The Obama and Romney campaigns spend all day beating the pulp out of each other over policy differences, big and small. But when it comes to the political landscape and the dynamics of who prevails, the two sides agree on an awful lot.

Both sides predict the race will remain tied in the national polls — and in the 10 states that matter most — until three weeks before Election Day, if not longer.

Both think the race will finish 51-49, or closer. But both believe that if one candidate could win bigger — and reach a tipping point that provides a real cushion — it would be Mitt Romney, pulling away at the very end because he crossed the plausibility threshold after the third and final debate.

And both are in basic agreement that the election will come down to a variation of one simple question: Do voters think Romney understands the struggles of ordinary Americans? If Romney can prove he does — or at least convince voters he is a plausibly, even marginally, safer bet to ease their economic struggles — he will win. If not, it’s four more years for Obama.

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