With the election less than two weeks away, recent polls show the presidential race neck and neck here in Iowa. Ann Selzer is president of Selzer and Company, an Iowa-based polling organization that conducts The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll. Selzer says the national polls are an indicator of voter mood and not a predictor of how the election will go.
“The national polls are showing this neck and neck,” Selzer says. “Some show Obama a point ahead, some show Romney a point ahead. Some show a dead heat. The Electoral College aggregation to the extent that people divvy up all the states and kind of make a call… slightly more favorable toward Obama right now.”
The most recent survey from “Public Policy Polling” showed President Obama leading Mitt Romney by just a single point in Iowa — 49 to 48 percent. Tom Jensen is director of Public Policy Polling.
“That is a big shift from what we saw a month ago,” Jensen says. “(Iowa has) gone from a lean Obama state to a pure toss up.” Jensen says the change came after GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s performance in the first debate. National polls are an indicator of the country’s mood, according to Selzer, but not a good predictor of who will win this November.
“We don’t elect our president with a national vote,” she says. “We elect our president state by state by state, so the work that pollsters are doing in individual states and PPP is among those that are very active in that that’s very helpful in getting a sense of where the electoral college going to end up.”
Iowa’s six electoral college votes could be crucial in a tight election. A candidate must win 270 votes in the electoral college win the presidency. In 2000, George W. Bush won 271. Selzer and Jensen made their comments on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River” program.