They won't officially declare the election over, but the experts at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics Thursday declared that President Obama's surge in key battleground state polls has pushed him well over the magic mark of 270 Electoral College votes, meaning his reelection is all but a lock.
"We are not calling the race," said the experts, but the polls currently show "a decisive Obama victory."
The team of Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley said if the election were held today, Obama would win 290 Electoral Votes, Mitt Romney 204. And the 42 toss-up Electoral Votes would not be enough to help Romney even if he took them all.
Theirs is the first to essentially declare Obama the winner and it comes after they switched several battleground states from toss-up to leaning Democrat, including Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada. The change mirrors new polling in those states and caps a two-week trend favoring Obama in state polls.
They caution that there are a few hurdles yet for Obama to clear, including the upcoming trio of presidential debates and continued bad economic reports. But they said those problems were only "theoretical" and concluded that "caution is always in order with almost six weeks to go, yet President Obama clearly leads at the moment."
What's more, with Obama's improving fortune is the likelihood he will have coattails for House and Senate candidates to grab onto. According to the new U.Va. analysis, the Senate looks to stay in Democratic hands and House Democrats will claw closer to control, but likely not win it.