Speaking to voters in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wavered somewhat from his prior, supremely confident public statements, reportedly describing a victory for President Barack Obama as "possible, but not likely."
The quote was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which locked its story behind a paywall.
For weeks, Romney has been telegraphing to his supporters that victory is assured, but cracks began to appear in the Republican front on Saturday when former Bush strategist Karl Rove hedged his bets in the pages of The Washington Post, saying that Hurricane Sandy might just be the thing that loses the race for Romney.
"It's the October surprise," Rove reportedly lamented. "For once, the October surprise was a real surprise."
That analysis was echoed by numerous Republicans on Sunday's political talk shows, including former Missmissippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), who told CNN's Candy Crowley that he believes the hurricane "broke Romney's momentum."
“Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy, taxes and spending, deficits and debt, Obamacare and energy is a good day for Barack Obama," Barbour said. "You had a blackout — you had a blackout on all of those issues that started about last Saturday and lasted until about yesterday. That was what was really good for Barack Obama."
That's not a message one might expect a candidate to carry as well, but Romney did exactly that in Iowa on Sunday. Still, he tried to assure voters that at least the election's not over yet. "There's a better life out there for us," he said, according to the Journal. "Our destiny is in the hands of the people who'll be making up this election."
Despite Romney's waning confidence in his candidacy, polls give the president much more of an edge than the former Massachusetts governor. Not only is Obama winning virtually all the swing state polls, a new slate of national polls released Sunday went almost entirely for the president as well, according to a wrap-up published by The New York Times.
Times polling expert Nate Silver estimates that Obama has an 85.5 percent chance of winning, and predicts the president will take more than 300 electoral votes on Tuesday.
File photo via AFP.