9:55 p.m. E.T.
But the status quo prevails, with the public polls mostly consistent with what the Obama campaign claims — that the President’s small but durable leads are holding in enough places to checkmate Romney and block him from 270. Much of the press agrees with that conventional wisdom, but there is enough confusion and uncertainty that Romney has achieved an important milestone: he enters the final days cast in the media as tied or just a little bit behind, not a long shot.
Boston is telling its allies what it is telling reporters: their polling, modeling a different electorate, shows a Romney win, including in Ohio.
Both candidates are closing their Saturday nights with events in excess of 15,000 people.
For now, here is the order of importance of the states in determining the outcome, based on a combination of how important each is for the candidates to get to 270 (or block the other one from 270), competitiveness, and electoral vote size:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina