On aggregate, the combined score of Insiders from both parties gives the president slightly less than a 60 percent chance at reaching 270 electoral votes.
A fierce debate over which campaign has momentum, if there's any at all, has consumed the presidential race of late. But many of National Journal's GOP Insiders are convinced the trend favors Romney and will propel him to victory.
"This is the first time that I really feel the momentum swinging to Romney," said one Republican. "It has been a slow progression for the Republican since early September, but it is steady and no matter what Obama throws at him, it doesn't hurt."
Said another Republican, "The trend is definitely in favor of Romney -- with independents leading the way."
Romney has stirred hope among Republicans that he's expanded the number of battlegrounds in which he's competing with the president, placing ad buys in once safely blue states like Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Democrats have called the move a bluff -- public polling indicates Obama does carry at least a small lead in each of the trio.
"Obama's held on to his defensive perimeter longer than anyone expected, but he's also left his flanks exposed in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota," one GOP Insiders said.
National polls depict the race as a dead heat, with many even giving the GOP presidential nominee a slight edge. But battleground-state polling is more favorable for the president.
"Romney has not gained ground in the key battleground states," said a Democratic Insider. "It is hard to see him winning Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Ohio, and it looks like he needs all of them."
Said another, "I was a 9 before the debates -- Romney has momentum but still has a difficult electoral map."
One more Democrat chimed in: "It's all about the swing states. Every national poll that's reported is increasingly irrelevant as the President leads in Ohio, Wisconsin, and others."
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