Obama and Romney prepare for final showdown

US President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney Photo: Reuters

This weekend the two US Presidential candidates will be preparing for the final set-piece showdown: the third and final debate.

It takes places on Monday night and the focus is on foreign policy. So expect plenty of fireworks on whether the Obama Administration misled Americans about the attack on the Benghazi consulate.

The Arab Spring, relations with Moscow and Beijing, and what to do about Syria will also be issues.

President Barack Obama greets supporters at a rally in Fairfax, Virginia Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

But both Obama and Romney know this election hinges on the economy. All the signs indicate an incredibly close election.

Of course this race will be determined by how just a few states vote.

The campaign in Ohio, Florida and Virginia will be at the centre of the fight for the next 17 days.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

For those of you who are really following the campaign and who devour all the latest statistics, here is the polling Friday night from the key swing states:

  • Florida: Romney 51%, Obama 46% (Rasmussen)
  • Florida: Romney 49%, Obama 48% (CNN/ORC)
  • Florida: Romney 48%, Obama 45% (Fox News)
  • Iowa: Romney 49%, Obama 48% (Public Policy Polling)
  • Nevada: Obama 51%, Romney 43% (Mellman)
  • New Hampshire: Romney 49%, Obama 48% (Public Policy Polling)
  • North Carolina: Obama 47%, Romney 44% (Grove Insight)
  • Ohio: Obama 46%, Romney 43% (Fox News)
  • Virginia: Romney 50%, Obama 47% (Rasmussen)
  • Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)

The headline is simple: this race remains stunningly close.

Look at the two biggest prizes: Romney is up a little in Florida; Obama slightly ahead in Ohio.

No wonder Monday's debate is seen as crucial.