|The Des Moines Register's final poll of the year by Selzer & Co shows Obama ahead by 47 percent to 42 percent among likely Iowa voters. Only a few details about the poll are available at the Register's site now.
Obama barely edges Romney on the question of which candidate would do the best job of fixing the economy, the primary argument of Romney's campaign, the poll shows. [...]
Not only does he lead in the horse race, he inspires more confidence than Romney in handling relations with other countries, and he bests Romney considerably in four of five character traits tested.
The poll shows that 42 percent of likely voters have already cast ballots, including more than half of all seniors who plan to participate in this election. That's a striking difference from four years ago, when the Iowa Poll showed only 28 percent had mailed in an absentee ballot or voted at a local elections office or satellite station at this point. [...]
Obama is up 22 points among early voters. Among those planning to vote on Tuesday, Romney wins by 8 points. The poll shows early voting has been heaviest in the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts, which include Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport and Council Bluffs, and lighter in steadfastly Republican northwest Iowa.
That last point is a bit odd, since absentee ballot totals show just as much early voting in Iowa's first district.
I'll update this post on Sunday with more details from the Register's poll. One more excerpt from the article posted Saturday evening:
President Barack Obama does best with union households (31 points better than Mitt Romney), unmarried voters (up 28 points), younger voters (up 17), those with no more than a high school education (up 16), seniors (up 12), in the 1st Congressional District in eastern and southeastern Iowa (up 12) and with women (up 11 points).
Obama, a Democrat, also does well with Iowans who did not participate in the 2010 election, winning 53 percent to 31 percent among this group.
Romney, a Republican, does best with evangelicals (26 points better than Obama), voters in Iowa's 4th Congressional District in northwest Iowa (up 19 points), married moms (up 18), affluent voters (up 17), married voters (up 10), middle-age voters (up 9), people with minor children (up 5), and with men (up 3).
The margin of error for a subset of a poll sample is always larger than the margin of error for the poll as a whole, so I am cautious about the finding that Obama's ahead by 12 points in the first Congressional district. But if he is, that would be excellent news for Democrats' prospects in the Iowa Senate. Many competitive races are in IA-01: Senate district 28, Senate district 30, Senate district 32, Senate district 36, Senate district 48, and half of Senate district 26.
Meanwhile, Project New America and USA Action released a new Iowa poll conducted by Grove Insight on November 1 and 2, which found Obama leading Romney 47 percent to 44 percent.
Most of the five Iowa polls released on Wednesday and Thursday also showed Obama a bit in front.
Romney strategist David Kochel said in a memo this week,
And although polling shows a tight race in Iowa, it's important to note that, in 2008, Obama held a 14-point lead in the final Des Moines Register Iowa Poll published the Sunday before the election. He won by fewer than 10 points. He will again under-perform his Iowa polling, where he has yet to come close to the 50 percent mark in any survey of polling averages.
Iowa Republicans had better hope Kochel is correct. Both presidential campaigns are touting their voter outreach and spinning the early voting numbers.
Both presidential candidates also stopped in Dubuque today to rally supporters in Iowa and western Wisconsin. Senator Chuck Grassley and Romney traded jokes at the Republican event. Radio Iowa's O.Kay Henderson posted highlights and the full audio from Romney's remarks.
Near the end of his speech, Romney blasted President Obama for merely "offering excuses" rather than offering a plan to resuscitate the economy.
"He wants to settle. Look, Americans don't settle. We aspire. We reach. We dream. We achieve," Romney said, to cheers from the crowd, "and so on November 6 we're going come together all across the country for a better future and on November 7 we're going to go to work."
The president's event drew a larger crowd late this afternoon. Again, Radio Iowa's Henderson was on the scene and posted the audio. Obama sounds quite hoarse, and he still had another event to go tonight in Virginia (a rally with President Bill Clinton, which had been postponed because of Hurricane Sandy).
Vice President Joe Biden was in Muscatine, Davenport, and Fort Dodge on Thursday.
Biden reprised the "47 percent" attack line here [in Muscatine], saying Romney's comment to a private fundraiser earlier this year represented the true nature of the Republican ticket. And he charged that the Republican was trying to deceive Americans with new television ads about China and the auto bailout, part of a pattern of deception.
Biden said the election is about character.
"It's clear to me who has it and who doesn't. Barack Obama has the character of his convictions," he said, adding the president says what he means and means what he says. "No one can say that about Gov. Romney."
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was in Cedar Falls on Friday.
Ryan hit President Barack Obama on the jobs report released Friday that put the national unemployment rate at 7.9 percent. The unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in January 2009, when Obama took office.
"We just got a jobs report today, the last jobs report before the election. The unemployment rate is higher than when he took office. Twenty-three million Americans are looking for work," Ryan said. "This is not what a real recovery looks like."
Ryan said his running mate has shown leadership that will help bring people together in Washington, whereas Obama has been a divider. He pointed to Romney's time as governor of Massachusetts, where the legislature was 85 percent Democrats.
He said Romney worked to find common ground and he will do the same in Washington.
"We have a jobs crisis. Wouldn't it be nice to have an actual job creator in the White House?" Ryan asked.
Ryan will be back in Des Moines on Monday. The president and First Lady Michelle Obama will also close out the campaign in Des Moines Monday evening.
Any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread. Also, please enter Bleeding Heartland's election prediction contest if you dare...
UPDATE: Roughly 4,500 people came to Romney's rally in downtown Des Moines on Sunday morning. Radio Iowa has the audio.
Pollster Ann Selzer wrote a commentary on why the "gender gap" is really more of a "marriage gap."
• Married women, whether or not they have children under age 18, give Romney an eight-point advantage.
• Whether married or not, women with children under age 18 prefer Obama by one point.
• Whether married or not, women without children prefer Obama by 16 points.
• Unmarried women, whether or not they have children under age 18, prefer Obama by 37 points - 62 percent to 25 percent.[...]
Rather than talking about the gender gap, we might want to start talking about the marriage gap. Almost two-thirds of the Iowa electorate (63 percent) is currently married. They give Romney a 10-point lead. Unmarried Iowa voters favor Barack Obama by almost 2-to-1.