Sabato predicts Obama will top Romney

Center for Politics delivers latest Crystal Ball report, predicts close race

President Barack Obama will win his second term Tuesday if he can snag key swing states Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada and Wisconsin, according to Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato’s most recent Crystal Ball prediction.

According to Sabato’s most recent analysis, the Democratic incumbent will garner 290 electoral votes on Election Day. The report comes on the heel’s of the center’s predictions Thursday judging the presidential race too close to call.

The center’s final electoral college prediction for Republican challenger Mitt Romney is 248.

Several national polls maintain the race is a dead heat. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published Monday morning suggests Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 47 percent with a margin of error of 2.55 percent. The margin is a difference of seven voters when surveying a pool of 1,475.

Virginia’s numbers in a Friday Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll matched national numbers exactly, with an error margin of 2.6 percent..

Friday’s job report helped solidify the center’s prediction, Center for Politics spokesperson Kyle Kondik said.

“The unemployment rate did not go above 8 percent,” Kondik said. “[The report] turned out to be fairly decent, so that may give Obama a boost.”

The final outcome of the election could also be affected by last week’s hurricane, Kondik said. “It gave President Obama a national platform to be a sort of ‘comforter in chief,’” Kondik said. “It took the attention off of the campaign and therefore off of the challenger Mitt Romney.”

Nevada, a historic swing state, has been declared for the president, Kondik said, because of early voting and the fact that registration is done by party. “Over two-thirds of likely voters have voted [in Nevada],” Kondik said. “The lead the Democrats have built up is too big for Romney to come back.”

The center’s final predictions say Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia are toss-ups. The organization predicted Obama would win New Hampshire and Colorado and Romney would win Virginia.

The Crystal Ball has been a highly accurate source for election predictions, boasting 99 percent accuracy in state, senate, and electoral college numbers in the 2004 election.

Kondik said the Crystal Ball will post a follow-up Thursday regardless of the race’s outcome. “We will recap our own performance and talk about the election,” Kondik said.

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