On Election Eve, The Final Countdown Begins (The Note)

Morry Gash/AP Photo; David Goldman/AP Photo

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ) and AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter )


  • ROMNEY'S MOMENTUM: ABC's David Muir reports for "Good Morning America" that Mitt Romney is drawing large crowds and looking to broaden his path to 270 electoral votes by campaigning in Pennsylvania. The campaign says it sees momentum among independent swing voters in the suburbs outside Philadelphia, and that President Obama's polling lead in Ohio is overstated, and that Romney's ground game is well ahead of John McCain's in 2008. Without Ohio, Romney would need a near sweep of the battlegrounds. WATCH Muir's "Good Morning America" report: http://abcn.ws/SNlXQp
  • OBAMA'S CLOSING ARGUMENT: ABC's Jake Tapper reports for "Good Morning America" that President Obama will get some help from Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z on the campaign trail today as he travels to Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa making his final argument to undecided voters: that he's the same idealistic, bipartisan candidate he was four years ago. WATCH Tapper's "Good Morning America" report: http://abcn.ws/XdqVsc
  • THE EARLY VOTE - WHERE THINGS STAND: From ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield: This weekend marked the end of in-person early voting in the majority of key battleground states. Early voting sites remain open in the key Midwestern states of Iowa and Ohio, as well as in a handful of counties in Florida. But the doors have closed for early in-person voters in Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, Wisconsin and most of Florida, although not without some drama in the Sunshine state. More than 29.8 million ballots have already been cast via early and absentee voting, with the early vote expected to make up about 35 percent of the total votes cast - an increase from 2008, when 30 percent of the vote was cast before Election Day. Republicans and Democrats claim to be winning the early vote, and they both stand on solid ground from which to back up their assertions. In short, Democrats have the numerical advantage in the vote count. In all but one key battleground state - Colorado - registered Democrats have cast more ballots than registered Republicans (Republicans have a slight edge in Colorado). But Republicans have made much bigger gains in getting out the early vote since 2008 than their Democratic opponents. http://abcn.ws/RDLuJA
  • ABC-POST POLL - LEADERSHIP RATINGS HELP OBAMA: ABC' News Pollster Gary Langer writes: There's no clear evidence that Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy has directly helped him; while he holds a 10-point lead over Romney in trust to handle a major crisis, 52-42 percent, that's the same as it was earlier this fall, long before the storm struck. Still, Obama has improved in a related gauge: This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that he now leads Romney by 6 percentage points among likely voters, 50-44 percent, in being seen as the stronger leader. That re-establishes an edge for Obama that Romney had reeled in to a non-significant 2 points after the first presidential debate. http://abcn.ws/VLYc8R
  • HANG OUT WITH ABC NEWS TOMORROW: On Election Day, ABC News is teaming up with Google for Google+ Hangouts with voters from all 50 states. In order to be a part of the hangouts, participants will need a webcam and a fast Internet connection. Interested in being a part of our coverage tomorrow? Let us know who you are here: http://bit.ly/U2TQZQ
  • COUNTDOWN TO ELECTION DAY: There is 1 day to go until Nov. 6, 2012. Here are the ABC News battleground state rankings: http://bitly.com/TU77sc


In this razor-thin presidential race, everyone has a theory about where things will end up on Election Day - with some even predicting control of the White House won't even be settled by the time we go to sleep tomorrow night.

The Obama campaign points to the president's lead over Mitt Romney in many of the key swing states as evidence that finding a way to the magic number - 270 Electoral Votes - based on the current map is still a tougher slog for the Republican challenger than for the incumbent.

Tune in to ABCNews.com on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for livestreaming coverage of Election 2012. Our Election Day show kicks off at noon, and the Election Night event begins at 7 p.m.

But today, the last marathon day of the 2012 election cycle, indications about the tightness of the race are everywhere. In our own ABC News-Washington Post tracking poll out last night the contest between the two presidential contenders remains deadlocked, with 49 percent support for Obama among likely voters compared to 48 percent for Romney.

"That brings it down to turnout (in an election in which 27 percent of likely voters say in fact they've already voted) and there Obama has a potential advantage," notes ABC News pollster Gary Langer. "He holds a 7-point lead over Romney in the share of his supporters who say they're very enthusiastic about their choice - 69 percent of Obama's backers, 62 percent of Romney's." http://abcn.ws/VLYc8R

And look at a state like Virginia where an NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist poll out this morning found Obama ahead by just 1 percentage point (within the margin of error), 48 percent to 47 percent over Romney.

Meanwhile, ABC's David Muir highlights a crystal ball column on CNN.com by Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, in which he predicts a Romney win:

"Late polls in 1980 gave Ronald Reagan only a 2 percent to 3 percent lead over Jimmy Carter. Reagan ended up winning by nearly 10 percent. For the same reason, I would expect this campaign's final public opinion polls and exit polls this Tuesday to under-report the Republican vote by a handful of points." http://bitly.com/YGvtpp

And ABC's Jonathan Karl starts us off on Election Eve with a startling thought - was this entire race much ado about nothing?

Karl notes that in an interview with MSNBC veteran political prognosticator Charlie Cook made the following prediction:

-Barack Obama will be re-elected President

-53 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the newly elected Senate

-240 Republicans and 195 Democrats in the House

Now consider that the current political breakdown is this:

-Barack Obama is the President

-53 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the Senate

-240 Republicans, 190 Democrats and 5 vacant seats in the House

In other words, Karl observes, after a multi-billion dollar campaign it is quite possible that nothing at all will have changed in the national political lineup. Nothing.


The Note's virtual political roundtable:

ABC's RICK KLEIN: A tight race doesn't necessarily mean a close race. Yes, the polls have the candidates operating inside margins of error going into the last 24 hours of the campaign. But both campaigns' underlying confidence is based at least in part on those polls being off in a major way. Among the many splits in the nation now is this fundamentally distinct view of the electorates. If one side or the other is right about who votes, there's enough room to see the close states tipping in the same direction - confidence ultimately justified on one side, and shattered on the other.

WHAT THE FINAL CAMPAIGN STOPS TELL US. ABC News Political Director Amy Walter notes: Obama and Biden are making 18 stops across seven states-Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Florida. Romney and Ryan, meanwhile, are making 24 stops across 10 states - New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, Minnesota, Nevada, and Wisconsin. The fact that Team Romney is making forays into Pennsylvania and Minnesota suggests that they are not particularly confident that they can get to 270 electoral votes if the playing field is restricted to the eight battleground states where this campaign has been waged for the last six months. http://abcn.ws/SGMuhn


From a Friend Of The Note: A Washington, DC-based political operative (and aspiring meteorologist) sees "nearly-ideal voting conditions in major swing-state cities, according to Weather.com":

Columbus: Mostly sunny, chance of PM showers (50 high/38 low)

Denver: Sunny (69 high/47 low)

Des Moines: Partly cloudy, chance of rain 20 percent (56 high/34 low)

Green Bay: Chance of rain/snow showers 60 percent (39 high/32 low)

Richmond: Partly cloudy (53 high/38 low)


with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)

ABC/YAHOO! VIDEO: ALL EYES ON OHIO. In the latest installment of "Political Punch," ABC's Jake Tapper reports that Ohio is a must-win state for both President Obama and Mitt Romney-and that it has been drenched with more than 200,000 political ads, 16,000 more of them supporting Obama. Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Paul Kostyu tells us what to watch for in key counties and regions on Election Night. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/SNzoNH

BOTH CANDIDATES BELIEVE THEY CAN WIN. ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd, Donna Brazille, and Nicolle Wallace break down the election map on "Good Morning America." Dowd says: "Both sides are convinced they're gonna win. … They both believe it's all about turnout." WATCH: http://abcn.ws/YuSOv2

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: BATTLEGROUND BLITZ. As the candidates make their last-ditch swing through battleground states, ABC's Gregory J. Krieg reports: The candidates will spend the final 24 hours of this long presidential race bouncing around the country, rallying supporters at 14 scheduled events across nine battleground states. President Obama is set to hit urban centers in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, with Bruce Springsteen tagging along as his opening act. Jay-Z is scheduled to join the campaign at a mid-afternoon gathering in Ohio. Like the president, Mitt Romney will make one last play for the state, arriving in Columbus four hours after Obama leaves for Iowa. It will be the Republican's third stop in a day that sees him track north from Florida - where the wait to register an early vote this weekend lasted as long as six hours - to Virginia, ending the night with one last rally in New Hampshire. http://abcn.ws/VNCvW4

WHERE WE WERE ON ELECTION DAY 2008. From ABC's Susanna Kim: In 2008 the economy was in a tailspin. Today, most economists say it is making a slow recovery - too slow, the Obama and Romney campaigns agree. The unemployment rate in October 2008 was 6.8 percent, with about 10 million unemployed people. Today, the U.S. unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. While the labor market has improved better than expectations recently, 12.3 million people remain unemployed. "At the time of that election, if you were knowledgeable about the economy, you didn't know what the bottom was going to look like," said Gary Burtless, an economist with the Brookings Institution. http://abcn.ws/UtT34v

OBAMA HECKLED BY ABORTION PROTESTER. President Obama was interrupted minutes into a rally in Ohio Sunday night, ABC's Mary Bruce reports from Cincinnati: The anti-abortion protester held up a cardboard sign that read "this moral wrong should never be a constitutional right." The sign included some grisly medical photographs. The older, grey-haired man, who was holding the sign upside down, shouted persistently from the upper balcony of the University of Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena in what sounded like a full-throated holler. The enthusiastic crowd of 13,500 responded quickly, drowning out the heckler with deafening chants of "four more years!" "It's okay… It's okay," the president said in response. http://abcn.ws/TEBDFo

PORTMAN CUTS RADIO AD FOR ROMNEY. The Romney campaign released a new radio ad for Ohio this morning, featuring Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who was one of Romney's final three choices for running mate. In it, Portmant syas: "We're down to the final days of this campaign, and we've got a choice to make. I'm supporting Mitt Romney, because he's got the vision, the leadership, and a practical economic plan to solve the many challenges we face. With Mitt Romney as our president, we'll work together for North American energy independence, job creation, and economic growth here in Ohio." LISTEN: http://mi.tt/TsnAOS

RYAN: OBAMA COMPROMISES JUDEO-CHRISTIAN, WESTERN VALUES. Paul Ryan held a conference call with evangelical voters on Sunday evening, ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Castle Rock, Colo.: Evangelical leader Ralph Reed's influential group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition hosted the call and Reed said "tens of thousands" of Evangelical Christians were listening in. … "It's a dangerous path," Ryan said on his opening remarks on the call, which has been rescheduled at least once. "It's a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, western civilization values that made us such a great an exceptional nation in the first place." http://abcn.ws/UbvdQe

ROMNEY STARTS WHIRLWIND TOUR IN IOWA. ABC's Emily Friedman reports from Des Moines, Iowa: Mitt Romney made his final stop in the battleground state of Iowa today, on a day that will take him to Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania before midnight. He had visited Iowa even before announcing his candidacy last June, and this was his twenty-first campaign event in Iowa this year alone. Romney made his final argument for voters to come to the polls for him, stressing the importance of the state on Election Day. "This is much more than our moment. It's America's moment of renewal and purpose and optimism," said Romney. "We've journeyed far and wide in this great campaign for America's future, and now we're almost home. One final push will get us there. We've known many long days and short nights, and now we're close." http://abcn.ws/SGg9Hm

ROMNEY MAKES HIS LAST PUSH IN PENNSYLVANIA. As the Romney campaign tries to expand its map in the final stretch, ABC's Emily Friedman reports from Morrisville, Pa.: With just more than 24 hours until voters can head to the polls here in Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney made a last minute stop here, drawing tens of thousands to a rally that his campaign hopes will push him to a win in a state they now see as an opportunity this Tuesday. "This audience and your voices are being heard all over the nation," said Romney. "They're being heard in my heart. The people of America understand we're taking back the White House because we're going to win Pennsylvania!" This is only Romney's fourteenth trip to a state that, before this campaign cycle, was traditionally hotly contested turf. http://abcn.ws/WoiF9z

FLORIDA EARLY-VOTE CONFUSION. The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei, Amy Sherman, and Kathleen McGrory report: "Call it the debacle in Doral. Elections officials, overwhelmed with voters, locked the doors to their Doral headquarters and temporarily shut down the operation, angering nearly 200 voters standing in line outside-only to resume the proceedings an hour later. On the surface, officials blamed technical equipment and a lack of staff for the shutdown. But behind the scenes, there was another issue: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The Republican had never signed off on the additional in-person absentee voting hours in the first place. … But Gimenez, who is in a nonpartisan post, quickly realized it was better to let the voting go on, and the voting resumed." http://hrld.us/UahxoO

BIDEN PREDICTS OHIO WILL WIN IT FOR OBAMA. That's what happened in 2008, and the VP says it will again, ABC's Arlette Saenz reports from Lancaster, Ohio: Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up his campaigning in Ohio Sunday night, telling a crowd packed into the gymnasium at Rushville Middle School that Ohio will tip this election in President Obama's favor Tuesday night. "Folks you've been incredibly patient. 48 more hours and it will be all she wrote. We'll know what's going on, and we're going to be able to declare because of Ohio that we have won the election in 48 hours," Biden said to applause from the crowd. In an interview Sunday afternoon, Biden predicted the Obama-Biden ticket would have a decisive victory in the electoral college with the help of their firewall of states in the Midwest-Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. http://abcn.ws/U39a8s

RYAN STUMPS IN MINNESOTA. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Minneapolis: Paul Ryan was greeted at an airplane hangar here by one of the largest crowds he has drawn on his own since joining the campaign. Hopping off the plane with his family and walking down a long runway - while his kids ran - he seemed genuinely surprised by the audience. The campaign put the crowd at 6,500, including the people who couldn't fit inside. "I've got a question: Minnesota, are you going to help us win this election?," Ryan asked the crowd, which was strikingly different from other recent audiences in both size and enthusiasm. "Man, I've got to say, I'm a Wisconsin guy, basically like your next door neighbor." This was Ryan's first rally in Minnesota, though he has had a fundraiser here and last week he and his wife crossed the border from Wisconsin to have dinner in the Twin Cities. http://abcn.ws/SGORkl

BIDEN CALLS ROMNEY 'SHAMELESS.' ABC's Arlette Saenz reports from Lakewood, Ohio: Kicking off his last day campaigning in Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden made his final sales pitch to Buckeye State voters, telling them President Obama is the candidate they can trust. "My guy Barack Obama has character," Biden told a crowd of 1,200 at Lakewood High School. "And that cannot be said of Governor Romney…The American people, where I come from, like here, they're asking themselves with 48 hours to go, who can I trust? Who will stand up for me? Who will level with me? Who will help the middle class? Well, it's clear in the last hour of this campaign, Romney and Ryan and have become desperate. Romney will say anything to win." "Why would they be having the policies they have?" Biden asked as a man in the crowd shouted, "They're shameless!" http://abcn.ws/Ut4LMK

RYAN CAMPAIGNS AT LAMBEAU FIELD. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports from Green Bay, Wis.: The Green Bay Packers take on their NFC rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, today, and Ryan and his family were joined by Romney sons Josh and Matt as well as four Romney grandchildren to greet Packer fans, who are also voters in this now-crucial battleground state. Two days from Election Day, Ryan, wearing a Green Bay Packers jacket and tie, and the kids, dressed in cheese heads, played a game of corn hole and greeted fans in a sea of green and gold. They were also joined by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ron Johnson, who joined in on the game. http://abcn.ws/Vr2HKu

OBAMA JOKES HE'S JUST A 'PROP' FOR VOTERS. ABC's Mary Bruce reports from Concord, N.H.: President Obama kicked off his final 48-hour push to the finish line this morning in New Hampshire, telling a chilly but enthusiastic crowd of 14,000 that at this stage in the campaign he's just "sort of a prop in the campaign." "It's now up to you," he said at his last rally in the Granite State, where he was once again joined by former President Bill Clinton. "That's how a democracy works, right? That ultimately, it's up to you. You have the power. You are shaping the decisions for this country for decades to come. Right now. In the next two days." http://abcn.ws/UacLHR

STEVIE WONDER ROCKS OHIO RALLY. President Obama got some help on the campaign trail from Stevie Wonder in 2008, and ABC's Mary Bruce reports from Cincinnati that he did again yesterday: President Obama often exits the stage at the end of his campaign rallies to the recordings of Motown legend Stevie Wonder. Tonight, he did it to the real thing. As Obama wrapped his rally in Cincinnati, his third of four campaign events today, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" blasted through the University of Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena. The president started to wave to the enthusiastic crowd and then did a double take. There, off to the side of the stage, was Stevie Wonder, belting out his classic tune. Obama walked back up to the mic and announced, "Stevie Wonder," although he could barely be heard above the impromptu concert. The president swayed back and forth and enjoyed the music briefly before getting to work, shaking hands and posing for pictures. http://abcn.ws/UbvmmM


?@DianeSawyer : As many as 40% of Americans predicted to #vote early. RT if you did

@feliciasonmez : Rick Scott takes stage at Romney rally. Rare appearance by FL gov at event for GOP ticket

@seanspicer : New radio ad out from @MittRomney "Focus," Please See: http://mi.tt/TsnAOS

@BenLaBolt : Portsmouth Herald A1: Dems make final push, 14K for Obama in Concord http://bit.ly/UtU7VS

@SalenaZitoTrib : "What did we, as Democrats, do to lose the confidence of so many voters?" The question suburban & bluecollar voters never heard from Obama


-President Obama begins his day in Madison, Wisconsin where he holds a rally with Bruce Springsteen. He heads to Columbus, Ohio this afternoon and concludes his day with a rally in Des Moines, Iowa before heading to Chicago.

-Mitt Romney campaigns in four states, holding events in Sanford, Florida, Lynchburg and Fairfax, Va., Columbus, Ohio and Manchester, N.H. before heading to his home in Belmont, Mass.

-Vice President Joe Biden focuses on Virginia, campaigning in Richmond and Sterling, Va.

-Paul Ryan begins his day in Reno, Nevada and ends it late tonight with a rally in Milwaukee, Wisc. In between he campaigns in Johnstown, Colo., Des Moines, Iowa and Vienna, Ohio.

-Former President Bill Clinton spends the day in Pennsylvania, holding events in Pittsburgh, Blue Bell, Philadelphia and Scranton.

Check out The Note's Futures Calendar : http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV

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