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Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 11/06/2012

The Obama team, confident until the end

John Heilemann talks to the Obama campaign brain trust and comes away convinced Obama and his advisers are certain they will win a comfortable to resounding victory tonight:

In conversations with an array of top advisers this morning, a clear picture emerged that Chicago believes it has Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire more or less in the bag; that it feels nearly as certain of carrying Ohio; and that Obama is just a tad ahead in Virginia. As for Colorado and Florida, Team Obama believes they are both too close to call, but thinks they could well win both; they are forthrightly pessimistic only about North Carolina among the nine battlegrounds. This could all just be spin, of course — or they could simply be proven wrong. But having known and reported on these people for a solid six years now, my sense of their tone and body language is that their self-assurance is for real.

Having spoken to these folks myself a fair amount over the months, I can report the same thing: The Obama team genuinely believes they will win tonight, perhaps big. It’s worth reiterating, again, that all of the public polling supports this view. That’s particularly true in the state averages, which show Obama with meaningful leads in Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Iowa. Those alone are enough to put Obama well past 270, but he also has the barest of leads in Virginia. Colorado is tight, but Obama is ahead. (Romney’s lead in Florida is within two points, and Romney has a meaningful advantage in North Carolina.)

For a time one could contest the idea that the polls show Obama winning by pointing to the national polls. Despite Obama’s small but durable electoral college lead, Romney was holding what looked like an edge in the national polling averages. That allowed Romney partisans to argue, appropriately, that the state polls may have been wrong while the national polls were getting it right.

But now you can no longer even argue that national polls show Romney ahead; the opposite may be true. Nate Silver:

the most recent set of polls suggest another problem for Mr. Romney, whose momentum in the polls stalled out in mid-October. Instead, it is President Obama who is making gains.
Among 12 national polls published on Monday, Mr. Obama led by an average of 1.6 percentage points. Perhaps more important is the trend in the surveys. On average, Mr. Obama gained 1.5 percentage points from the prior edition of the same polls, improving his standing in nine of the surveys while losing ground in just one.

As for Ohio, I can report that an internal poll taken for Democrats from Thursday through Saturday put Obama up three points in the state, 51-48. That poll also found Sherrod Brown leading Republican Josh Mandel by five, 49-44, so this poll’s findings may be reasonable. And the three point lead for Obama tracks with the Ohio averages.

As always, all the polling could prove to be very, very off, and Romney could be our next president. But right or wrong, the Obama team is genuinely convinced they’re headed for victory tonight, and perhaps even a comfortable one.

By  |  11:42 AM ET, 11/06/2012

 
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