Gallup’s final polling shows the presidential race tied, but Mitt Romney perhaps holding the edge going into election day because he unified the Republican Party a little more effectively than President Obama has rallied the Democratic Party.
“The race is not only close overall, but has Romney and Obama holding equally strong advantages among men and women, respectively, and closely matched among political independents,” Gallup observes today. “This suggests that turnout of partisans could be particularly important in deciding the election, with Romney poised to benefit slightly more if they do, with 96% of Republicans backing him, as compared with Obama’s 93% support from Democrats.”
Gallup also noted that Obama and Romney have the same approval rating (52 percent each), which is pretty remarkable given that the president’s campaign adopted a strategy of disqualifying Romney from the presidency through the Bain attacks and the attempt to portray him as a right-wing extremist.
In fact, Gallup says that “Romney has a slight advantage on being able to work well with both parties to get things done in Washington” — which perhaps accounts for the seven percent of Democrats who don’t have Obama’s back.
That said, Obama’s personal likeability rates higher than Romney. “Despite the two candidates’ equal favorability scores, when Americans are asked who is more likable, Obama wins by 12 points, although this gap has narrowed over the course of the campaign. Obama also holds an eight-point advantage as the candidate better able to handle foreign affairs. Romney scores six and nine points higher than Obama as being better able to handle the economy and the deficit, respectively.
Of course, a Fordham study ranked Gallup 17th out of 23 polling firms in predicting the 2008 presidential election, so who knows. Rasmussen ranked first that year, in a tie with PEW. The latest Gallup poll shows Romney leading 50-49, while Rasmussen has Romney up 49-48 nationally.