I thought this would be a good time to take a look at how several battleground states are faring in the 2K8 Presidential race. Instead of looking at specific polls, let's look at the Pollster.com composites.
One thing that stands out from these graphs is the dramatic decline in McCain's numbers in early September. He had a bounce from the Republican Convention, but he collapses very soon after. The two main events in September - the vetting of Sarah Palin and the Wall Street crisis - just destroyed his campaign. It's almost as though the entire race to that point was a wash.
I've been arguing for a long time that 2K8 would play out like 1980. America clearly detests George W. Bush and GOP rule, but they still had reservations on who to replace with. Both Obama and McCain presented themselves as "change" candidates, although for McCain it's far more recent (and cynical, considering Bush and Rove's men run his campaign). In this scenario, the voters will wait and observe carefully, and begin to make their minds during the span of debates. But once they make their decision, the race would open up and a clear winner would emerge.
This is precisely what we've seen. Obama has handled the last several weeks masterfully. McCain....ehh, not so much. I've never seen a campaign dissolve into self-parody so badly, and so quickly. But the Republicans have nothing to offer this year. The jig is up. All that is left is the usual culture war slurs and trivial distractions. Who knows? Maybe it would have worked if Wall Street hadn't suddenly exploded. We need some real adults in charge, not this sorry batch of clueless children and crooked swindlers.
The entire Conservative Republican brand has collapsed. It will still be a seller in the reddest of the red states, but its reach continues to shrink as its power fades. Pretty soon, it may be hard to tell the GOP apart from the televangelist circuit. The rest of America will move on.
Anyway, let's take a look at how these states are doing. Currently, Pollster.com shows Obama leading with 286 electoral votes; McCain is holding onto 157 electoral votes, with 95 electoral votes in the "toss-up" category. The swift momentum towards Obama, however, means that a number of states are still in play. Some states, like West Virginia, is very volatile, and only God knows where Ohio and Florida will finish.
2K8 battleground states include Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. Georgia is tightening up, but will it change blue before November 4?
Ideally, I'd like to see us win all the battleground states, and I think it's very doable. It will be very close, which makes me worried (read the latest Rolling Stone on voter suppression), but the final score will come down to the ground game and the final momentum. Obama has everything in his favor, so the stage is set for some dramatic finishes.
I was hoping earlier that McCain's base support would drop, as the GOP succumbs to infighting. But I don't think that will happen now. The wingnut base has been fired up, and as the rhetoric gets worse and worse, the odds of their staying home on election day fall. Barring any last-minute crash in support, I expect to see the Republican base in full support. Thank goodness they're only 25% of the nation, eh?
For us, however, our focus must be two-fold. We must work our tails off for Obama, but we must also hustle for the Congressional races. Here in Minnesota, we have three key races that we can win, and must win. Michelle Bachmann and Norm Coleman must be defeated. Good lord, this is Minnesota, fer cryin' out loud. Time to work those telephones, knock on those doors, and donate some money. We need more YouTube videos, too. Any creative types out there?