Conflicted Voters Consider Closing Arguments

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to a crowd at Shawnee State University, Oct. 13, 2012 in Portsmouth, Ohio. President Barack Obama speaks during at a campaign rally, May 5, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia.

Another Friday, another jobs report and another opportunity to ask whether today's news that the economy added 171,000 new jobs while the unemployment ticked up to 7.9 percent matter all that much heading into Election Day -- now just four short days off.

Voters appear divided -- and in some cases, conflicted -- about which of the presidential candidates would lead the country toward economic recovery.

According to last night's ABC News-Washington post tracking poll, 54 percent of likely voters expressed at least some confidence the economy would improve under Mitt Romney compared to 47 percent who said the same is President Obama wins re-election.

But as ABC pollster Gary Langer notes, "far fewer in either case are 'very' confident of economic gains -- 19 percent if Romney wins, 21 percent if it's Obama -- hardly a rousing endorsement of either."

What's more: Only 36 percent of likely voters say the president is chiefly responsible for the country's current economic troubles, and many more -- 51 percent -- instead blame President George W. Bush. As our ABC News poll has indicated for weeks, the race could not be tighter: 49 percent of likely voters back Obama, while 48 percent support Romney.

Get more pure politics at ABCNews.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

On the campaign trail, Romney will deliver a speech that will lay out the closing arguments for his candidacy at Products Pavilion at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisc. today. He previewed his message in a CNN.com Op-Ed this morning.

"I am offering a contrast to what we are seeing in Washington today," Romney wrote. "We've watched as one party has pushed through its agenda without compromising with the other party. We've watched gridlock and petty conflict dominate while the most important issues confronting the nation, like chronic high unemployment, go un-addressed. The bickering has to end. I will end it." (President Obama also penned an Op-Ed for CNN.com laying out his vision for the next four years)

Meanwhile, President Obama focuses on Ohio, campaigning at three separate events in Hilliard, Springfield and Lima. And that's a good indication of where the Obama campaign sees that the race for the Buckeye State will either be won or lost: In the northwest corner from Toledo to Lima, a swath of counties that were split between Obama and McCain four years ago, as well as Franklin County where Obama won overwhelmingly in 2008.

"They're scared," a Romney campaign aide said of the political geography of Obama's stops today. "They know they're going to lose areas like coal country and they're desperately trying to fix the problems that have been mounting in military areas."

Keep an eye on ABC News.com for our next ABC News-Washington Post tracking poll at 5p.m. today

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