Early voting is giving President Barack Obama a lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in battleground states such as Iowa, Obama campaign senior political strategist David Axelrod said.
“The main thing is not to look at the polling but to look at the voting,” Axelrod said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We believe that we are mounting up a very, very large lead in Iowa based on where those early votes are coming from,” he said, while indications in Florida “are very positive.”
Iowa and Florida are among the nine swing states where both campaigns say the Nov. 6 election will be decided. They account for 110 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency. Democrat Obama has emphasized early voting and cast his own early-vote ballot in his hometown of Chicago on Oct. 25.
A poll released by Time magazine on Oct. 24 shows early voting has helped Obama to a 5 percentage point advantage over Romney in Ohio, a swing state with 18 electoral votes. No Republican presidential nominee has ever been elected without carrying Ohio. Obama led 49 percent to 44 percent among Ohioans surveyed Oct. 22-23 who said they will vote on Nov. 6 or who have cast ballots already. Ohioans could begin voting on Oct. 2.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus acknowledged on the CNN Sunday morning program that Obama is ahead in early voting, while downplaying the overall impact that may have.
“What they’re not telling you is that they are a fraction of where they were in 2008,” he said. “We’re far ahead of where we were in 2008.”
Recent polling shows that the momentum is shifting in Romney’s favor, Priebus said.
“When you have the momentum and you’re a challenger in a tie race, the challenger wins,” he said. “They’re not as good as they think they are.”
“The energy and enthusiasm is on our side right now” after the presidential debates, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, a Republican, said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.
Hurricane Sandy is adding an element of uncertainty to the election campaign as the two candidates crisscross swing states in search of votes. Eager to avoid the appearance of putting politics before public safety, both campaigns have canceled events and adjusted travel schedules.
The White House said late last night that Obama was canceling planned events tomorrow night in Northern Virginia and the following morning in Colorado Springs because of Sandy.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the hurricane “will throw a little bit of havoc” into the Nov. 6 election, “but I think Virginians are ready to go to the polls.” Virginia is one of the swing states both candidates have targeted.
A Washington Post poll shows Obama holding a narrowed lead over Romney in Virginia, 51 percent to 47 percent among likely voters, down from his lead of 52 percent to 44 percent in mid- September. The latest survey, of 1,228 likely Virginia voters, conducted Oct. 22-26, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points and demonstrates how important the last week of campaigning may be for both men.
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