(CNN) - CNN Monday turned the important battleground state of North Carolina from "lean Romney" to true "toss up" on its Electoral Map, following the release of a new CNN/Time Magazine/ORC International poll that indicated the race for the state's 15 electoral votes was a dead heat.
The move by CNN comes one week before the Democratic convention kicks off in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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The poll, released earlier on Monday, indicates it's all knotted up in the Tar Heel state, with 48% of likely voters supporting Republican challenger Mitt Romney and 47% backing President Barack Obama.
Other polls from other organizations conducted earlier this summer also indicated a close contest in North Carolina.
"It's hard to imagine the perfect storm that helped then Sen. Obama narrowly carry the state in 2008. But at the moment the polling shows a tossup, and both campaigns say their numbers are in the same ballpark as our survey," says CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "That, plus all the attention Democrats are about to give the state, gives us ample reason to move North Carolina to tossup."
"It's a must win for Romney, and even top Obama aides privately say it is a lot harder to see it going blue this time. But Romney can't take it for granted and the poll backs up what we see in the recent ad wars in North Carolina: It's a tight battleground," adds King.
Obama was the first Democrat to carry the state in a presidential election since 1976.
North Carolina now becomes the ninth state CNN considers a true toss up, joining Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. CNN considers Michigan, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania as states that lean towards Obama, with Arizona, Indiana, and Missouri as states that lean towards Romney.
With North Carolina's move to true "toss up," the CNN Electoral Map now suggests Obama leading in states with a combined 237 electoral votes, Romney ahead in states with a combined 191 electoral votes, and states with 110 electoral votes are up for grabs. Two-hundred and seventy electoral votes are needed with win the White House.
- CNN's Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.