Obama, Romney focus on swing states in late campaigning

Mon Nov 5, 2012 11:40pm GMT

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made their final urgent pleas to voters on Monday in a closing sprint through vital battleground states that will determine who wins their agonizingly close race for the White House.

Both candidates sought to whip up strong turnout from supporters and to sway independent voters to their side in the last hours of a race that polls showed was deadlocked nationally. Obama had a slight lead in the eight or nine battleground states that will decide the race on Tuesday's Election Day.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos national poll of likely voters, a daily tracking poll, gave Obama a slight edge, with 48 percent support compared to Romney's 46 percent. The difference was within the 3.4 percentage point credibility interval, which allows for statistical variation in Internet-based polls.

The president, with a final day itinerary that included stops in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, urged voters to stick with him.

The Democratic incumbent, appearing in Madison, Wisconsin, drew a large crowd that was warmed up by Bruce Springsteen and reprised the main theme of the campaign: who can do a better job on the economy.

"This should not be that complicated," Obama said. "We tried our ideas; they worked. The economy grew. We created jobs. Deficits went down. We tried their ideas; they didn't work. The economy didn't grow, not as many jobs, and the deficit went up."

Romney's final day included stops in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire. In Lynchburg, Virginia, he told supporters: "One final push is going to get us there."

To supporters in Sanford, Florida, Romney said: "If you believe we can do better, if you believe America should be on a better course, if you're tired of being tired, then I ask you to vote for real change."   Continued...

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at an election campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, November 5, 2012, on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections. REUTERS/Jason Reed
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