As campaign comes to close, Romney argues he has the momentum

Font Size:

FAIRFAX, VA. – Just 20 miles away from the White House on Monday afternoon, Ann Romney knew how to rile up the crowd of northern Virginians at one of the last rallies of the presidential campaign.

“Are we going to be neighbors soon?” she asked in this swing state, getting the response from the juiced-up crowd she anticipated.

The audience inside the gym at the George Mason University Patriot Center roared as they waved small American flags. Women held up signs that read, “Moms for Mitt.”

“There’s as many of you outside as inside right now,” the candidate’s spouse continued, referencing the long lines of supporters who showed up to get a glimpse of the Romneys on Monday.

“That’s the momentum we have been feeling,” she said. “It’s not just in Virginia. It’s all across this country. And that’s what leads me to believe that I’m standing next to the next president of the United States.”

Whether this enthusiasm for Mitt Romney is stronger than the enthusiasm of President Barack Obama’s supporters — and enough to propel Romney to the White House — will only be determined by the results of the most important poll of polls: Tuesday’s election.

Over the last several days, both campaigns intensified their schedules, barnstorming important swing states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado and Wisconsin. On the trail, Obama has been joined by superstar celebrities like John Mellencamp, Stevie Wonder, Dave Mathews and Bruce Springsteen.

As Election Day dawns, national polls show a tight race. Of the five national polls released Monday, two have Romney up one percentage point, one has Obama up three percentage points and two have the race an exact tie. The RealClearPolitics polling average gives Obama the narrowest of edges — 48.8 percent to Romney’s 48.1 percent.

But presidential races aren’t won on the national level; they are won on the state level, where both candidates are racing to secure 270 electoral votes. The race will really be decided by the outcome of, at most, 11 or 12 swing states, where the campaigns have directed their energy and financial resources.

If you went by the RealClearPolitics polling average in each of the swing states, Obama would be on the path to score a big electoral victory, 303 to 235. But Obama’s lead in many of the states is razor thin — well within the margins of error.

And in several states where Obama seems to have a relatively significant lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average – Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, for instance – there is at least one recent poll in each showing Romney tied or in the lead, giving the Romney campaign and its supporters hope that there could be a Tuesday night surprise in a state the Obama campaign had thought was safely theirs not too long ago.

What’s more, many Republicans argue that the polls are over-sampling Democrats. They believe that the enthusiasm is on the Republicans’ side and that turnout will benefit Romney-Ryan on Election Day.

And sure enough, at the Fairfax rally on Monday, Romney was greeted by thousands of energetic supporters. As he approached the podium in front of a large banner promising “Real Change on Day One,” the crowd chanted, “One more day. One more day.”

“Thank you for that welcome,” Romney told the crowd. “I’m overwhelmed.”

“I’m looking around to see if we have the Beatles here or something for once, but it looks like you just came to support the campaign and I appreciate that.”

A police officer at the event said that in its current configuration, the Patriot Center had a capacity of 8,500 people. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Romney supporters were turned away from the event after it reached its capacity.

Romney told the crowd that with just hours before the polls opened on Tuesday, he – not Obama – has the momentum on his side.

“If anyone out there that’s following American politics wants to know where the energy is, just come right here to this room,” Romney said.