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Election Countdown: Four Days To Go

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Photo by: Scout Tufankjian, OFA

Following a brief ceasefire related to Hurricane Sandy, the campaign for the White House resumed on Thursday. Now, with just four days to go, the campaigns of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama enter their final stages. And though the campaign seems to never end, reducing young children to tears, it's literally just a few hours from being over. How is the race shaping up in its final days? Where are the candidates spending their time, what are the polls saying and what major developments have occurred in the last 24 hours? We try to package the most compelling information below.

The Candidate Schedules:

"The best poll these days," said NBC News Chief Washington Correspondent Chuck Todd, "is actually the candidate's schedule--this is what's telling us everything." Where Romney and Obama spend their time between now and election day gives us a look into what the campaigns are focused on or worried about.

What do their schedules make clear? Ohio remains crucial for both campaigns:

Romney Schedule

  • Yesterday (Nov. 1): Virginia—all day
  • Today (Nov. 2): Wisconsin, Ohio
  • Saturday: Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado
  • Sunday: To be determined
  • Monday: New Hampshire

Obama Schedule

  • Yesterday (Nov. 1): Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado
  • Today (Nov. 2): Ohio—all day
  • Saturday: Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia
  • Sunday: New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Colorado
  • Monday: Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa

The National Polls:

Following the Denver debate, national polling began a sharp shift toward Romney. Today, four days from the election, the average of national polls shows the race is all but tied:

Romney vs. Obama Nationally (via RealClearPolitics.com)

Methodology: Average of 10 polls from 10/22 – 10/31

  • 47.4% - Obama (D)
  • 47.3% - Romney (R)

Advantage: Barely Obama—for all purposes, it’s a tie. 

The State Polls:

In the race to 270 electoral votes, what happens in a handful of crucial swing states is all that truly matters. It's important to remember that the presidential election isn't one large election--it's a series of 50+ elections. What's happening in the critical swing states gives us the best look at what will happen on Nov. 6.

The Projections:

Nov. 6 Forecast (via FiveThirtyEight.com/NYTimes.com)

Methodology: Statistican Nate Silver's forecast model runs simulations of the Electoral College to project the probable outcome of a particular candidate reaching, out of the 538 votes available, the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Silver's model, which was very accurate in 2008, factors in national and state-level polling in addition to economic outlook and demographics.

Projected Electoral College Votes (270 to win):

  • 300.4 – Obama (D)
  • 237.6 – Romney (R)

Projected Chances of Winning:

  • 79.0% - Obama (D)
  • 21.0% - Romney (R)

Projected Popular Vote:

  • 50.5% - Obama (D)
  • 48.6% - Romney (R)

Advantage: Obama...and lots of folks are mad about it.

Other Projections (Some come from rather dubious sources)

Electoral Calculator: Make Your Own Map!

The Latest Campaign Developments:

Bloomberg endorses Obama, with a caveat (via Bloomberg):

I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.

If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing

Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both found success while their parties were out of power in Congress -- and President Obama can, too. If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him.

Anything you think we should add to this election countdown? Tell us in the comments.

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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