The presidential race is stuck in a virtual tie that probably won't move decisively toward one candidate until the last moment, if at all, strategists for both major parties say.
Neither candidate is likely to take big risks to shake up the campaign any time soon, the strategists add, arguing that both President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney tend to be careful politicians who are confident in their current game plans and have no intention of changing course.
A senior Obama adviser says the race has proceeded much the way he expected, with Romney winning the GOP nomination after a tough intra-party struggle and now consolidating Republicans behind him, making for a very close contest. The biggest factor will be undecided and swing voters, who are in no hurry to make up their minds, the adviser says. Similarly, a senior Romney adviser tells me that he doesn't expect the contest to move beyond a dead heat until the last minute.
This means that Obama will continue to hit Romney as an out-of-touch millionaire, an overly zealous conservative, and a former businessman who put profits ahead of creating jobs for everyday people.
Romney is expected to stay with what he considers his strength—attacking Obama for failing to improve the economy, not adequately reducing unemployment, and falling short on his promises, including his pledge to end the partisan gridlock and rancorous political atmosphere in Washington.
Recent polls show that the race is very tight, with Obama's support just below 50 percent and Romney's at about 45.
The latest survey from CNN/ORC International finds that 73 percent of Americans think economic conditions are poor, although about 60 percent say they believe the economy will be doing well in 2013, up from 39 percent last October.
Forty-eight percent say Obama would do a better job in handling the economy and 47 percent would prefer Romney. However, independent voters believe Romney would do a better job fixing the economy over Obama, by 52 percent to 41.