The last two week average was an exact tie, so it was important to see if anyone got momentum in the final two weeks. It looks like Obama got that momentum, although somewhat slightly, building up a 9/10ths of a percent lead on Governor Romney on the eve of the election:
Obama: 47.9% (+0.7%)
Romney: 47.1% (-0.1%)
Margin: O+0.8% (O+0.8%)
This average included 22 national polls:
- Associated Press/Gfk from October 19-23 (Romney 47, Obama 45)
- National Public Radio from October 23-25 (Romney 48, Obama 47)
- CBS/New York Times from Oct. 25-28 (Obama 48, Romney 47)
- National Journal from Oct. 25-28 (Obama 50, Romney 45)
- High Point University from Oct. 22-30 (Obama 46, Romney 43)
- Fox News from Oct. 28-30 (Obama 46, Romney 46)
- Washington Times/Zogby from Oct. 29-31 (Obama 49, Romney 49)
- Purple Strategies from Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 (Obama 47, Romney 46)
- Pew Research from. Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 (Obama 48, Romney 45)
- NBC/Wall Street Journal from Nov.1-3 (Obama 48, Romney 47)
- ABC News/Washington Post from Nov. 1-4 (Obama 50, Romney 47)
- Democracy Corps from Nov. 1-4 (Obama 49, Romney 45)
- Gallup from Nov. 1-4 (Romney 49, Obama 48)
- Monmouth University from Nov. 1-4 (Obama 48, Romney 48)
- PPP/Daily Kos/SEIU from Nov. 1-4 (Obama 50, Romney 48)
- American Research Group from Nov. 2-4 (Obama 49, Romney 49)
- CNN/ORC from Nov. 2-4 (Obama 49, Romney 49)
- Rasmussen from Nov. 2-4 (Romney 49, Obama 48)
- UPI/CVoter from Nov. 3-5 (Obama 49, Romney 48)
- Gravis Marketing from Nov. 3-5 (Obama 48, Romney 48)
- IBD/TIPP from Nov. 3-5 (Obama 50, Romney 49)
- Politico/GWU/Battleground from Nov. 4-5 (Obama 47, Romney 47)
The closeness of the national popular vote can be see via the 7 ties among the 22 polls conducted. However, Obama appears to have the advantage by virtue of leading in 11 polls versus Romney’s 4, and two of the four Romney polls are the two oldest polls in the list.
Obama certainly has some worry signs as the average still has him only around 48%, but the fact that the trend appears to be in his direction goes in his favor. His average is slightly higher than it was during the September 25th to October 8th period, which split between pre-first debate and post-first debate. It’s also 1.3% higher than it was through most of the summer.
Romney’s average is the same as last week, demonstrating that while he hasn’t lost any support in the past week, he also hasn’t gained any ground either.
To compare against previous elections, the final average in 2000 was Bush leading by about 2.5%, 46.2% to 43.6%. The actual election results were about 3% off, but there were also a full 10% undecided even going into election day in 2000, which is twice the number as today.
2004 saw Bush leading Kerry by 1.2% in the polls, 48.9% to 47.1%, and ultimately winning by 2.4% on election day. Bush gained 1.8% over his final 2-week average while Kerry gained 1.2%. Unlike this time, it was Kerry who appeared to have the momentum in 2004 while Bush was stalled, but Bush pretty evenly split the final undecided vote pretty evenly nevertheless.
2008 saw Obama leading by 7.2% in the final average and winning by the same 7.2% margin, with both candidates gaining 1.9% on election day over their final polling average.
In all three cases – 2000, 2004, and 2008 – the incumbent party improved on it’s final polling average in the final election day results, so there should be no surprise if Obama does the same. The question is how much do those votes break. Assuming 1% vote for third parties, Romney needs late deciders to break about 60-40 or so his way to win the popular vote based on this average. That ratio will go up if the 3rd party share is higher than 1%.