In the final days before Election Night, various polling agencies always come out with their final word on who leads nationally and in key states. Consequently, there are always accusations of bias and false polling samples as each side looks to spin the numbers in their direction. Many of the swing state polls show Obama leading Romney, despite Romney holding edges in party excitement, attendance at recent rallies and the data from early and absentee voting. A closer look at the polling numbers shows these pollsters may be in for a big surprise come Tuesday night.

The big question is whether or not the voter samples these pollsters are using are representative of who will turn out to vote on Tuesday. In 2008, Obama rode a huge wave of bi-partisan support to defeat John McCain. A big part of that was a huge advantage in early and absentee voting and big support from Independents. McCain actually won the day-of vote tally by three points, but Obama took the early vote by 15 points and went on to a double-digit win. The underlying key: the Democratic ground game brought an unprecedented number of early and absentee votes to Obama in 2008. But will those same people do it again in 2012?

The answer is “no; not even close.” This is bad news for the President in that historically, the GOP wins the day-of vote every time. If the Obama camp cannot get out a similar number of early voters this time around, Romney will win. Add to this the large number of Independents who are supporting Romney, according to these very same polls, and you have a recipe for a comfortable win for the challenger.

Cox Radio’s Jamie Dupree takes a battleground state-by-state look at the polling data and reveals what one discovers by looking past the headline. Here’s a summary of what the data tells us:

OHIO: In Cleveland, 42,511 early votes have been cast, a drop of about 14% when compared to the same time four years ago; In 2008, 151,296 Democrats requested absentee ballots – as of November 2, Democrats had requested 122,771, a drop of 6% – but Republicans had increased their requests from 36,232 to 52,535, a jump of 45%.

That same pattern can be seen in other key counties in Ohio, like in Columbus where Republicans absentee ballot requests are up 6%, while Democratic absentee ballots are down 17%. The difference is even more dramatic in Dayton, where Republicans trailed in absentee ballots requested in 2008 by almost 5,000, but now they own the edge by over 6,000 – Democratic absentee ballots in that county are off by 65% from 2008.

In Cincinnati, Republicans have expanded their absentee advantage from 1100 ballots in 2008 to 3,000. In Toledo, Democrats led by 5700 absentee ballots in 2008 but this year the GOP owns a 600 ballot request edge.

Now one caveat about these figures – you aren’t registered to a specific party in Ohio – instead, the way you are classified as Democrat or Republican depends on which party primary you voted in last. Still, the lower numbers in some key counties for absentee ballot requests by Democrats can’t just be ignored.

VIRGINIA: A review of absentee ballot data found several key counties for Obama in 2008 are simply not producing the votes that were seen four years ago. In Arlington County, right next door to Washington, D.C., which delivered a 72-27% majority for Obama four years ago, so far there are 23,412 absentee ballots in – well short of the 34,232 that were sent in for all of 2008, about a 20% decline.

The numbers are about the same in Fairfax County, another key county for Democrats in the Washington, D.C. area that went 60-39% for Obama – back in 2008, 100,691 absentee ballots were returned – as of Friday, the numbers were only at 64,259.

Basically, the counties won by Bush in 2004 and McCain in 2008 are faring much better in terms of absentee ballots than counties won by Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008. For example, Salem City, Virginia broke a record for early voting; that city went to McCain in 2008.

IOWA: Back in 2008, Iowa Democrats did their job in early voting, running up a 18% edge. This time, their advantage is 10%, one reason why Republicans are so optimistic about winning the state’s 6 Electoral Votes. Democrats as of Monday have returned 42.2% of the absentee ballots, 32.1% for the GOP and 25.6% for Independent voters.

COLORADO: A review of the available data seems to give an edge to the GOP. Republicans have cast 37% of all early votes to 34.6% for Democrats – back in 2008, it was Democrats who had a slight edge.

Obviously the wild card is the high number of independent ballots that are already in – about 28% of the vote – and which side they back. Late polls from Colorado have shown Romney doing better with independents than earlier in the campaign. And at least in early voting, the GOP has an edge in several swing counties like Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer.

The Democrats have been touting their ground game for the past few months and how it will be key to an Obama victory. However, the numbers are not showing the same kind of early and absentee voting turnout as the President enjoyed in 2008. When you also consider Romney’s advantage among Independent voters, it looks more and more like Romney will emerge victorious after Tuesday.

In 2008, Obama’s message drove people to the polls in mass numbers. Four years later, the buzz is gone and the message has failed. Expect the final voting numbers to go against the grain of these polls and get ready to welcome Mitt Romney as the 45th President of the United States.

Original article authored by Dave Dorsey on RightChange.com

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