By The Associated Press
A look at the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Obama is within reach, although North Carolina, which the Democrat carried in 2008, has begun leaning toward Romney, according to an Associated Press analysis.
The analysis isn't intended to predict the outcome of the Nov. 6 election. Rather, it's meant to provide a snapshot of a race that has been stubbornly close in the small number of most competitive states all year. The analysis is based on public polls and internal campaign surveys as well as spending on television advertising, candidate visits, get-out-the-vote organizations and interviews with dozens of Republican and Democratic strategists in Washington, and in the most contested states.
A look at where the race stands state by state. The numbers in parenthesis reflect electoral votes.
SOLIDLY DEMOCRATIC (186):
California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
LEANING DEMOCRATIC (85):
Iowa (6) - Romney sees opportunity in a key state for Obama in 2008. He's visited twice in past week with a third trip planned for Monday. But Obama's edge in eastern Iowa's swing territory seen as greater than Romney's edge in GOP-heavy western Iowa.
Michigan (16) - Despite lingering economic pain in the auto capital, Michigan has large minority and union voting blocs that favor Obama. Romney, a native son whose father was governor, sensed opportunity earlier in the campaign but his opposition to auto industry bailout is seen as prohibitive.
Minnesota (10) - Low unemployment and a long streak of Democratic presidential nominees carrying Minnesota give Obama confidence. But Romney began advertising there last week, followed quickly by Obama. Some see the ads as a way to reach competitive western Wisconsin, although Romney aides discussing sending Romney and Ryan there in campaign's final week in light of tightening polls.
New Mexico (5) - Influx of Hispanic and younger voters are Obama advantages in this state pivotal in 2000 and 2004.
Ohio (18) - Obama has the organizing advantage, and unemployment has dropped steadily and held below the national rate this year. Obama reminded during debates that he's due some of the credit for keeping Ohio auto plants open and expanding by supporting industry bailout. Romney is not ceding an inch. Some polls show race tightening, but most public and internal polls show Obama with the edge.
Pennsylvania (20) - Pennsylvania has been Democratic territory in recent presidential races. Romney has continued campaigning here and the Republican National Committee is advertising in the state. But registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 1 million.
Wisconsin (10) - Having led early on, Obama now running nearly even in polls with Romney, who hopes having native son Ryan on the ticket will help. Still, Obama is well organized in the state. It has a heavy union membership and many minorities, and Democrats have carried the state in past six presidential campaigns.
UP FOR GRABS (61):
Colorado (9) - The state's conservative profile is changing. Young professionals and Hispanic voters were central to Obama in 2008, but the sluggish economy has hurt his standing. Romney seeing returns for his heavy investment in state where female voters in Denver's suburbs play a big role.
Florida (29) - Florida has moved in Romney's way steadily since the GOP's convention this summer. Obama won in 2008, but the housing crisis and high unemployment are dogging him.
Nevada (6) - Nevada is the focal point of the nation's household economic woes: No. 1 in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. The race is tight, but has moved Obama's way in recent weeks, backed by huge labor and Hispanic voting blocs.
New Hampshire (4) - Romney has a vacation home in New Hampshire, which is next to Massachusetts, where Romney was governor. He won the 2012 primary big, but Obama peeled off this Bush state in 2008 and has visited often.
Virginia (13) - Long a GOP bastion, Obama carried Virginia in 2008 by turning out young and minority voters. This helps him in suburban northern Virginia but he struggles in the rural and conservative South and West. Romney is using Obama's proposed cuts in military spending against this strong, defense contracting state. Virginia polls show a very close race.
LEANING REPUBLICAN (47):
Arizona (11) - 2008 GOP nominee John McCain's single-digit victory in his home state, and Hispanic and young voter boom, give Obama hope that Arizona is trending as other states in the Southwest. But it's seen little action from Democrats so far.
Indiana (11) - Obama broke a 44-year GOP trend by winning Indiana in 2008, albeit by a single percentage point. Unemployment is high and the tea party is a new factor, both working against Obama. He's not actively campaigning in the state.
Missouri (10) - Obama's campaign is eyeing Missouri after GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin's comments on abortion and rape to see if it shifts the landscape, which currently favors Romney.
North Carolina (15) - Polls have tightened in North Carolina, where Obama has kept his ads on the air despite gains by Republicans and voters' resounding rejection of a referendum to allow same-sex marriage. Obama continues to advertise, albeit at levels less than Romney and GOP-leaning groups, while Romney has dispatched some North Carolina staff to other states.
SOLIDLY REPUBLICAN (159): Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
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