As President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney race to Election Day on Nov. 6, it takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. Following is a state by state glance at the latest AP status for each battleground state in the 2012 presidential election, as well as current polling data and developments.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday suggests 50 percent of likely voters in Florida are backing Romney to 49 percent for Obama. A Public Policy Polling survey has Obama leading 49-48 over Romney, while a SurveyUSA poll finds the two tied 47-47. The Real Clear Politics poll average from Oct. 22 through Oct. 28 has Romney leading in Florida by 1.2.
Although the race appears to be tight in Florida, an Oct. 25 National Journal article said the Obama campaign has began to quietly suggest to Florida field organizers that their time would be better spent in Ohio.
Wednesday's CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac poll showed Romney up by five among Florida independents, and measured voter enthusiasm in Florida at 63 to 47 percent, with Republicans leading by a wide margin.
>> Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at Metropolitan Park, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla.
>> Leaning Obama
The latest Real Clear Politics poll average shows Obama ahead in Ohio by 2.3 points. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in Ohio show Romney with a two-point advantage, 50-48. While the Rasmussen data shows Obama leads 62 to 32 percent among Ohioans who already cast their ballots, Romney has a large lead among those who still plan to vote.
"The question of who wins Ohio may come down to whether enough Romney voters get to the polls on Election Day to overcome the president's lead among early voters," the Rasmussen report concluded.
A memo released by the Republican National Committee suggested that Republicans are outperforming their share of voter registration in absentee requests and early votes by 8.73 percent, while Democrats are underperforming, resulting in a net swing of +13.54 percentage point for Republicans.
A New York Times/Quinnipiac/CBS News poll released Wednesday showed Obama with a five-point lead in Ohio, but with Romney leading by six points among independent voters. The poll was criticized for showing Republicans at a lower percentage level of turnout than in the 2008 election, when Republican enthusiasm is now measuring at +14 for Republicans in Ohio when compared to Democratic enthusiasm.
"Chances are if we win Ohio independents by six, we win the state. Period," Romney pollster Neil Newhouse told Byron York of The Washington Examiner.
>> In this Oct. 25, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks to supporters at a campaign event at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport, in Cleveland Ohio.
>> Leaning Romney
A glance at Real Clear Politics poll data shows that Romney has held a steady lead in North Carolina since Oct. 1, when SurveyUSA last showed Obama up by 2. Since then, Rasmussen Reports, Gravis Marketing, PPP, Civitas and Elon University have either showed Romney leading, or that the race is tied. The current average has Romney leading Obama in North Carolina by 3.8 points.
Former Clinton strategist Paul Begala appeared on CNN on Oct. 22, saying that it looked like Obama had conceded the state to Romney.
"I'm not supposed to say that," Begala said. "I'm working for the pro-Obama super PAC, so I'm being paid to help reelect the president, but if you look at where he's spending money, it looks like Gov. Romney is likely to carry North Carolina."
A Business Insider article posted Oct. 25 said there's no evidence to suggest that Obama is giving up on North Carolina, and that he still has some clear advantages over Romney in the state among early voters.
>> Rhett Simpson campaigns for Mitt Romney outside the site of early voting in downtown New Bern, N.C., on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
Real Clear Politics and The New York Times rate the race in Virginia a tossup, while the Real Clear Politics poll average shows Romney up .5 percent over Obama. On Oct. 25, a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters found Romney with 50 percent support to Obama's 48, with 92 percent of voters saying they had made up their minds. However, a Newsmax/Zogby poll released Oct. 30 showed Romney leading with a four-point margin.
After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, Romney and Obama canceled campaign events. On Thursday, though, Romney returned to Virginia for a campaign rally. The rally invitation asked supporters to donate to the Red Cross and encouraged them to bring bottled water and supplies to collection centers at Romney campaign offices, CNN reported.
The latest CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday showed Obama leading in Virginia by two, but independents breaking for Romney by 21 points and enthusiasm among Republicans at 56 percent compared to the Democrat's 49 percent. Roanoke College's survey of likely voters in Virginia shows Romney leading by five.
>> Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves as he arrives on stage at a campaign stop at Meadow Event Park in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012.
A Public Policy Polling poll released Sunday showed a 3-point bounce for Obama, putting him up 49 to 47 percent over Romney in New Hampshire. The Real Clear Politics average of polls also has Obama up by 1.3. In contrast, the Oct. 24 Rasmussen Reports poll has Romney up by two, 50 to 48 percent.
The New Hampshire Union Leader, which bills itself as "the state's largest and only statewide circulated newspaper with the stories, events and resources essential to living in the Granite State," endorsed Romney for president. The endorsement voiced support for Romney's business background and said that Obama had been given a chance, but "now it is time to stop dreaming and start growing again."
A new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll shows Romney winning independents in the state, 47 to 46, after Obama won independents by 20 in 2008.
>> Romney surrogate U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shakes hands while campaigning for Romney during a town hall meeting at a fire station in Raymond, N.H. on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012.
>> Leans Obama
The race is close in Iowa, but the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Obama leading by 2 points, while the latest NPR poll had Obama up by 4. However, a Washington Post/ABC News daily tracking poll released Tuesday had Obama ahead by one point, 49-48. The latest NBC/WJS/Marist poll puts Obama up in Iowa by 6 points, and the latest Rasmussen poll puts Romney ahead by one.
In one of the more anticipated newspaper endorsements in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, the Des Moines Register endorsed Romney Saturday, flipping from supporting Obama in2008. It is the first time the paper has endorsed a Republican since 1972.
In one of Jennifer Rubin's latest columns at The Washington Post, Rubin wrote about the endorsement, calling it a "stunning rebuke" to Obama.
If the endorsement had been for Obama, it wouldn't have mattered, Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad's communication director Tim Albrect told Rubin. However, "since it's Romney, this will send absolute shockwaves through this race."
A University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released Wednesday shows Romney with a slight lead among likely voters, 45.2 percent to 44.4 percent.
>> Supporters cheer as Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally at West Middle School, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Muscatine, Iowa.
Both The New York Times and Real Clear Politics rate Colorado as a swing state, after Obama won the state in 2008 with a nine-point victory. The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Obama up by .6, while a new survey from the American Research Group shows Romney with a one-point lead over Obama. Rasmussen's Oct. 22 poll showed Romney hitting the 50 percent mark for the first time in Colorado, with a 50-46 lead over Obama.
A Republican National Committee memo suggested that Republicans are leading Democrats in absentee ballot requests and early votes by more than 10,000 voters, have won the first day of early voting and are outperforming voter registration by 2.13 points.
Obama canceled a planned Oct. 30 trip to Colorado in order to stay in Washington, D.C., to monitor Hurricane Sandy. Bill Clinton appeared instead, although Obama also has a trip to Colorado planned for Thursday.
>> Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at the Red Rock Amphitheatre Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Golden, Colo.
Obama leads Romney in Nevada by 2.7 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. It's a lead that Sean Cary of Nevada Matters Media credits to the organization efforts by both Obama and Reid within the state, according to policymic.com. Although the machine isn't as efficient this year, it's still far ahead of the Republican organization, and Obama will likely win Nevada by 3 points, Cary said.
According to the latest tracking poll from Latino Decisions, Obama has a 52-point lead over Romney with Latino voters. That sort of a lead is a major impediment in winning states like Nevada, Colorado and Florida, The Hill's Cameron Joseph wrote.
A Republican National Committee memo suggested that Republicans are outperforming in voter registration and absentee requests while Democrats are underperforming, resulting in a net swing of 4.41 percentage points for Republicans.
>> President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in Las Vegas.
>> Leaning Obama
Polls shows New Mexico leaning toward Obama, with an Albuquerque Journal poll showing the president leading in the state, 50 to 41 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is pulling about 5 percent of the vote, according to the poll.
Although Real Clear Politics lists the state as being likely Obama rather than just leaning Obama, the Romney-supporting Restore Our Future super PAC recently began running ads in New Mexico.
A senior Romney official told Politico the campaign is also eying New Mexico, where neither campaign has run ads.
"The Albuquerque (market) covers 86 percent of the state and the race is less than 5 percent there right now," the official said.
>> New Mexico delegates cheer as President Barack Obama is nominated for the Office of the President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.
>> Leaning Romney
The Associated Press, Real Clear Politics and The New York Times list Arizona as "leaning Romney," and Obama campaign manger Jim Messina agreed Wednesday, telling reporters that Obama's path to 270 electoral votes will not include the state, Politico reported.
"Democrats are strongly convinced that the state will become winnable for them sooner or later," reporter Alexander Burns wrote. "But (Arizona) may or may not have crossed the right demographic threshold by Nov. 6, 2012."
The Real Clear Politics poll average shows Romney leading in Arizona by 5.3 points.
>> Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the state delegates reacts as Mitt Romney is nominated for the Office of the President of the United States at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.
>> Leaning Romney
Missouri — a state Real Clear Politics puts in the "likely Romney" category — has been largely skipped by both candidates on the campaign trail, a recent Kansas City Star article said.
Although McCain won the state in 2008, the percentages were close, with McCain pulling in 49.4 percent of the vote compared to Obama's 49.3 percent. However, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Romney leads Obama by 11.2 points.
>> Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney boards his campaign charter plane in Kansas City, Missouri, after a refueling stop he heads to Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012
>> Leaning Romney
While neighboring Ohio is saturated by campaign ads from both sides of the aisle, Indiana has largely stayed out of the fray, and now resides comfortably in the Real Clear Politics "likely Romney" category.
In 2008, Obama won Indiana by a 1.1 margin. According to the website 270towin.com, Indiana is the "reddest: state in the Midwest, and only voted Democratic in 1964 with Lyndon Johnson, and in 2008 with President Obama. This year, Obama's 2008 edge in Indiana has faded, and the Real Clear Politics poll average shows Romney at +12.5.
>> Tracey Anderson takes a photo of Gregory Kennedy with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a GOP forum in Indianapolis, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011.
>> Leaning Obama
With the race in its final days, both the Obama and Romney campaigns have pushed into Pennsylvania, in what the Romney camp calls a logical step for expanding the map, and the Obama camp calls desperation.
"Romney decision to go up in PA proof positive they can't make current map work to get to 270 – throwing out lifelines to PA, MN. #desperate" Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter tweeted Tuesday.
"Pennsylvania presents a unique opportunity for the Romney campaign," Rich Beeson wrote in a Romney memo about Pennsylvania. "Over the past few years we have seen Pennsylvania voting for a Republican senator and a Republican governor, and Republicans win control of the State House in addition to the State Senate."
"While the Obama campaign would like to wish it is 2008, the reality is that they are now forced to 'play defense' in at least six states (Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin) that they once believed were 'safe' Obama win," Beeson said.
Both sides have made ad buys in the state.
A new Franklin & Marshall poll for Pennsylvania released Wednesday showed Obama with a four-point lead in the state, 48-44 percent. The tightened race is the result of Romney gaining seven points since September. Romney leads among independents, 48 to 32.
GOP.com posted on Oct. 29 that as of that Monday, the GOP's lead in absentee ballot returns is 18.8 percent, compared to 2008, when the GOP edged Democrats by 2 percent in absentee returns.
>> Platters of sugar cookies bearing the likenesses of President Barack Obama, left, and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, are available for sale on the counter at the Oakmont Bakery on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 in Oakmont, Pa.
>> Leaning Obama
In the middle of October, the Green Bay media market was seeing more presidential campaign TV advertising than any other market in the country, The Weekly Standard reported. Both campaigns have been working in the state, with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan stumping there Wednesday and Obama visiting Green Bay on Thursday. Romney himself will visit the state Friday.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Obama leading by 3.7, while an Oct. 26 Rasmussen poll showed them tied at 49 percent.
Republican National Committee Chairman Rince Priebus told Human Events that Republicans have won the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat and both houses of the legislature when he was state party leader in 2010.
"How many times do Republicans have to win in Wisconsin before people realize we can do it?" Priebus asked.
The Restore Our Future super PAC, which supports Romney, recently purchased a $20 million ad campaign in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
>> With Air Force One in the background, President Barack Obama speaks to supporters during a campaign event on the tarmac at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, Wis.,Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012.
>> Leaning Obama
A new poll from the Detroit News shows Romney closing the gap on Obama in Michigan, with Obama's lead shirking to three points, or within the margin of error. The Real Clear Politics average of polls also shows Obama with a three-point lead in Michigan. According to The Washington Examiner, that three-point lead is a major drop from 2008, when Obama won Michigan by 17 points.
Both campaigns have upped the focus on Michigan recently, with Ann Romney appearing there on Monday and the Obama campaign making ad buys in the state. The Detroit News recently endorsed Romney, while the Detroit Free Press endorsed Obama.
In a Wednesday appearance on Morning Joe, Obama communications director David Axelrod promised he'd shave off his mustache "of 40 years" live on TV if Obama loses Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota.
>> Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, greets supporters after speaking in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.
>> Leaning Obama
The Real Clear Politics average of polls puts Minnesota in the "leans Obama" category and shows Obama ahead by 5 within the state. However, Republicans have recently moved into the area, and a Star Tribune poll showed Obama with only a three-point lead. That three-point lead is a drop in support from 2008, when Obama won Minnesota by 11 points.
Romney's foray into Minnesota have forced Obama to defend "his own turf," Brian Bakst of The Associated Post wrote Tuesday. The Obama campaign called Romney's ad buys in Minnesota a head fake from a campaign that was failing to expand the map, but also purchased ads and sent Obama surrogate Bill Clinton to campaign in the state.
"The Obama campaign can downplay the poll results all they want, but sending their top surrogate, Bill Clinton, to Minnesota tomorrow tells us that they believe it's real as well," state GOP executive director Ben Zierke told minnpost.com Tuesday.
Rasmussen also puts Obama ahead in Minnesota with a five-point lead as of Oct. 23.
Democrats consider their aggressive push back against the Romney's foray into Minnesota as being from the "better-safe-than-sorry" school of thought, Politico reported Wednesday.
>> Former President Bill Clinton addresses a Students for Obama rally at the University of Minnesota's McNamara Alumni Center Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 in Minneapolis.