Washington: With a flurry of polls showing a tight White House race, the campaigns of both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are focusing on swing states in their final sprint.
The continued narrowness of the contest was manifest in a new Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll released Tuesday showing a seesawing result with 49 percent of likely voters supporting Romney and 48 percent Obama.
The change from Monday's Post-ABC tracking poll, which showed the race 49 to 48 percent the other way, is statistically insignificant, but there are fledgling signs of a fresh advantage for the challenger, the Post said.
RealClearPolitics, an influential political news aggregating site, too shows Romney with a slight 48 percent to 47.2 percent advantage over Obama nationally giving the challenger 206 votes in the 538 member electoral college to Obama's 201 and 131 too close to call.
It takes 270 votes in the electoral college chosen in winner takes all contests in the states with each state allocated electoral votes on the basis of its population.
However, Fivethirtyeight, an influential blog on the New York Times gives Obama a 70.3 percent chance of victory by garnering 290.8 electoral votes with a national poll average of 50.1 percent popular vote nationally.
Politico, another news site focused on politics, projects a 281-257 vote advantage to Obama giving 44 swing state votes to the president and 66 to Romney.
The two presidential campaigns are sounding sharply different notes about how they can get to 270 electoral votes, but top strategists for both have made clear they will be primarily fighting over seven states in the run up to the Nov 6 election, according to Politico.
The seven main battlegrounds are identified by Politico as Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Wisconsin.
"That states that we're playing in are the states we need to win," Romney strategist Russ Schriefer was quoted as saying. "We'll see what happens in the next two weeks. We're going to concentrate on Ohio and Colorado and Iowa and New Hampshire."
Obama officials, meanwhile, are convinced that they have a lead in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada - and aren't yet willing to write off Colorado, Florida and Virginia, it said.
Leaving nothing to chance, Obama is doing a 48-hour tour of Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and Ohio this week before returning to New Hampshire on Saturday for the second time in 10 days.
Romney, for his part, is making a western swing to Colorado and Nevada but will then return to hunker down in the two Midwestern hubs his campaign thinks he's closing fast in: Iowa and Ohio, Politico reported.
The race, as both sides will privately concede, will ultimately hinge on Ohio, it said.
While Obama's senior adviser David Plouffe was cited as saying he believes the president has "a good lead" in Ohio, Republican senator Rob Portman, Romney's debate sparring partner, says the state is "a dead heat."
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)