Early voting is not as positive for Obama as it was in 2008: This is the last point, but a huge one. Take this quotation, from CNN today: “Four years ago, Democrats made up about 42 percent of the early and absentee vote while Republicans made up 22 percent. Through Wednesday, however, the margin has narrowed: Democrats account for 36 percent of the early and absentee vote while Republicans make up for 29 percent.” The current polls have been seriously inflated for Democrats because they’re reporting Obama with 30+ percent leads in early voting (which is then automatically counted in “likely voter” samples), which seems to be vastly overestimating the Democratic advantage among these voters. As CNN explains, Romney is making huge gains from 2008.
Obama won in 2008 largely because of a healthy lead among independents and a highly enthusiastic base’s turning out votes. Right now Romney is leading big with independents, has a more enthusiastic base, and is drawing crowds in Ohio that rival Obama’s. While he is down 2.5 points in the polls, the average poll is assuming 2008 turnout which is unlikely to repeat itself this year. Adding the fact that early voting is trending more Republican than in 2008, there is a lot of reason for optimism that this race is much closer than the current polls suggest. Not bad for a candidate who was declared dead in the state just a few weeks ago.