Heading into the closing two days of the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama clings to a slim three-point lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, according to the final Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll of the state's likely voters.
Polls showing the race closing in Pennsylvania in the final haul have changed the narrative around the state's importance ahead of Election Day. Where once polls showed Obama secure, with leads of anywhere from 7 to 10 points, now he's ahead just 49 percent to 46 percent in a Democratic-leaning state.
For the first time, likely voters' view of Romney is more positive than negative with 47 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable. Obama's ratings have been slightly more positive since early September and he now is viewed favorably 48 percent to unfavorably 47 percent, according to the results released Sunday morning.
To underscore the new focus on Pennsylvania, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan stopped in Harrisburg yesterday (read that story here), Mitt Romney will be in Bucks County tonight and former President Bill Clinton is holding four campaign rallies across Pennsylvania on Monday.
This week, the Philadelphia Inquirer showed Obama up 6 points, Franklin & Marshall College had him up 4 points and this morning the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported the race as tied. Nationally, most polls show the race as dead even.
Still, in Pennsylvania, it's a climb for Romney to move those final points, says Muhlenberg College pollster Chris Borick.
"When you see poll results like ours you see it's a very competitive race in Pennsylvania," Borick said. "With the polls showing Obama with a 3-6 point lead, the question remains what is the Republican recipe to erase that? even though it's on the low end that's still a challenge of hundreds of thousands of votes that Romney has to find. Can that combination emerge from better than expected performance in the Philly burbs? Possible, but not probable"
Turnout for the Republican candidate in those collar counties coupled with low turnout for Obama in populous Philadelphia would be the main pathway for a Republican win in the state, as Morning Call reported this week.
On a Sunday morning news show, Obama's senior adviser, David Plouffe, called Romney's last minute play in Pennsylvania a "desperate ploy."
“I mean, to win Pennsylvania, Governor Romney would have to win two-thirds of the independents,” Plouffe said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “He’s not going to do that anywhere, much less Pennsylvania. So the truth is, they are throwing some ads up and Governor Romney is traveling in the state he’s not going to win.”
Meanwhile, Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is in a more comfortable position with a six-point lead over Republican challenger Tom Smith, 48 percent to 42 percent. The poll of 430 likely voters in Pennsylvania was conducted from Nov. 1 through Nov. 3 and has a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.
Full results are attached to this post mcall.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun