|Battleground States:||Electoral Votes||2008 Margin|| 7/29|
Nonetheless, it's been a very slow glacier-like advance for Romney, and he now trails by just .3% in the battleground states.
President Obama is still on track to win reelection, particular if the town hall debate slows Romney's momentum, but with the polls so close that could easily change over the remaining 20 days. Obama is defending and Mitt Romney is challenging, which gives Romney the advantage of picking the battleground state strategy for his final attack.
Romney starts with 181 electoral votes in states he is expected to easily win. Adding the states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Missouri where he is currently leading would bring him to 244 electoral votes, just 26 short of the 270 needed to win. Let's assume he can do that. What are his strategies?
Go Short - Winning Ohio and Virginia would bring Romney to 275. This looks like the easiest path to win. Republicans know how to win these states. It's the shortest way to the White House, but likely well-guarded, so Mitt Romney might be advised not to get bogged down on this path.
Go Home - Winning Michigan and Wisconsin, the home states of Mitt Romney and his VP pick Paul Ryan, brings Romney to 270. That may have been the whole point of the VP pick but, as the saying goes and the polls currently show, you can't always go home again.
Go to Gettysburg - Winning Pennsylvania plus any other state except New Hampshire puts Romney above 270. The Gettysburg strategy is the boldest. On the one hand, Republicans haven't won Pennsylvania since 1988, 24 years ago. On the other hand, the Obama campaign likely wouldn't see it coming. But it's very risky - remember Pickett's Charge.
Go Small - Winning Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Hampshire also brings Romney to 270. All things considered, this may be Romney's best chance. Romney can lose any one of the small states so long as he offsets the loss with a win in a bigger state. So winning Virginia would offset losing Wisconsin.
If I'm Obama, I assign someone to keep an eye on my lead in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and counterattack in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. There are other ways to defend, but these states would seal 271 electoral votes for the win.