Real Clear Politics now projects that Mitt Romney has more likely electoral votes than President Barack Obama, although Romney is well short of the 270 votes needed to win the election.
It is the first time since February that the website says Romney has more likely electoral votes than Obama.
On Friday, Romney has a projected total of 206 votes, compared with 201 for Obama. The change came when Real Clear Politics (RCP) removed North Carolina from its toss-up category and put it among states likely voting for the GOP contender.
The move isn’t entirely unexpected, since the Romney campaign is also reportedly moving resources from North Carolina to other battleground states.
That leaves 10 swing states and 131 electoral votes up for grabs, at least by Real Clear Politics’ count.
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Based on its method of pulling together disparate polls, RCP projects a 294-244 win for Obama, if the voting was held today nationally and if it reflected recent consensus poll results. The victory would come from the Democrats taking Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Virginia.
Virginia and its 13 electoral votes seem more promising for the Romney camp as three recent polls have the Republican candidate ahead in the state. Combined with Virginia, another 13 votes from among the toss-up states would most likely give Romney a win in November with 270 votes.
The vote in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Virginia seems extremely close, with a consensus polling gap under 1 percent in the three battleground states.
The X factor could be separate electoral votes that are accounted to congressional districts in Omaha and in rural Maine. A swing of one vote from Omaha to President Obama, in that scenario, would leave the election tied after Election Day, and in the hand of state electors around the country.
In event of a tie, the constitutional system under the 12th Amendment provides for each state, once it settles any recounts or contested votes, to send its electoral votes to the president of the U.S. Senate, which is always the current vice president, to be counted. If that election is a tie, the contest goes to Congress to be settled.
On Friday, President Obama was in northern Virginia trying to get out the vote for the Democrats. Romney had appeared in Virginia on Wednesday.
The Washington, D.C., television market, which broadcasts into northern Virginia, has been saturated with attack ads from both candidates and their surrogates.
Scott Bomboy in editor-in-chief of the National Constitution Center.