Now that Romney has captured the nomination for the Republicans, let's look at the state of the polling:
As of today, Obama holds a 4-point lead in the RCP averages over Romney in the general election at-large polling. Basically, the only poll that is consistently going Romney's way is Rasmussen's tracking poll (big surprise there).
Gallup has now rebounded to +7 Obama, from an initial deficit of about +4 Romney. That was pretty fast, actually - the bounce Romney got from Santorum dropping out didn't last long.
Here's the RCP electoral college map:
I really don't know why they don't have more states turned light blue on that map, considering the handsome leads Obama enjoys there. I suspect that they have political motivations for doing so, as RCP is generally a right-leaning site.
The so-called 'safe' states for each candidate, per RCP, put Obama at 227 Electoral Votes and Romney at 170. So it's going to be an easier battle for Obama to win the swing states he needs, right off the bat.
Obama needs another 43 EV's to lock the thing up.
Romney needs another 100 EV's to win.
Some interesting states:
NV (6 EV) - Obama + 6.7
CO (9 EV)- Obama +13(!) in the latest poll - the only one to poll CO this cycle, though, is PPP, who is a Dem pollster.
PA (20 EV) - Obama +6
OH (18 EV)- Obama +5.3. Obama has lead 19 out of the last 20 polls in OH.
FL (29 EV) - Obama +4.2. Romney hasn't lead a poll there since January.
VA (13 EV) - Obama +4. Polling has wildly fluctuated in VA though so this is a really soft lead for Obama.
NC (15 EV) - RCP doesn't give an average here, but if they did, it would be Obama +1. Like VA polling has been all over the place here.
NH (4 EV) - Obama +4. This is only an average of two polls, though, and both have less than 500 respondents. I would bet anything that Obama wins here though.
IA (6 EV) - Obama +3, but based on really skimpy polling. True toss-up. I will note that Ron Paul's people have been working IA heavily for months and he will likely actually win the delegates of that state; that probably doesn't bode too well for Romney in the Fall. But who knows.
MO (10 EV) - no average here, once again, but this one is a clear lead for Romney - Obama hasn't done better than tie any poll there this entire cycle.
AZ (11 EV) - Romney +4.5, another clear lead for Romney, with no poll putting Obama on top this cycle.
You can easily see that Obama has a WIDE variety of options to get the 43 EV's he needs to win. I would say right off the bat that I think it to be extremely likely that Obama will win PA, CO and NV - the polling in those states has just constantly been in Obama's favor, all three voted his way in 2008 and all three states have trended blue nationally for a while now (Bush won CO in 2004 but only by a bit).
That would be 35 of the 43 EV's Obama needs. He could win just one of OH, VA, NC, or FL and win. He could win IA and NH and win.
That's a pretty favorable landscape for Obama. Romney basically needs to win4/5 of the toss-up states in order to win the election; and not the little ones, either. It's really difficult to see a Romney victory without him winning both FL and OH.
How will this change in the upcoming months, when we have debates, massive spending by third-party groups, economic shifts, and possible gov't shutdowns? We'll have to wait and see. But the initial polling data is in Obama's favor and it will take a lot of work for Romney to overcome him.