After a few weeks spent tracking down and questioning pollsters and the reporters of polls, I can assure the reader that pollsters are the modern-day alchemists. They promise to turn numbers into predictive gold. We'd all like to believe these magical powers exist, but we shouldn't. The pollsters of 2012 just don't know who is going to win in November any more than did the pollsters of 1980 know that Ronald Reagan was headed towards a landslide in that late-breaking year.
“One of the most interesting things about this race is that while it’s close, most voters expect Obama to win,” says UConn poll director Jennifer Necci Dineen, a faculty member in the university’s Department of Public Policy. Fifty-two percent say Obama will win, while just 27 percent are confident that Romney will prevail. That perception can actually shape turnout, Dineen says. “That’s the X factor for Obama right now,” she says. “If Democrats can convince voters that Obama’s re-election is inevitable, Republicans who are less enthusiastic about Romney are more likely to stay home on Election Day.”
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