Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are deadlocked in four national polls as the 2012 race for the White House enters a dramatic final 48 hours.
Speaking in Des Moines in the swing state of Iowa, where Obama will end his campaign on Tuesday, Romney told a crowd of some 4,000: ‘Talk is cheap, but a record is real and it’s earned with real effort.
‘You can’t measure change in speeches. You measure change in achievements.’
In a joint appearance with former President Bill Clinton before a crowd of 14,000 in Concord, New Hampshire, Obama said: ‘We’ve made real progress these last four years.’
Clinton added: ‘Compared to what could have happened, Barack Obama has done a good job.’ ABC/Washington Post, Rasmussen, George Washington University/Politico, and Fox News polls all found the race as tied. NBC/Wall Street Journal gave Obama a one-point advantage.
Obama maintains a polling edge in all-important Ohio with a 2.8 per cent lead in the RealClearPolitics average. Romney leads by 1.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent in Florida and Virginia respectively – two swing states he must win if he is to oust Obama.
But the Romney campaign remains strikingly confident that a surge in Republican turnout and a swing among late-deciding voters will put them over the top.
Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director, told Fox News: ‘There’s an intensity factor out there on the side of the Republicans, that is a significant gap and we see it out on the ground.
‘We see it when people are knocking on the doors, we see it when people are making the phone calls and again, it gets back to the simple fact that Governor Romney is out there talking about big things and big change, not about small things.’
There were ‘two numbers to keep in mind’ he said. ‘One is independents. Independents are going decide this race in all of these states. Governor Romney consistently leads among independents because they have seen his message, for creating 12 million jobs, real recovery and strengthening the middle class.
‘The second number is you’ve got an incumbent president who has been running for this job for the last four years since the day he got elected, will have raised and spent over $1 billion and he is stuck well below 50, at 48, 47, 46, in all of these polls.
‘When you’re an incumbent under 50, and well under 50, that’s a bad place to be.’
The Romney campaign was also buoyed by an uptick in their candidate’s favourability numbers – a consistent problem for them all year.
Some 53 per cent of likely voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll expressed a favourable opinion of Romney, just one point behind Obama and a majority of voters for the first time.
Romney’s favourability surged after his commanding performance in the first debate in Denver last month and the latest rise could be a sign of independent voters swinging towards him.
The former Massachusetts governor emerged from the Republican primaries as the least popular major party candidate in polling back to 1984. Since the debates, however, that has been washed away as his favourability numbers have risen from 40 per cent.
Obama appears to have gained a modest boost from his handling of Hurricane Sandy with 49 per cent saying that is a factor for them while 62 per cent per cent of likely voters described Romney’s performance in the debates as a factor in their vote.