Tampa, Fla. (AP) - The race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to amass the requisite 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory is exactly where it was at the start of the long, volatile summer: focused on seven states that are up for grabs.
Neither candidate has a significant advantage in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia. Those states offer a combined 85 electoral votes.
All this is according to an Associated Press analysis of polls, spending on television advertising and numerous interviews with Republican and Democratic strategists in battleground states.
If the election were held today, the Democrat, Obama, would have 19 states and the District of Columbia, offering 247 votes, in his column or leaning his way. Republican Romney would have 24 states, with 206 votes.