In the wake of a new Washington Post poll that shows President Obama opening up an eight-point lead among likely voters in Ohio, along with a slew of other survey data -- public and private -- that shows the incumbent with a clear edge, we are moving the Buckeye State from "toss up" to "Lean Obama."

With the change, Obama now has 255 electoral votes either solidly (196) in his camp or leaning (59) in his direction. He needs only 15 more to win a second term in six weeks time.

The Ohio move is one that we have -- publicly -- contemplated for quite a while now, as the public polling has signaled clear movement toward Obama. Here's how the Real Clear Politics poll of polls in Ohio looks at the moment:

Our main reason for waiting to make any Ohio move was to steer clear of any temporary bump Obama got from the Democratic National Convention. It's now clear that, convention or no convention, the Buckeye State has tilted toward Obama, and if nothing major changes between now and Election Day, the incumbent will win the state.

That's a major development in this campaign. First of all, no Republican has ever been elected president without carrying Ohio. Second, as we have noted in several recent posts, even with Ohio and its 18 electoral votes, Romney faces a narrow path to the 270 electoral votes he needs. Subtract Ohio and the math becomes that much more difficult.

Remember that with Ohio leaning his way, Obama needs to win only 15 more electoral votes to claim a second term. Win Nevada and Colorado (and lose every other state we currently rate as a toss up or lean/solid Romney), and Obama wins. Win Wisconsin and Iowa, and Obama wins. Carry Florida, and Obama wins.

The best thing that Romney has going for him in Ohio -- and nationally -- is that the election is six weeks from today and not today. That should allow his campaign, the Republican National Committee and various conservative outside groups an opportunity to turn around a race/state that is just not headed in the right direction for Romney at the moment.

Warren launches ad defending herself on Native American issue: Elizabeth Warren took to the airwaves Monday to defend herself against charges that she sought to gain professionally by claiming Native American heritage.

The charge has dogged her campaign for months, with Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) campaign launching an ad this week alleging that she claimed the heritage (she says she is 1/32nd Native American) to advance her career. By the end of the day, Warren launched her response ad.

"Let me be clear: I never asked for, never got any benefit because of my heritage," Warren says directly to the camera. "The people who hired me have all said they didn’t even know about it.

“Scott Brown can continue attacking my family, but I’m going to keep fighting for yours."

The ad, of course, is a tacit acknowledgement that the issue threatens her campaign, which has recently made gains in the polls. The kind of direct-to-camera defense utilized by the Warren campaign is generally what you see from candidates facing some kind of damaging scandal or problem.


Obama says the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya "wasn’t just a mob action."

The Iowa Republican Party increases its registration advantage.

A federal judge in Florida declines to prevent the state from reducing early voting from 14 days to eight.

In Rep. Joe Donnelly's (D-Ind.) new TV ad, he says the Senate candidate is in the "Hoosier common sense middle."

Tim Kaine and George Allen show off their cooking skills.

Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon (R) was late with more property tax bills.

One of the four New York state senators who voted for the state's gay marriage law was apparently defeated in a primary Monday. Another claimed victory in his primary.

Police say nothing on Rep. Michael Grimm's (R-N.Y.) campaign office computers was tampered with or erased, in contrast to the Grimm campaign's version of events following vandalism of the office over the weekend.


"New Rules Upend House Re-Election Races in California" -- Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times