Diageo/Hotline poll shows McCain within 5%
Mon October 20, 2008 11:54 am

Obama 47%
McCain 42%

According to politicalwire.com, this is the closest the race has been in two weeks.

This had to happen. The race has been portrayed in the media as so one-sided that the voters were bound to take another look at Obama – and McCain, of course, but this race is all about Obama. It is apparent that the public likes him, but they’re not totally sold on him. McCain must find a way to exploit this uncertainty in order to win the race.

The difficulty for McCain is that not only does he has to turn the popular vote around; he also has to win over voters in particular states. If he gets 70% of the vote in Texas, that doesn’t get him one more electoral vote. And the electoral vote map strongly favors Obama. He is not going to lose any states John Kerry carried in 2004, and he has solid leads in two states Bush carried that year – New Mexico and Iowa. Kerry tallied 251 electoral votes, and the addition of New Mexico (5) and Iowa (7) makes 263. If Obama carries either Virginia or Colorado, two red states in which he is leading, he tops the magic number of 270. In this scenario, McCain would have to win all the other battleground states: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia, Nevada, Montana, and North Dakota – most of these are still in play. Even a sweep would not be enough. He has to have Virginia AND Colorado, too. The country would have to undergo a mammoth shift to McCain in the last week. I can’t see it happening.

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