First, from the Politico Battleground poll, which shows the race tied 47-47:
The potentially more important number is a combination nationally of those who have already voted and those who call themselves “extremely likely” to vote. Romney leads this group by 3 percent, 51 percent to 48 percent.
Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who helps conduct the bipartisan poll, expects that many who say they are likely to vote will not wind up turning out. Among the 80 percent of those surveyed who he believes are most likely to actually vote, Romney leads by 3 points, 51 percent to 48 percent. Among the 70 percent he believes are most likely, Romney leads by 2 points, 51 percent to 49 percent.
Second, maybe polls don’t measure everything:
When an election is close, everything depends on turnout. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have been demonstrating for three years that they are willing to get themselves to the polls to pull the lever for candidates who oppose Barack Obama. Polls famously cannot measure the intangible called intensity.
The president retains the loyalty of his ardent supporters. But only a blinkered partisan could fail to notice that the feverish enthusiasm of 2008 among Democrats — particularly among young voters and women — has flagged. Republicans, by contrast, are burning to fire Obama. They are also proud to support an articulate, experienced, and honorable man who they genuinely believe has what it takes to right a listing nation.