If the election were today, President Barack Obama would likely win 247 electoral votes to Mitt Romney's 206, according to an Associated Press analysis of polls, ad spending and key developments in states, along with interviews with more than a dozen Republican and Democratic strategists both inside and outside the campaigns.
Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia, offering a combined 85 electoral votes, are viewed as too close to give either candidate a meaningful advantage.
"As of today, the advantage still lies with the president, but there is a long and hard road ahead in this election," said Tad Devine, who was a top strategist to Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry but isn't directly involved in this year's race.
Iowa, which kicked off the campaign in January, is now expected to be tight to the finish, while New Mexico, thought early to be pivotal, seems to be drifting into Democratic territory.
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If Romney wins all the states that Republican John McCain carried in 2008, plus North Carolina, as trends today suggest he would, he would still need 64 electoral votes to hit the magic number.
That would require him to win most states up for grabs.