Headlines about Governor Mitt Romney paying a 14.1% effective tax rate in 2011 may have been the last thing some early voters saw before casting their ballots -- probably to the frustration of the Romney campaign. While each campaign jockeys for the best position come November 6th, early and absentee voting is already underway. In half the country (25 states) polls have already opened for early or absentee ballots (see the graphic below showing the states where voting has already started). That means whatever is happening right now in this race could have a direct impact on the final result. In some crucial swing states, that impact could be tremendous. In 2008, early ballots accounted for 78.9% of the vote in Colorado and 60.6% of the vote in North Carolina.
There are also signs that the next six weeks may not alter this race significantly. A new poll by Politico and George Washington University found that 84% of voters have made up their minds on either candidate. That poll also gave President Obama a 3% point lead nationally.