(Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
With the presidential race about even, arguments can be made in favor of either President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney winning. Here are the reasons each side says their candidate will win.
3 Reasons Obama Will Win
1) He is Leading in Ohio
On the electoral college map, all roads lead to Ohio. If Romney loses Ohio, his possible paths to victory become much narrower.
Assuming Romney is able to win Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia, he would only have 261 of the 270 electors needed to win. Without Ohio, he would have to win either Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, all three of which have not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since the 1980s.
The current Real Clear Politics average of recent polls in Ohio has Obama leading by 2.8 percentage points.
2) Most Election Predictors Say So
Most of those who specialize in predicting the outcome of elections believe Obama will win.
Political scientist Josh Putnam, who blogs at Frontloading HQ, predicts 332 electors for Obama and 206 for Romney. Nate Silver, an election forecastor for The New York Times, believes Obama has an 85.1 percent chance of winning with about 307 electors. And, the Princeton Election Consortium, managed by Sam Wang, a specialist in biophysics and neuroscience, expects Obama to win with about 318 electors. (Some of these may change before Election Day.)
Additionally, Intrade, which predicts outcomes through a market where people place bets on the outcome, currently predicts a 65.9 percent chance that Obama will be re-elected.
3) Hurricane Sandy Helped
One of the advantages of being the incumbent is that one can gain favor in the public's eye by responding to crises. A new Pew Research Center poll suggests that Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy has helped his image in the week before the election.
In an October 24-28 poll just before Hurricane Sandy hit shore, Pew Research had the race tied, 47-47. In a Wednesday through Saturday poll taken just after the Hurricane, Obama is leading by three percentage points.
Further, 69 percent of likely voters, and 63 percent of swing voters, in the second poll said they approved of the way Obama was handling the storm's impact.
3 Reasons Romney Will Win
1) He is Leading Among Independents
Contrary to conventional wisdom, independent voters do not usually determine the winner. In a close race, though, they could tip the scale, and this race is close.
Most recent polls show Romney performs better than Obama among independents. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday shows Romney leading Obama by seven percentage points, 47-40, among independents. Plus, a recent Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll shows Romney leading among independents in the important swing states of Florida (49 to 44 percent), Ohio (49 to 43 percent), and Virginia (57 to 36 percent).
2) His Supporters are More Enthusiastic
Unlike when Obama was elected in 2008, the enthusiasm gap favors Republicans this year. The Pew poll shows Romney leading on all three measures of enthusiasm. His supporters were more likely to have given a lot of thought to the election (87 to 79 percent), followed the campaign closely (61 to 54 percent), and say they definitely plan to vote (92 to 86 percent).
The Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll also shows Republicans more enthusiastic than Democrats in Florida (63 to 47 percent), Ohio (57 to 43 percent), and Virginia (56 to 49 percent).
3) Voters Prefer Him on the Economy
When voters are asked which issue they care about the most, they cite the economy and job creation. Plus, most voters believe Romney would be better on these issues than Obama.
According to the NBC/WSJ poll, a plurality of voters, 47 percent, believe that Romney is "better prepared to create jobs and improve the economy over the next four years." Only 42 percent said Obama would do better on jobs and the economy.