By Jonathan Easley - 11/06/12 07:46 PM EST
The founder of polling outlet Rasmussen Reports, Scott Rasmussen, says the presidential race is too close to call.
The final Rasmussen daily tracking poll showed Mitt Romney taking 49 percent support over President Obama at 48 percent. The candidates enter Election Day in a statistical tie, according to most national polls, with the race for the White House coming down to a handful of swing states.
Rasmussen was the focal point in a controversy earlier in the cycle when the Romney campaign and other Republicans said polls showing Obama with a significant lead over their candidate were inaccurate. They argued many mainstream polls skewed in Obama’s favor because of sample sizes that base 2012 turnout projections on 2008, when Democrats — and Hispanics, blacks and young voters in particular — turned out in record numbers.
One website, www.unskewedpolls.com, began re-weighting the mainstream polls to closer track the demographic assumptions of Rasmussen’s conservative polling outlet.
“The partisan makeup of a poll is the most important determinate,” Rasmussen continued. “Our own numbers, compared to four years ago when the Democrats had a 7-point advantage, we are showing D-plus 2 today. That means Republicans have 5-point pickup from four years. I think if a state poll is showing similar partisan breakdowns from four years ago, it's probably tilting in the president's direction. But we don't know how much of the Republican enthusiasm will translate into more voters at the polls.”
Most polls show Obama with a slight edge in the battleground states that will determine the winner of the Electoral College. However, polling analysts have pointed to other data they say could render the top lines of the state polls useless.
For instance, many of the polls that show Obama leading overall also show Romney with a lead among independents. Conservatives argue that if Romney wins independents, he’ll win the election.
Romney also leads on some of the election’s most important issues, like who is better equipped to manage the economy, and the GOP believes it has the edge in enthusiasm. Conservatives have also seized on data from Gallup that suggests Republicans will have a party identification advantage. Democrats have had the party identification advantage in nine out of the last 10 elections.
“This race hasn't changed much,” Rasmussen continued. “It's about the economy. People aren't feeling better off than they were two years ago, but they aren't feeling worse off. The president's job-approval rating reflects that. He's likely to get just under 50 percent of the vote. Rasmussen Reports [has] eight states in the swing state category and they haven't changed all that much during year. When you see these races being very, very close, if you are underestimating the Republican enthusiasm, that means the numbers will be closer to Gallup's projection of the partisan makeup and that's good news for Mitt Romney. If we are overestimating Republican enthusiasm, it's good news for Barack Obama. Our numbers show it's too close to call.”