On Sunday, it appeared that Romney’s task was getting a little harder.
A pair of national polls seemed to show that it was Obama who had a bit of momentum in the race’s last weekend. A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed the president at 49 percent to Romney’s 48 percent. The tracking poll has had both candidates locked within a narrow band for weeks, although Romney held a brief three-point edge in late October.
Another poll, released Sunday by the Pew Research Center, found Obama with a three-point lead nationwide among likely voters, 48 percent to 45 percent. A week ago, the same poll had the two candidates tied.
The Pew poll found that Hurricane Sandy may have given Obama a boost: Sixty-nine percent of likely voters approved of the president’s handling of the storm.
Meanwhile, a poll late Sunday by CNN showed the race deadlocked at 49 percent.
Beyond the polls, data on early voting seemed to show Democrats with an edge in several key states, although not as wide as the advantages Obama held four years ago.
Nonetheless, Romney and his aides said they were confident of victory. The Republican made a striking gesture of that confidence by visiting Pennsylvania, a state long assumed to be in Obama’s column and one that has not voted for a GOP presidential candidate in more than two decades. A top aide, Ed Gillespie, said Romney has “expanded” the map of this election and expects to compete in the Keystone State.
Taking the stage to the “Rocky” theme before a crowd of about 30,000 in Morrisville, Romney declared that “this audience and your voices are being heard all across the nation. . . . We’re taking back the White House, because we’re going to win Pennsylvania!”
The night was so cold that, after Romney was an hour late because of air-traffic delays, people became too chilly and demanded to be let out. Authorities lifted the security fences, and scores filed out while the candidate spoke.
On Sunday, the two campaigns held 14 events in eight states, including six in the battleground of all battlegrounds, Ohio. At one point, the two sides got close enough to see each other: As Air Force Two prepared to take off from the Cleveland airport on Sunday afternoon, Vice President Biden spotted Romney’s campaign plane across the tarmac.
For both candidates, it was a day of big crowds — and final goodbyes.
In the morning, Obama visited New Hampshire for the seventh time during the general-election season after campaigning here extensively four years ago. This, presumably, was his last visit as a candidate. He spoke to a crowd of 14,000 in Concord, the state capital, with former president Bill Clinton.