[iframe src=”http://apps.the-american-interest.com/campaign/index-embed-magic-520.php”]The 2012 presidential election continued to tighten in May. President Obama still leads both in the polls and in our electoral college map, but his lead — within the margin of error — continues to slip.No new states have flipped into the GOP column; if the election were held today and the national swing away from Obama since 2008 worked out evenly among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, President Obama would win a narrow 285-253 vote in the electoral college.In practical terms, that means that President Obama’s current level of support is enough to keep Virginia and Colorado in his camp. But a further swing of only 1.92 percent would hand those states, and the election, to Governor Romney.With the numbers this close and more than five months to go until the election, the only thing we can say now is that both the Democrats and the GOP have a good chance of winning the White House next November. On balance, that is slightly worse news for the incumbent than for the challenger; ideally a sitting president would want a bigger electoral cushion than Obama now has. Undecideds tend to break toward the challenger; our methodology currently divides them evenly between the two.On the other hand, Romney’s slow rise in the polls looks more as if disgruntled backers of other GOP primary candidates are making up their mind to stick with the party; Romney is rebuilding his base at this point rather than cutting into Obama’s. He won’t win unless he starts taking independents and even some Democrats out of the Obama camp.As the Romney campaign and the various super PACs assembling on that side of the aisle make their plans, we are going to see how firm the President’s support really is. Since President Obama had no opposition in his own party for the nomination this time around, he has been able to stay in the Rose Garden and hold events that highlight the sides of his presidency and personality he believes will appeal to key groups of voters. But now the Republican artillery is about to launch its first real anti-Obama ad barrages in a spring tryout of themes GOP operatives hope will work in November.We should soon start to see whether these ads are having an impact, but there are still several months to go before the presidential race really starts.