Although the fact that Mr. Obama held the lead in so many polls is partly coincidental — there weren’t any polls of North Carolina on Friday, for instance, which is Mr. Romney’s strongest battleground state — they nevertheless represent powerful evidence against the idea that the race is a “tossup.” A tossup race isn’t likely to produce 19 leads for one candidate and one for the other — any more than a fair coin is likely to come up heads 19 times and tails just once in 20 tosses. (The probability of a fair coin doing so is about 1 chance in 50,000.)
The papers want a close race because close races sell papers. True, the Obama/Romney race is close, but it may not be close enough for the kind of nail-biting anxiety that triggers an explosion of clicks on news websites. Also, do not be surprised if on the day of the election, we learn the race was never even close. There is now even talk about how the race was close up until Sandy. Sandy gave Obama the advantage. Up to that point, there was real Mitt/Romentum. If not for Sandy, that first debate (Romney's only moment in the sun during the entire race) would have handed him Obama's head on a plate. Expect this narrative, which has already emerged with Rove, to expand and harden into a fact. Indeed, Rove is more and more finding himself in need of a good explanation for why he failed. His right-wing billionaires will lose faith in him if he doesn't have a good excuse, and none is better than nature itself, the great unknown, the mysterious ways of Sandy. She hit Romney as hard as she hit the American coast.