Portman studied the screen. What about those? I asked. Romney’s pollster, Neil Newhouse, has said the race is essentially dead even in the campaign’s internal surveys. But on the screen, there was poll after poll showing the president ahead, if only by a little.

“Most of them that are outside of one or two points either way oversampled Democrats compared to what we expect this year,” Portman answered. “Some of them even oversampled as to what we had in 2008, which no one believes is accurate.”…

In Ohio, with just a few days before the election, there is a bitter fight going on over independent voters. The Romney camp maintains, correctly, that Romney is leading among independents in nearly all state polls. The recent Quinnipiac/New York Times survey, for example, which showed Obama leading overall by five points, also showed Romney winning independents by six.

Team Romney argued that something was wrong with the poll because with both parties about even, independents will decide the race. “Chances are if we win Ohio independents by six, we win the state,” pollster Newhouse said in an email exchange. “Period.”