A national poll of more than 36,000 voters in 27 states forecasts that Barack Obama will win re-election by two percentage points and 303 electoral college votes to Mitt Romney’s 235.
In what it bills as “one of the most extensive polls ever conducted”, British-based YouGov conducted its survey via the internet between October 31stand November 3rd.
The survey included all the battleground states along with the largest states such as New York, California and Texas.
The figures are much more optimistic for Barack Obama than other polls conducted over the weekend.
ABC/Washington Post, Rasmussen, George Washington University/Politico, and Fox News polls all found the race as tied. NBC/Wall Street Journal gave Barack Obama a one-point advantage.
YouGov projects that Barack Obama will win 18 states comfortably, giving him a base of 237 electoral college votes, 33 short of his target. Mitt Romney is projected to win 24 base states, giving him 191 electoral college votes, 79 short of victory.
There are 110 electoral college votes up for grabs in the remaining nine states, with Barack Obama needing to win just under a third of them and Mitt Romney needing almost three-quarters of them.
But Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, hedged his bets by saying that “while the President looks set for re-election, a Romney victory cannot be ruled out”.
Such an outcome, however, “would need YouGov’s figures – and those of almost all other pollsters – to be systematically wrong”.
YouGov identified the following as sources of possible error: a late swing towards Mitt Romney; different turnout to what the pollsters predicted; inaccurate methodology; or response rates that over-represent Barack Obama’s support.
Peter Kelner said: “We are predicting that Obama is going to hang on to the presidency, but by a smaller margin than in 2008. It’s even possible that Obama will narrowly lose the nationwide popular vote and still win the electoral college.
“Mitt Romney could win one million more votes than Obama across American and still lose the election. There have been elections when the winner of the popular vote has lost the Electoral College, most recently in 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote, but still lost the election to George W Bush.
“In such a tight race, no doubt the Democrats are not only concerned about losing the White House, but are also worried about the cloud that could hang over Obama’s second term if he does not win the popular vote. Whatever happens tomorrow, this will undeniably be an historic election.”
Barack Obama maintains a polling edge in all-important Ohio with a 2.8% lead in the RealClearPolitics average. Mitt Romney leads by 1.4% and 0.3% in Florida and Virginia respectively – two swing states he must win if he is to oust Barack 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, Mitt Romney’s political director, told Fox News on Sunday: “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.”