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2012: Two more tight polls

Latest polls: National: Washington Post/ABC has Obama up 49-46%, Politico/GW: Obama 48-47%. In the states: AZ: A Rocky Mountain Poll (with interviews in both English and Spanish) finds Obama leading 44-42%.

“Economists foresee only tepid growth for the coming year, with unemployment back above 8 percent for the first half of 2013,” the AP writes. “The good news: The housing market is recovering faster than expected and the economy likely won't fall off a ‘fiscal cliff.’ The quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economists released Monday predicts growth will be weak overall but should slowly accelerate through 2013.”

Ad spending is approaching $800 million. So far, the campaigns and outside groups have spent a total of $776 million.

“There’s no doubt that TV advertising has the power to shift voter perceptions, particularly when a candidate is not well known,” AP writes. “Romney prevailed in the Republican primaries after he and his allies buried his two main rivals with negative advertising in early voting states. Obama’s team tagged Romney as a ruthless corporate raider with a flood of negative advertising in the early stages of the general election. The ads may have shaped perceptions in states such as Ohio, where Obama has held a narrow lead in polling for weeks. Even so, the unprecedented level of spending this year on ads hasn’t changed many minds, according to one analyst. ‘There’s not much bang for the buck,’ says John Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University who studies presidential campaign advertising. ‘The public is pretty much set on who they will vote for and only a tiny slice is up for grabs.’”

“With the White House race barreling toward the finish, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were staying out of the spotlight Monday, underscoring the intense focus each campaign is placing on the second presidential debate,” the AP writes.

“The Obama and Romney campaigns on Sunday continued to spar over the government’s response to violence in Libya, with Republicans charging that the Obama administration deliberately misled the public and the president’s reelection team accusing Mitt Romney of politicizing an attack that killed four Americans,” the Boston Globe writes.