Newport said that Gallup's latest numbers show Romney leading 49-48 among the general electorate, with likely Catholic voters favoring Obama by a margin of 52-45.
While it is not yet clear what the Catholic turnout in the election will be, Newport said there is a good possibility that Hispanic Catholics will follow the general Hispanic trend of producing a lower turnout than the general population, while non-Hispanic Catholics will likely vote at about the same rates as the general electorate.
Newport believes that the changing composition of the Church means that overall the Catholic turnout will likely be below average.
Mary Gray, a researcher at Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, thinks the various polls in recent weeks do not lead to a clear conclusion, making the Catholic vote "too close to call."
He explained in an Oct. 26 blog post for the research center that this election is so close, it may be impossible to tell with certainty who won the Catholic vote. This happened in both 1988 and 2004, he said, because polls disagreed on which candidate prevailed among Catholics.
Gray has worked throughout the past months to aggregate data from various polls that include a religious breakdown, in order to observe trends in the Catholic vote.
In the final days before the election, he observed that "President Obama has an edge among registered voters but loses this advantage among likely voters."
Like other analysts, Gray believes the turnout among different Catholic subgroups will determine who wins the vote of this group.
Surveys have indicated that Hispanics and young voters will once again have a lower turnout than the average electorate, he said, while Catholic subgroups that tend to lean Republican are more likely to vote, which "may give Gov. Romney an edge in the end."
Gray predicted that although the results of the general election and the Catholic vote remain to close to call, "the Catholic vote will likely maintain its bellwether status and follow the popular vote closely."