These rating changes move five of our eight toss-up states into Obama’s column, giving him 290 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206, with Colorado, Florida and New Hampshire as toss-ups (42 votes). Obviously, Romney needs to turn some of the blue on this map to red, or this race will be over. And much of Obama’s territory is unavailable to him: the states won by both Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 add up to 242 electoral votes on this map. Other than Wisconsin, Romney appears to have little chance of winning any of the other Gore/Kerry states. And the Badger State, despite Paul Ryan’s presence on the ticket, appears to be moving away from him as well.
Provided Romney wins the three toss-ups, he will then need to pry another 22 electoral votes from Obama. And that will be difficult: Of all the states at least leaning toward Obama in our ratings, the president’s smallest polling lead, based on the RealClearPolitics average from mid-day on Wednesday, was four points in Iowa.