A local political pundit predicted a slight margin of victory for President Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney next week.
But electoral votes in key swing states such as Ohio and Virginia could turn the election either way.
"It's close enough that something could change the outcome of the election," said Dr. Jonathan Williamson, chairman of Lycoming College's Department of Political Science.
Williamson, speaking to the Williamsport Rotary club Monday, said one must consider several factors in Obama's favor.
For one, he said, a first-term president usually wins re-election.
Williamson also pointed to the less than enthusiastic outpouring of support by Republicans for Romney going into the fall campaign.
Another point to consider, he said, was Romney's apparent inability, early on, to make a good case to voters for being elected the next president.
However, he said the race got interesting after the first debate, from which Romney appeared to emerge as the clear winner between the two candidates.
"You were looking at a four to seven point advantage for Obama before the first debate," he said.
Romney has rallied, Williamson said, and many polls are showing a tight race to the finish line.
But polls can be misleading, he cautioned.
For Romney to win, he will likely have to capture several of the swing states where hefty numbers of electoral votes are at stake, according to Williamson.
"Five or six states will ultimately decide the election," he predicted during his talk.
Both candidates have conceded that Obama will win Pennsylvania, he said, and - not surprisingly - neither campaign has spent much time in the state.
Ultimately, Obama has an easier path to getting re-elected than Romney does being elected, Williamson said.