The Washington Post

Who will abandon Obama and Romney on Election Day?

Three new Washington Post polls in swing states reveal a positive snapshot for President Obama, who holds leads in Ohio, Florida and Virginia. For most voters, the decision is over: More than eight in 10 of each candidate's supporters say they will "definitely" vote for them. 
 
But, which pieces of the support coalitions for President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney are the shakiest?
 
Obama's weakest foundations include white voters, men and political independents, while Romney faces the most potential defections among moderates and liberals.
 
Fully 97 percent of Obama's African American supporters say they will "definitely" vote for him according to combined September results in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, with just 3 percent saying they could change their mind and support Romney. The number of persuadable voters among jumps to 15 percent among whites and is a similar 14 percent among Hispanics and those of other races. 
Obama hasn't performed as well among men as women across the three states, and those men who currently support him are also less committed. Some 16 percent of Obama's male supporters say they could change their support, compared with 10 percent of women who said the same.
 
Obama's independent supporters are, as expected, much less committed than his fellow partisans. More than one in five of independent Obama supporters say they could switch sides (22 percent), compared with 6 percent of Democrats. 
 
Romney's softest support comes from ideological moderates and liberals. While they make up a distinct minority of his coalition -- about one in four Romney voters in Ohio, Virginia and Florida combined -- they are much more likely to say they could support Obama. More than a quarter of Romney's moderate or liberal supporters say they could change their mind, compared with just 8 percent of Romney's conservative backers. 
While there are significant pockets of indecision in both Obama and Romney's coalition, it's hard to overstate the level of lock-in for voters at this point. Even among those who say they could be persuaded, less than half say there is a "good chance" they'll change their mind, while most say it's "pretty unlikely."
Scott Clement is the polling manager at The Washington Post, specializing in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy.

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