Steve Lombardo of Pollster.com writes:
The economic situation has virtually ended John McCain’s presidential aspirations and no amount of tactical maneuvering in the final 29 days is likely to change that equation. …
The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Obama with a 7-point lead (50% to 43%), his largest since he was nominated at the Democratic Convention. Internals suggest that McCain is hemorrhaging with Independents, women (a group that temporarily moved toward him in late August and early September) and younger voters.
Additionally, there is a body of evidence growing that suggests that McCain’s unfavorable rating has picked up dramatically in the last 14 days. As perceptions of him have diminished, perceptions of Obama have improved. …
As of today we have Obama sitting comfortably with 264 electoral votes. [NB. Only six short of the 270 electoral votes needed to win.]
McCain has only 163. It is very unlikely that any of the states we have put in the Obama column will switch to McCain in the coming weeks. Therefore, McCain has to win nearly all of the remaining toss-up states to win in November.
Here’s Lombardo’s electoral map. Click to see the full-sized version at Pollster.com:
The election campaign has four weeks to go. It’s still possible that something dramatic could happen to shake up the race: possible but unlikely. Nate Silver comments:
McCain needs a game changer. Or two. Or three. Tonight’s debate, which features McCain’s preferred town hall format, might be his best remaining opportunity.
It’s true: McCain is extraordinarily strong in town hall meetings. And Obama’s professorial detachment is not a good fit for a setting where the idea is to get up close and personal with voters.
So this is, indeed, McCain’s best opportunity to change the dynamic. But his personal brand is badly tarnished; and his performance during the period from Sept. 15 to 26 (when McCain responded erratically to the financial crisis) seems to have shifted the brass ring beyond his grasp.