As in Ohio, the latest polling from Virginia reflects the overall closeness of the race nationally. An NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll shows Obama leading Romney by 48 percent to 47 percent in the Old Dominion, where the former Massachusetts governor had seemed to have momentum.
The best news for Romney came from Florida, where polls have shown both candidates in the lead in recent days. A poll from the Times-Union and Insider Advantage shows Romney up by five points in that state, thanks to a strong showing among independents.
Florida is a must-win for Romney: if Obama takes the state, the race is effectively over, analysts said, no matter what happens in other swing states.
The last days of early voting in Florida this past weekend were marked by long lines, a bomb scare, a flurry of lawsuits and general confusion. In Orange County, Fla., a judge extended voting hours on Sunday after a suspicious package — a cooler — shut down an early voting site at the Winter Park Public Library on Saturday.
Democrats filed suit late Saturday to extend the hours. Republicans did not challenge the judge’s decision.
Long lines — created in part by ballots as long as 12 pages (six pages, both sides) — were a big part of the problem elsewhere in the state. The ballot includes 12 candidates for president alone, including comedian Roseanne Barr and her running mate, activist Cindy Sheehan, representing the Peace and Freedom Party.
There are races for school board members and representatives to soil and water conservation districts. There are yes-or-no questions about whether to retain three Florida Supreme Court justices for another six-year term. And there are nearly a dozen proposed amendments — many of them wordy and confusing — to the state’s constitution, covering issues ranging from property taxes to state funding of abortions to whether lawmakers should have the power to spend tax dollars on religious schools.
The lengthy ballots already have exacerbated long early voter lines at some precincts in recent days. And if voters flocking to the polls Tuesday take time to read them thoroughly before making their choices, it could be a long night.
“This is the longest ballot I can remember,” Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark told the Tampa Bay Times. “The voter who sees this ballot the first time may need smelling salts.”
The Florida Democratic Party went to court early Sunday because hundreds of voters in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties were left standing in line when the polls closed Saturday evening.