Barack Obama gets poll boost from handling of Superstorm Sandy as US presidential election campaign enters frenetic final days

Experts predict photo-finish in one of the closest elections in American history

Barack Obama has edged ahead of his rival Mitt Romney in the final days of the presidential campaign, as experts predicted a photo-finish to one of the closest elections in American history.

A new poll for the Pew Research Center holds a 48% to 45% lead for Obama over Romney among likely voters.

As the candidates raced across the US in the final frenetic days of campaigning the polls are thought to indicate Obama was helped by his handling of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The poll of 2,709 likely voters, which has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points, indicates a modest lead for Obama - the final estimate based on the figures being Obama at 50% and Romney at 47%.

Last week another Pew poll had the candidates neck-and-neck at 47% among likely voters.

That poll was, however, held before the superstorm battered the East Coast of the US.

The numbers suggest that Obama's handling of the storm may have improved his showing with 69% of likely voters saying they approved of the way Obama dealt with the impact of the storm.

Even among Romney supporters Obama polled 46% in support of his handling of the crisis. The biggest number was, however, 63% among the crucial swing voters.

The findings of the poll are broadly similar to those of the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll that was published this weekend - the two surveys are the first to indicate the possible impact of the storm, which has claimed the lives of 110 people so far, and left thousands without electricity, on the outcome of the election.

The poll news came as Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney fired into the last day of their long presidential contest, mounting a final thrust before Election Day and engaging in the toughest battleground state - Ohio.

The two campaigns' schedules left little doubt where the election would be won or lost: Obama was holding rallies in Wisconsin and Iowa. Romney is in Florida, Virginia and New Hampshire.

The richest prize is Ohio, and today both Obama and Romney were rallying their supporters in its capital, Columbus.

Under the US system, the winner is not determined by the nationwide popular vote but in state-by-state contests, making these nine “battleground” states that are neither consistently Republican nor Democratic extremely important in such a tight race.

Romney and Obama are competing to win at least 270 electoral votes. They are apportioned to states based on a mix of population and representation in Congress.

That raises the possibility of a replay of the 2000 election when Republican George W Bush won the presidency with an electoral vote majority, while Democrat Al Gore had a narrow lead in the nationwide popular vote.

Nationwide it still looked today as though the race could be one of the tightest in US history.

According to Associated Press, if the election was held today Obama would be all but assured of 249 electoral votes, by carrying 20 states that are solidly Democratic or leaning his way — Iowa, Nevada and Pennsylvania among them — and the District of Columbia.

Romney would lay claim to 206, from probable victories in 24 states that are strong Republican turf or tilt toward the Republicans, including North Carolina.

Up for grabs are 83 electoral votes spread across Colorado, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Of those, Republicans and Democrats alike say Obama seems in slightly better shape than Romney in Ohio and Wisconsin, while Romney appears to be performing slightly better than Obama or has pulled even in Florida and Virginia.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'