Romney’s path to 270: No margin for error

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

Top Line

While national polls show President Obama and Mitt Romney in a tight race, a closer look at the Electoral College map reveals that Romney's path to the White House is more of an uphill struggle than President Obama's.

Obama or Romney needs 270 electoral votes  to win the White House, and with the current state of the race,  Obama only needs to pick up 33 electoral votes to achieve victory, while Romney still needs 64.

The eight battleground states heading into the election are Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Florida. The most important undecided states at play are Virginia with 13 electoral votes, Ohio with 18, and Florida with 29.

Assuming that Obama holds onto the states he is currently expected to win, he has a couple of paths that would secure the White House. In one scenario, if Obama wins Virginia and Ohio on election night,  bumping his tally to 268 electoral votes, he would need to snatch just one other small state, such as New Hampshire or Colorado, to cross the victory line.  In an alternative scenario, he could afford to lose Virginia and Ohio all together, so long as he wins Florida.  With Florida's 29 votes, he'd be just 4 electoral votes from crossing the 270 threshold.

For Romney, on the other hand, there is no alternative path to victory so long as the current electoral projections hold true. It is essential that he win Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, plus Ohio or Virginia to bring the electoral vote tally into a dead heat with President Obama -- turning Election Day into a late night.

Do you agree with our forecasts? Map out Romney or Obama's road to the White House yourself, with ABC's "Fantasy" Electoral College map.

ABC News' Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.