The path without Ohio

Virginia initially seemed the least likely of the three states to be considered safe for Romney, as Obama had enjoyed a small but stable lead for much of the year. But now Romney has led four of the most recent six polls in the commonwealth, including a McLaughlin & Associates poll that put him ahead, 51 percent to 44 percent. (John McLaughlin is a Republican pollster.)

So three of the Romney must-have states are now looking significantly better, if not yet β€œin the bag.”

The next states that appear to be drifting red are Colorado and New Hampshire. In Colorado, Obama enjoyed a lead for much of the year, but Romney appears to be surging of late, leading in four of the last six polls. If the Suffolk threshold of 47 percent for an incumbent president is indeed the best measuring stick, it is worth noting that Obama has been at or below 47 percent in five of those six polls in Colorado. Perhaps that high mountain altitude really is a problem for Obama.