One week from today Americans will take to the polls and judging from the latest numbers the Presidential race will be won or lost on the razor's edge. According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll in eight key swing states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin) the race is a statistical tie with President Obama slightly ahead of Gov. Mitt Romney 49% to 48% before factoring in the margin of error. (See Related: Does Obama Still Get Black Voters' Approval?, Sleepless in Vegas: Behind the Scenes of Final Grueling Days on Campaign Trail)
So what, if anything, will push voters into one camp or the other? Some suggest that Hurricane Sandy, which has and will continue to dominate the news cycle, may act as an October surprise. But with both Obama and Romney freezing their campaigns during the storm, the impact on voters remains to be seen. (See Related: Romney Campaign 'Hunkering Down' During Hurricane Sandy, Clinton Speaks at UCF After Obama Cancels Orlando Visit Ahead of Sandy's Landfall)
What very well could impact the race is Friday's jobs report from the Labor Department. For a time yesterday it was reported that the numbers could be delayed because of Hurricane Sandy, but the Labor Department has promised to keep the release on schedule.
Consensus is calling for 120,000 new jobs created in October and the unemployment rate is expected to tick up to 7.9% from 7.8%
Jerry Webman, chief economist at OppenheimerFunds, says that voters will be more influenced by anecdotal evidence of the job status of friends and family than the broad government data. Still he admits, "the coverage and discussion around an especially strong or especially weak [jobs] number may push the remaining undecided voters to make up their minds one way or another."
For Webman, the data could be a motivational factor. "I'd expect that turnout factor to be more powerful among potential Romney voters reacting to a very disappointing [jobs] report than among less motivated Obama supporters," he says.
Will this final jobs report be enough to sway this extremely tight presidential race? Are you waiting for the number before making up your mind? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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- President Obama