How the map has changed for Mitt Romney since the first debate

Rick Klein, Amy Walter, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Top Line

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is surging, making this a tighter race than it was before the debates. Romney's numbers are up not only nationally, but also in those critical battleground states: Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada,  New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.

Florida looks as good as ever for Romney; it will be tough for President Obama to repeat his 2008 win of the Sunshine State and its 29 electoral votes. If Florida goes red, Romney will be in a much stronger position with the rest of the battleground states. The Republican candidate is also picking up momentum in Colorado, even pulling ahead in a couple polls,  and North Carolina is leaning his way, too.

Check out ABC's latest electoral college map HERE, or create your own electoral college results with our interactive fantasy map HERE.

But Obama still has advantages in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nevada. The race is tightening in Nevada, but it would be difficult for Romney to pick up Nevada's Hispanic and African-American voters, who combined make up about a quarter of the vote.

That leaves just three battleground states -- New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia. Since the debate, Romney has looked stronger in Virginia, but even if he won Virginia's 13 electoral votes and his backyard of New Hampshire and its 4 electoral votes, it would still not be enough to clear that 270 electoral college vote hurdle.

So it all comes down to Ohio. The real question in the Buckeye State is: Who is going to appeal to the average voter? This is exactly the issue for Romney, and explains why he continually polls under 50 percent in the state -- he still has not proven he can connect with the average person. Tonight's town hall debate could really help him in that regard, if he performs as well as he did in the last debate.

What do you think? Check out ABC's fantasy electoral college map and let us know what you come up with -- is it different from what we have? Share your EC results with us below.