With less than a day to go before the US Presidential election, Republican challenger Mitt Romney needs a miracle.
If polls are correct, he faces almost certain defeat - thanks to Barak Obama's advantage in the so-called swing states.
In nationwide polls, the race remains a statistical dead heat, and Mr Romney has an even chance at gaining a majority of the popular vote.
Given Obama's lock on East and West Coast states, and Romney's lead in most of the South, the race comes down to a handful of battleground states - most of them in the Mid West.
There are paths for Mr Romney to reach the magical 270 mark without winning the largest Mid West battleground, Ohio (see the New York Time's Paths to Victory graphic), but they all require an upset win in several states where Obama is regarded as safely ahead
No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, but Politico's latest poll-of-polls has Mr Obama ahead by 50% to 47.1%.
Another factor: although polls show a neck-and-neck nationwide race, they also show that a clear majority of Americans now think Mr Obama will win - and for better-or-worse, last-minute undecided voters often break for he candidate they think will win in their desire not to have backed a loser.
The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight Forecast gives Obama a 92% chance of winning (again assuming swing state polls are accurate). Nate Silver, who writes the blog, says some polls could be rogue, but with 22 out of 23 in close states favouring the incumbent, "it's beyond a coin toss."
Many have already voted
Worse, for Mr Romney, time is running out faster than you might think. Under Ohio's liberal early voting laws, more than 29% of registered voters have already cast their ballot.
Romney has been behind in the Electoral College count all through the race - even after his first debate bounce.
Since Hurricane, Sandy, with the chance it afforded Mr Obama to show leadership, and garner glowing comments from New Jersey's popular Republican Governor Chris Christie, Mr Obama has moved further ahead in the Electoral College tally.
One poll-of-polls has him moving ahead in Virginia since Sandy (the state is often cited as the third most crucial battleground), while a Walls Street Journal/NBC/Marist poll has the president moving ahead in Florida.
If Mr Obama does take Florida, it won't just be a comfortable win - it will be verging on a landslide.
Republicans will hold the house
The better news for Republicans: all polls point to the party holding the House of Representatives, and having a shot at taking control of the Senate from the Democrats.
The election takes place November 6 (Wednesday November 7 NZ time; the Ohio poll will close 2.30pm NZT).
In the event of a 269-269 Electoral College tie, the House of Representatives will decide the President (presumably picking Mr Romney if it the Republicans maintain control) while the Senate will decide the Vice President (if the Democrats manage to maintain their majority, they will pick Mr Obama's running mate Joe Biden).
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
- Sir Bob Jones: Why the newspaper industry is deservedly dying
- ACC buys high, sells low as Intueri surprises investors with cascade of bad news
- Super Fund suspected window dressing at Milford
- Air NZ reiterates warning to shareholders of increased competition
- Stonewood Homes liquidation becoming murkier
Most listened to
- Week in Review: a wrap of NBR Radio's top stories, interviews and analysis
- Craig-Williams trial: Otago University defamation specialist on 'Where to from here?"
- Testy exchange over Super Fund evidence
- 'It’s not as big as it was last year but it’s still the biggest game in town' – Paul Maher talks up TVNZ's audience
- Hydroworks CEO Andrew Rodwell on the company's prospects post-funding.