Obama, Romney in final blitz to sway voters in tied race

Washington, Nov 5 (IANS) President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney Monday headed for a final blitz in battleground states to swing voters their way ahead of Tuesday's election that polls show destined for a photo finish.

Most polls show the two presidential contenders locked in a close contest too close for comfort though Obama holds a small edge in more battleground states than Romney. But most of those leads are well within the polls' sampling errors.

In a final 24 hours, Obama and Romney and their key campaigners -- including their wives and the vice presidential candidates -- are scheduled to make stops in Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

Early Monday, Obama, his voice raspy from weekend campaigning, wrapped up a campaign stop at a community college in Aurora, Colorado, painting the election as a choice between policies that have moved America out of the depths of recession and ones that got it into one in the first place.

Romney used his campaign stops Sunday to hammer at Obama's record, particularly on the economy, saying it didn't warrant returning him to Washington, CNN reported.

The mad dash for votes comes as national polls show the race is tied.

A new CNN poll showed 49 percent support for Obama and 49 percent for Romney. A Politico/George Washington University survey has it tied at 48 percent.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicates Obama at 48 percent and Romney at 47 percent and the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll puts Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent.

However, a Pew Research Centre national poll released Sunday showed Obama with a three point 50 percent to 47 percent edge over Romney - his largest advantage among other national polls released since Saturday.

A Pew survey released a week ago, conducted before superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast Monday, showed an even tighter race with both candidates receiving 47 percent support from likely voters.

The average of polls compiled by influential poll watching website, the RealClearPolitics gave Obama a lead of 0.5 percent in the popular vote - 47.8 percent to 47.3 percent listing 11 states as toss-ups, totalling 146 electoral votes in the 538-vote Electoral College - which will decide the race.

Among presumably solid states, Obama leads Romney by only 201 electoral votes to 191, according to RCP -- it takes 270 to win the White House.

Going by the current polls, Politico, another influential site focused on politics, suggests Obama would win the Electoral College by 290-248.

FiveThirtyEight, the election forecasting blog of the New York Times has upped the chances of Obama to 85.5 percent giving him a 306.4 to 231.8 edge over Romney with a clear 50.5 percent popular vote nationally.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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