WASHINGTON — The presidential race could still swing either way based on how voters view the economy in the next few weeks, prominent Democratic and Republican pollsters told Oklahoma business leaders here on Tuesday.
“Right now you see the two candidates and the two parties rated about equally on jobs,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told members of the State Chamber of Oklahoma, who are in town for their annual Washington briefings.
“We feel that as long as we're equal, we can win this election … If I had one number to give you to watch, it's watch what the ratings are after the combination of the debates and the (monthly) jobs report — watch where the two candidates are in their ratings on the economy.”
Republican pollster Ed Goeas said the race is reminiscent of the 1980 contest, in which Ronald Reagan overtook the incumbent Jimmy Carter in the last weeks after asking Americans if they were better off after four years of the president.
Goeas said Republican nominee Mitt Romney has now begun framing the question to voters as one of whether they could afford four more years of President Barack Obama.
“I believe if the voters walk into the polling place on election day and cannot affirmatively answer ‘Yes, I can afford four more years of Barack Obama,' they are going to vote against him,” Goeas said.
Goeas and Lake conduct the Politico-George Washington University Battleground Poll and offer their own perspectives on the numbers. In the most recent poll, released on Monday, Obama led Romney by two points.