By Brandon Reid
Heading into the final weekend prior to the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election, President Barack Obama has regained the lead in some national polls and is also leading in most key swing states.
Thursday, Nov. 1, Obama led Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the CNN/Opinion Research poll (50-48 percent) and the ABC News/Washington Post poll (49-48 percent). A Friday, Nov. 2 Rasmussen Reports poll, which has shown Romney in the lead for a number of weeks, had Obama and Romney tied at 48 percent.
Real Clear Politics’ Electoral College map shows Obama leading Romney 201-191 (270 needed to win) in the Electoral College, with 146 electoral votes up for grabs in Colorado (nine), Florida (29), Iowa (six), Michigan (16), Nevada (six), New Hampshire (four), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10).
According to an analysis of the latest polls in the toss-up states, Obama could gain as many as 89 electoral votes in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and Romney could gain as many as 57 electoral votes in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. That scenario would give Obama the election, 290-248.
Just two weeks ago, an analysis of the Electoral College appeared much closer, with projections as close as 271-267 in favor of Obama. However, Obama now has a more sizeable lead in Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire, and has closed the gap in North Carolina and Virginia.
Obama won each of the toss-up states in 2008, when he defeated Republican candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., 365-173 in the Electoral College. According to current polls in those states, Romney may take as many as three of those states from Obama — Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
Most national polls also show Obama’s approval rating above 50 percent, including a Nov. 2 Rasmussen Reports poll (50-49 percent approval); a Nov. 1 ABC News/Washington Post poll (50-49 percent approval); and an Oct. 31 FOX News poll (50-47 percent approval).
A critical jobs report released Nov. 2 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the nationwide unemployment rate at 7.9 percent with 171,000 jobs created in the past month and 12.3 million unemployed. The long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5 million, accounting for 40.6 percent of all unemployed.
Although debates between Obama and Romney and Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., ended with the third presidential debate Oct. 22, a third-party debate between Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein will be from 8 to 9:30 p.m. (Central), Monday, Nov. 5. Viewers can catch the live debate between Johnson and Stein at www.freeandequal.org/live and RT America’s YouTube channel. Additional media may join the live feed.
Early voting can be done through Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Rockford Board of Elections office, 301 S. Sixth St. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Nov. 3.
Early voting is also available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 2, at the following facilities: Heartland Community Church, 1280 S. Alpine Road; and Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St.
Presidential candidates appearing on the ballot include Romney/Ryan, Obama/Biden, Johnson/James P. Gray and Stein/Howie Hawkins.
For more about voting in the Nov. 6 general election, contact the Rockford Board of Elections Office at (815) 987-5750 or the Winnebago County Clerk’s Office at (815) 319-4252.
Posted Nov. 2, 2012