National electoral map: Barack Obama steadily leads John McCain as next debate nears
Here are the latest numbers from the twice-weekly studies of ongoing state polls by Karl Rove & Co.
There's no real change in the Electoral College numbers, which are continuing to look good for Barack Obama. He holds a 259-163 electoral vote lead over Republican John McCain with another 116 votes residing in the toss-up category based on recent state polling.
Rove notes that there have been 26 new state polls since last weekend, but still no change in the results.
However, the freshman Illinois senator now holds leads in Ohio and Virginia, albeit within the margins of error, and is tied in Florida and the usually GOP country of North Carolina. This puts him close to reaching that magic clinching number of 270 electoral votes for the first time since midsummer, albeit hypothetically for now.
The next round of state polling may show the impact of Thursday night's vice presidential debate between Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and Delaware Democratic Sen. Joe Biden. The next presidential debate is Tuesday in Nashville.
A chart showing the weekly poll results since June 1 is available by clicking on "read more" below. The study's methodology is also explained there.
By the way, you can still get free instant alerts on all Ticket items like this flashed direct to your cellphone by registering here free at Twitter.
For each state, the map uses the average of all public telephone polls (Internet polls are not included in the average) taken within 14 days of the most recent poll available in each state.
For example, if the most recent poll in Montana was taken on July 1, the average includes all polls conducted between July 1 and July 15. States within a three-point lead for McCain or Obama are classified as toss-ups; states outside the three-point lead are allocated to the respective candidate.
There is no polling data available for the District of Columbia, but its three electoral votes are allocated to Obama.
This electoral map and chart are regular features of The Ticket and are published courtesy of Karl Rove & Co.