The consulting firm headed by Karl Rove is out with the latest in its series of Electoral College maps, and this one (available in PDF form here) shows Barack Obama coasting to a win over John McCain.
This newest map, which is put together based on averages of state-by-state polling, differs sharply from other maps that the firm produced in May. Those had shown Hillary Clinton beating McCain but Obama trailing. Now, Rove's firm sees Obama winning 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, for a total of 272 Electoral College votes -- two more than the 270 needed for victory. McCain has 21 states and 183 Electoral College votes in his column, and seven states, which combine for a total of 83 Electoral College votes, are considered tossups.
There's some very good news in here for Obama. NBC's First Read blog observes that "per this map -- right now -- Obama could lose every toss-up state (Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada) and still win the presidential election." As First Read also notes, though, the recent polling from Quinnipiac that showed Obama trending down in four potentially key states -- Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- was not taken into account. (The map shows Obama winning all four states.)
A graph of the trend in polling that accompanies the map is also interesting; it shows Obama way up overall -- and McCain way down -- since early June. But the week between July 13 and July 19 was a bad one for Obama, as he went from 296 Electoral College votes on July 13 to the current 272. As always, my standard disclaimers about polling done this far away from Election Day apply both to the trends and to the map itself.