Paul Ryan

The final stretch: Barack Obama presses the flesh at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday (AP)

Welcome to the penultimate summary of media coverage of the 2012 US election campaign on a day when geography means nothing and psephology everything as the candidates make their final push for the few, surely very few, remaining undecided voters.

The polls on this last day of campaigning suggest President Barack Obama has a slight edge in the states he needs to hold – Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada – to keep the White House, but his opponent Mitt Romney is easily close enough for polls to be wrong and an upset to be possible.

RealClearPolitics.com shows “Obama (D)” ahead of “Romney (R)” by a sliver – half of a percentage point. Five national polls on Sunday gave the following margins: Obama +3; Obama +1; Obama +1; Tie; Tie. The possibility, last seen in 2000, of the victor losing the popular vote but winning in the electoral college, remains open. Read more

These articles caught our eye today:

Anna Fifield

Mitt Romney (R) and his wife Ann Romney on August 12. (Photo Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney (R) and his wife Ann Romney on August 12. (Photo Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney has a woman problem. Not with his wife, the telegenic Ann, who has a gift for making the man accused of being an automaton seem real, but with the millions of women voters who will comprise the majority of the electorate this November.

In a tight contest like this one, every vote counts and Republicans can’t afford to give President Barack Obama any more of an advantage with women than he already enjoys.

While Romney, who will be crowned as the Republican nominee for president next week, has adopted some hardline positions on women’s health issues such as access to contraception and abortion during his latest political incarnation, they pale next to the policies being espoused by his new running mate, Paul Ryan, and his latest headache, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin.

Amid the controversy surrounding Akin, who has apologised for claiming that “legitimate rape” does not lead to pregnancy but is thus far refusing to pull out of the must-win Missouri race, new light is being shone on Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin best known for his hawkishness on the deficit. Read more

Esther Bintliff

Let the games begin. Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as running mate kicks off a new stage in the US election campaign. It also gives politicians and columnists of all colours something big to chew on, namely, Ryan’s radical plan to shrink the postwar US welfare state – a budget Romney had endorsed even before the appointment. Will swing voters buy into the ideology of small government, or take fright at the spectre of ‘social Darwinism’? And what would America look like if the Ryan plan was put into place? Read more