Thursday, July 10, 2008

48% to 40% with 117 days to go

Barack Obama maintains a very strong lead in the US Presidential race as we close in on the final stretch after what seems like an eternity of campaigning. In fact I think "campaign fatigue" is working in Obama's favor both because he's the guy going into the final few months with the big mo as well as the guy with stamina that will certainly last through the end of this election. Although yesterday's Iran comments by both candidates were weak, McCain stumbled so badly one almost had to wonder if he was suffering from some sort of mental lapse during the interview.

The latest polls appear to show the huge McCain Obama gap closing, but it's not clear to me how significant this is, or even how significant the polls are at this stage. Look for undecided voters in the tossup states to be the critical factor in this election. Obama cannot lose California or New York, and McCain cannot lose several states in the South. It is the voters in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and other close states that will push somebody over the top, and it will not necessarily be the candidate with the most votes. In fact I'd argue Obama is very likely to win the national popular vote by at least a million, but this will not necessarily translate into the electoral votes needed to win. In fact the electoral college was in part designed to equalize smaller states and larger ones and the smaller states are more conservative, so McCain will likely benefit from more folly in what has become the questionable legacy of our seriously flawed electoral college system.

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