And on it goes.
Here’s what’s pretty clear: Both parties are turning out their bases. That leaves Election Day more in the hands of the undecideds, the swing voters, the independents, who primarily consider themselves to officially belong to “no party affiliation” (an actual classification) in Florida. They are 24 percent of the electorate.
Right now, polls indicate that they’re siding with Romney.
A Miami Herald poll showed Obama winning Miami-Dade — Florida’s largest county — but not by enough to give him comfort. A Tampa Bay Times poll showed Romney winning the swing area of the swing state, the so-called I-4 Corridor. Both surveys were taken by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
If the polls are right, then Romney wins Florida.
If the polls are wrong, Romney loses Florida and his chances at the White House because, thanks to the vagaries of the Electoral College map, the Republican needs Florida more than the Democrat does.
But public-opinion surveys are just that: surveys for a period of time. They have margins of errors for a reason. They’re not actual votes in the bank. Yet they’re not invented out of whole cloth.
Good campaigns can make the polls seem wrong. For Obama, that means getting sporadic voters — those missed in likely voter surveys — to show up and vote. For Romney, that means getting the likely voters to stay on board and cast their ballots accordingly.
It’s all evidence that the smartest saying in politics is the most obvious: It’s all about turnout.
This election will be decided by the better campaign, the one that turns out its base and gets enough independents to go along. It probably won’t be decided by voter suppression. And it probably won’t be decided by voter fraud, either.