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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, October 31, 2008

McCain's four-day map

by folkbum


That's the map as I type this. Here's the deal: The light blue states are states that Obama is leading in by less than eight points. The yellow states are the ones neither candidate is winning by more than four. Let's assume that the panicky Republicans who have been balming themselves all week about sample sizes are correct, and that pollsters are oversampling Democrats and inflating Barack Obama's numbers by, say 5%. No, 6%. Does that seem fair? (A 6% bias toward Obama would suggest that the race is really tied nationally.)

John McCain would have to win every single state in yellow, which he would do if his support is overstated by 6%, to get close to 270 electoral votes. Even if he does that, though (and you can all do the math as well as I can), he's at 227 electoral votes, and Obama wins. So McCain must pick off the light blue states--Virginia (13 EVs), Ohio (20 EVs), Colorado (5 EVs), and Nevada (9 EVs). Now, all of those states are outside of the 6% handicap we're allowing McCain--except Nevada, which Obama is winning by 5.9%. With McCain winning all of them, he comes in at 274 electoral votes and wins a squeaker.

To pull that off, in four days (three and a half, now), McCain needs to eat away another two or three percent of Obama supporters in at least those four states--assuming that the polls are wrong. If you look at the national trend, that looks to be close to impossible:

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In the entire month of October, McCain has managed to inch up his numbers, but he's not been able to bring Obama's numbers down much at all. Obama started the month at about 49%, and he's still at about 50% now, down from about 51%, his high. Unless there is a sharp downward movement of Obama's line, McCain will not be able to make up the two or three percent he would need above the pretend 6% we've already spotted him. At no time since McCain's convention bounce have Obama's numbers moved downward that fast.

I'm not saying it's all over, or that we can get complacent and start celebrating now. I am, however, trying to think realistically. Even if the right is right and the pollsters are all "in the tank" for Obama, McCain is still losing right now. In the meantime, go volunteer for a Democrat this weekend.

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