AP Photos: Carolyn Kaster, Evan Vucci

Last week we looked at five of the key indicators in this year’s presidential election. This week we look at five more as the editors at Gallup have come up with some very interesting points that could very well point to the last man standing.

As I mentioned last week, you may already have your mind made up so these indicators aren’t an effort to sway you in one direction or another, but merely to shed light on what a few experts believe will be the flashpoints to winning the race. If you like tracking the election like I do, Gallup has a pretty cool and thorough page that will provide updated poll information.

Five More Key Indicators

  1. Americans are much more likely to choose Obama (60 percent) than Romney (31 percent) as the more “likable” candidate. “At the same time, since Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee, his favorable rating, now 50 percent, has moved up to a level essentially on par with Obama’s 52 percent,” say the Gallup folks. That favorability rating may be too close to call at this point since issues can sway the voting public from here on out.
  2. Adding to his likability advantage, Obama also leads Romney in voter perceptions of who cares more about the needs of ordinary Americans and who is the stronger and more decisive leader. Gallup says this key could be “a valuable asset for Obama as a way to balance the softer side of his image, potentially broadening his appeal beyond his Democratic base. Obama’s stronger marks on this dimension may reflect his having been in a highly visible leadership position for over three years, coupled with his decisions on such foreign policy issues as approving the successful Navy Seals operation to kill Osama bin Laden.”
  3. Obama’s positioning as caring about the needs of ordinary Americans, and other evidence showing that he is seen as the candidate best able to address the needs of the poor, fits in well with his electoral base. As you’ve seen if you’ve studied the political landscape, “the groups giving Obama his highest support at this point include blacks, Hispanics, Asians, andamong whitesthose who are nonreligious, those who are single or living in a domestic partnership, and the young,” says Gallup.
  4. Romney’s core electoral strengthas has been the case for Republican presidential candidates in recent electionsis with non-Hispanic white Americans in general, among whom he is currently winning over Obama by a sizable margin. “Within the white voter population, Romney does best among those who are religious, those who are married or have been married, and those who have anywhere from a high school to a college education but no postgraduate education,” according to the Gallup poll.
  5. Americansregardless of whom they personally supportsee Obama as the odds-on favorite to win the election, something that has generally corresponded with eventual victory in past elections. Is perception everything? If so, that bodes well for Obama. However, according to the report, “Americans’ lopsided perceptions that Obama will win, 56 percent versus 36 percent, could in part reflect the fact that Romney has not yet had the opportunity to define his candidacy after his competitive primary season…It may also be that Americans’ natural tendency is to think the incumbent will win re-election, which since World War II has been true 70 percent of the time.”

As the Gallup piece surmises, this election cycle will have many twists and turns along the way any one of which could sway the outcome. Look for more election coverage in the coming months. If you have opinions you’d like to share, please add a comment below or email me at dwilliams@sbmedia.com.

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