Fifty states, two candidates and one winner at the end of a contest that began in the summer of 2011
For weeks, Barack Obama’s campaign has had a mantra: “Do the math.” The message here is that, however close the national polls are between the president and Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, surveys in battleground states still give the incumbent sufficient advantage to win the 270 electoral college votes needed to stay in the White House.
That is all that counts, even if he loses the total national vote – which is, at least, a possibility. “Obama is the clear favourite in a markedly close and competitive contest,” says Thomas Mann, a political analyst at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think-tank. “This is largely as a result of the steady lead he has enjoyed in swing states.”
Bron By Jurek Martin and Anna Fifield