October after the first of the three presidential debates, Romney has more support among independent voters, the poll said.

Another Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed that Obama holds narrow leads over Romney in the three battleground states of Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Iowa.

In Wisconsin and New Hampshire, Romney remains well within striking distance, despite signs that opinions are hardening and the pool of undecided voters remains small, the daily reported.

"Mr Obama holds a 49 per cent -- 46 per cent lead in Wisconsin among likely voters, half what it was two weeks ago, and a 49 per cent -- 47 per cent lead in New Hampshire, down from his lead of 7 percentage points there in September. In Iowa, where Mr Obama launched his presidential quest in 2007, the president holds a more formidable 50 per cent - 44 per cent lead among likely voters, due in large part to outsize support among women and young voters," The Journal said.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal poll, Obama has expanded his lead in Nevada with 50 per cent support to Romney's 46.

Republican Strategist Karl Rove, in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, predicted that Romney would win the presidential elections with at least 279 electoral college votes.

"Sometime after the cock crows on the morning of November 7, Mitt Romney will be declared America's 45th president. Let's call it 51 per cent -- 48 per cent, with Mr Romney carrying at least 279 Electoral College votes, probably more," he wrote.

Lalit K Jha
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