Presidential Ratings Change: Advantage Obama

Stuart Rothenberg September 21, 2012 · 4:52 PM EDT

We are moving six states in our presidential race ratings: Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin from Toss-up to Lean Obama, and Michigan, New Mexico and Pennsylvania to Solid Obama. 

Deteriorating state poll numbers for Mitt Romney suggest that these states have moved a few points toward the president, and while Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin are still broadly “in play,” Barack Obama now has a small but clear advantage over his GOP challenger in them. 

Five states that have been in the toss-up category remain there: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire, either because new polling is inconclusive or we have not seen enough new polling to move the state. That said, Obama looks to be in a better position now than he was a month ago in all of those states, suggesting further bad news for Romney if the Republican cannot create some momentum nationally.

The moves change our current electoral vote estimate to: 278 Safe and Leaning for Obama, 206 Safe and Leaning for Romney and 54 Toss-up.

While we do not yet believe that the contest for the White House is “over,” the president clearly now has the upper hand, and Romney needs to change the trajectory of the race if he is going to deny Obama a second term.