VANDALIA, Ohio — Mitt Romney’s senior advisors insisted Tuesday they were unbowed by public polls showing the Republican White House hopeful is trailing significantly in key battlegrounds such as Ohio.
“This is a wide open race,” political director Rich Beeson told reporters on the campaign plane ahead of a rally in Vandalia, Ohio.
“The public polls are what they are. I feel confident about where we are.”
Beeson accused Democrats of being overconfident and “spiking the football at the 30-yard line,” and said that the race remains tight.
“At the end of the day, Ohio is going to come down to the wire,” he said.
No Republican has ever won the White House without victory in Ohio and the last Democrat to do so was John F. Kennedy in 1960. Analysts also believe there are few paths to victory for Romney if he is unable to capture the midwestern state’s 18 electoral votes.
A Washington Post poll published Wednesday showed President Barack Obama ahead by eight points in Ohio and he also holds a 4.6 point advantage in a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls.
“We believe it’s still a margin of error race,” senior advisor Kevin Madden told reporters on the sidelines of the rally.
Madden said that the campaign’s internal polling has shown that seven to nine percent of Ohio voters remain undecided and has also found that many of those voters “are judging the president pretty harshly.”
“Undecided voters, right now they haven’t moved into the president’s column for a reason,” Madden said.
“They’re just not happy with the direction of the economy overall and we see it as an opportunity from here on out to persuade those voters that Governor Romney has a better direction.”
The Republican campaign also believes it can persuade some Obama supporters to vote for Romney instead, Madden said.