As political horse races go, the 2012 Republican primary campaign was an instant classic. After nine lead changes in the polls—involving five different candidates, including some serious long shots—the odds-on favorite pulled it out in the homestretch.
Now Mitt Romney finds himself the underdog in an ugly, grueling contest with President Obama. The track is sloppy, both horses are saddled with baggage, and the economic forecast is cloudy with a chance of storms. Political scientists tell us the conditions, not the candidates, usually dictate the outcome in these sorts of races. Still, as the finish line approaches, we can count on the media to shout out every misstep and tiny shift in momentum, like Chic Anderson calling the Belmont. We’re here to provide the visuals.
In the above animation, the horses’ horizontal positions represent the candidates’ standing in the latest polls. The data are adapted from Real Clear Politics’ aggregation of major polls. Check back regularly—we’ll update the race as new numbers come in.