From the latest Gallup poll:
Romney currently leads Obama 52% to 45% among voters who say they have already cast their ballots. However, that is comparable to Romney’s 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup’s Oct. 22-28 tracking polling. At the same time, the race is tied at 49% among those who have not yet voted but still intend to vote early, suggesting these voters could cause the race to tighten. However, Romney leads 51% to 45% among the much larger group of voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.
The Ohio Republicans have been busy purging dead voters and duplicate registrations:
[American Majority Action President Ned] Ryun, whose group has opened voter registration efforts in Ohio and other swing states, said that the Buckeye State’s efforts to clean up voter rolls has also played a part in tightening the gap. He said that 450,000 dead voters and duplicate registrations have been nixed, and the majority were Democrats.
“Considering Obama won the state by 263,000 votes, Ohio’s cleaner rolls could make a big impact,” Ryun said. He added, “The five largest counties in Ohio have all shifted at least 6 percent and as much as 27 percent to the Republicans since 2008. While the polls show an Obama lead, these real votes–assuming registered voters vote for their candidate–demonstrate a Republican shift since 2008.”
Ryun sent this to Secrets from his analysis of Ohio early voting:
In 2008, there were 1,158,301 total absentee ballots requested, 33 percent registered Democrat and 19 percent registered Republican–a 14 point gap. So far in 2012, 638,997 ballots have been requested, 29 percent Democrat and 24 percent Republican–only a five point gap.
Romney is confident enough about Ohio and Florida to be heading into deep blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
Clinton’s Minnesota visit came just days after Romney and his allies started airing TV ads in the state. GOP-leaning groups including Americans for Job Security and American Future Fund were spending $615,000 this week. Romney spent a much lighter $29,000 last week, and it was unclear how much his campaign was spending this week. All together, the efforts led Obama to follow suit to prevent the state from slipping out of his grasp. His campaign was spending $210,000 on ads in Minnesota this week.
Polls show Romney having gained ground in Minnesota though still trailing Obama. And Obama has a much larger campaign footprint of paid staff and volunteers, including more than 30 full-time workers and 12 offices. Romney never has established much of campaign organization in Minnesota.
In Pennsylvania, Romney’s campaign started pouring money into TV ads Monday for the first time, though Republican-leaning groups have been on the air in recent days trying to narrow the Obama advantage indicated by surveys. Republican groups – American Crossroads, Restore Our Future and Americans for Job Security – are spending at least $3.9 million this week. That does not include spending by Romney’s campaign. Obama aides said the president’s campaign is spending $625,000.
Romney has sent most of his Pennsylvania team to other states in recent weeks, and he has had no plan to visit, raising questions about whether he is actually playing to win the state that offers 20 electoral votes and last went Republican in the 1988 presidential election.
GOP allies also were running TV ads in Democratic-tilting Michigan in hopes of softening the ground for Romney in the final days, but there was no indication yet that the Republican himself would make a strong 11th-hour play for the state where he was born and raised.
Romney is leading by 2 in Ohio, according to the latest Rasmussen poll, and trails Obama by single digits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Obama has to win all 3 of those blue states to have a chance. Romney can win without Ohio.