As a poll watcher, it is hard to avoid RealClearPolitics homepage. On it, there is a list of important states that could swing this election. Right now, almost all of those states are tied.
National: Obama +2.7
Wow. But a couple observations would be prudent. First, McCain needs to win almost all of these states. He could lose MI or OH, but not both. And the map gets real hard without VA, CO and FL. So the fact that Obama leads in several means Obama still leads the race… barely.
Second, most of the state polls are averages of polls that are 2-4 weeks old. The race has tightened in that time. Thus, the states may be more pro-McCain than those averages indicate.
Third, I think it’s unlikely someone wins the election without winning the popular vote. I am continually doing a thought experiment that asks “what if McCain moved the country to Obama +0… how would states be affected?” Assuming a 2.7% shift toward McCain to make the national vote a toss-up, it would move FL, OH, MO, CO, and VA into his column. This is heartening news, especially for CO and VA. Thus, if McCain can tie up the national vote, he will lead in electoral votes.
Finally, the most recent national polls show a tie. Gallup and Rasmussen in their last two tracking polls have shown Obama +1 or a tie. All of this polling was done before the “race card” flap that may hurt Obama even more.
We can’t be blind to the fact that Obama still has a 60% chance of winning, but that is his lowest point since grabbing the nomination in May. The last week or two has been good for Senator McCain and bad for Senator Obama.