Washington, Sept.16 : John McCain and Barack Obama have 50 days left to determine who among them will be the United States' 44th President.
Heading into the frenzied final weeks, national polls remain essentially even.
If the trends are to be believed, the numbers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Virginia will be crucial to who will win and who will lose the election, reports the New York Daily News.
McCain leads in Ohio, Obama in Pennsylvania and Michigan, but all dozen contests are tight.
The state of the economy at the time of going to vote will also be a key factor.
Voters are jittery about high gas prices, housing woes and the lousy stock market. Obama will hammer away on pocketbook issues.
His strategists believe he can win big if the economy doesn't look better soon.
The first debate is September 26, in Oxford, Missourie.
Early voting begins in bellwether Ohio on September 30. A strong - or weak - performance in the first debate could impact early birds.
The October 2 vice presidential debate in St. Louis may draw a bigger audience than the Top Guns' joust.
The Bureau of Labor of Statistics will release the final unemployment numbers before the balloting October 3. Bad news usually hurts the party in power.
The second debate in Nashville, Tennessee on October 7 will see both Obama and McCain having learnt from Round One.
The October 15 finale at Hofstra will allow voters three weeks to process.
Election Day falls on a Tuesday.