The winner's name will be cloaked in the traditional secrecy until Thursday, when the Oslo-based Nobel committee will reveal who has been chosen from this year's near-record 97 nominations.
But speculation in Norway's media, often well-founded, has drawn the spotlight away from the two superpower leaders, jointly nominated for signing the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty--the first-ever U.S.-Soviet pact to reduce the world's nuclear arsenal.
Instead, the U.N. peacekeeping forces, U.N. Undersecretary General Diego Cordovez and the World Health Organization are now favored.
"The problem with Reagan and Gorbachev is the U.S. election. It could be taken as an endorsement of (GOP candidate) George Bush's campaign if Reagan won," said one seasoned Norwegian Nobel-watcher who asked not to be identified.