(CBS News) A roundtable of reporters and analysts on "Face the Nation" said Sunday that President Obama has a slight advantage heading into the final two months of before Election Day.
CBS News Political Director John Dickerson said that "Obama has a little bit of an advantage. He's getting a little bit of a bump coming out of his convention, although the wet blanket of the jobs numbers on Friday make everybody pretty tentative about seeing want kind of size of bump he's got."
"I think it's a fairly stable race if you look at the last few months, but not stable in a way that's very favorable to Romney," former Bush speech writer Michael Gerson added. "He has dwindling opportunities to change the fundamental dynamics of this race, which puts tremendous pressure on the debate."
Dickerson said that the president's path to victory is a little easier than it is for Romney.
"The president has a better map, as they say, which is, say if you look at the battleground states that they're competing in, the president doesn't have to win all nine. He is doing well in states that went for George Bush, so he's tending to play on Republican turf, so the map looks a little bit better for him."
Dickerson said that Romney however, would "have to basically win the other eight [battleground states]. He'd have to run the table if he lost Ohio."
The first presidential debate will be held on October 3, with two more to follow on Oct. 16 and Oct. 22. And while that may presents opportunities for both candidates to sway undecided voters, early voting means some ballots will be cast before the debates are done.
"[V]oting's starting in Iowa very soon, in less than three weeks. Though it's one thing to keep in mind as we watch them travel and as we think about Election Day, some of this voting is going to start much earlier than in the beginning of November," Dickerson added.
"I would only add that Obama has two challenges out there, too, that I think they recognize," Gerson said. "[T]urnout of your own people really matters. And there is an enthusiasm gap that they measure and are concerned about, among minority groups, others that support the president, that they have to take seriously.
"The second one is whether just the overall economic numbers, which we just saw, act as a wet blanket on this, and kind of create a ceiling below 50 percent for the president that makes it just hard for him to get those incremental gains going forward. That could be a real challenge for him."
New York Times journalist David Sanger said Romney has an "opening" to talk about his economic plan, which he also said President Obama has failed to do.
"So far, we haven't seen either candidate, you know, do that," Sanger said. "In fact I can't remember two less memorable convention speeches than these two."
Leigh Ann Caldwell