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Americans Still Give Obama Better Odds to Win Election

Americans Still Give Obama Better Odds to Win Election

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A majority of Americans continue to believe that Democratic President Barack Obama will win re-election Tuesday over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, by 54% to 34%. These views are roughly similar to where they were in May and August, although slightly more Americans now do not have an opinion either way.

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These results are based on interviews conducted from Oct. 27-28 as part of the Gallup Daily election tracking survey, conducted before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. It is unknown what effect the storm will have on Americans' voting preferences or the impact of the storm on Americans' perceptions of who is most likely to win the election.

The majority of Americans continue to project an Obama win on Nov. 6. This is the case even though the general perception is the race is highly competitive and the outcome still very much in doubt. National polls generally show a tight race with many, including Gallup, giving Romney an edge. State-level polls suggest Obama doing slightly better in key battleground states that will decide the Electoral College winner.

More generally, Americans may believe the incumbent has a natural advantage when competing for a new term. In three separate polls conducted over the 2004 presidential election, voters twice viewed incumbent George W. Bush as the probable winner, including 56% who said so the final time Gallup asked the question before the election. In 1996, an overwhelming majority (69%) saw incumbent Bill Clinton as more likely to prevail than his opponent Robert Dole (24%).

Democrats Most Likely to Predict Obama Victory; Republicans Least Likely

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of partisans predict their respective candidates will win the election. Democrats are relatively more confident in their party's nominee, with 86% predicting an Obama victory and 8% projecting Romney. By contrast, 71% of Republicans predict Romney will win, while nearly a fifth of Republicans see their candidate losing to Obama. Despite evenly divided presidential vote preferences, independents predict Obama to win, 52% to 32%.

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Americans Generally Have Been Accurate at Predicting the Winner

Americans have a good track record regarding their collective prediction of the outcome of presidential elections, correctly predicting the winner of the popular vote in final Gallup surveys taken in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. Although Americans are not as optimistic on Obama's odds as various "prediction markets," such as, where the president has often been projected as having a probability of winning of more than 60%, the prediction markets and the American public in general find Obama the favorite against Romney. The 2012 presidential election outcome will help determine how accurate Americans are in their personal predictions.

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Though it has been a long campaign season with various twists and turns, Americans by a clear margin still predict that Obama will win re-election. This in the face of presidential preference polling that has consistently demonstrated a close race. The apparent inconsistency may be the result of Obama's status as the incumbent and reflects a somewhat lower level of confidence among Republicans that their candidate will win.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 27-28, 2012, on the Gallup Daily election tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,063 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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