Another Electoral Map
Here's the latest electoral map. (It doesn't take the Vice Presidential debate into account, but then, who cares?)
Zogby has become useless because they don't post their latest poll numbers, so I've switched to the fivethirtyeight.com site, which lists basically every poll for every state for months. I look at the last two or three polls for each state (if they're recent) and take the median. The site actually has a complex regression analysis based on the reliability of each polling organization, but I can't follow their logic and so I don't adopt their projections.
A lot more blue. Nearly every shift has been in Obama's direction. McCain has gained some ground in Maine and New Mexico, but he's lost ground practically everywhere else, to the point where he's essentially written off Michigan and is transferring those forces to Indiana and/or Ohio (a very smart move, because he could still win Indiana, and if he loses it he's sunk).
The election is going to be won or lost, I think, in the crescent running from North Carolina to Indiana.
When I run the numbers column-by-column, the states in which Obama is 5 or more points ahead (the dark blue and medium blue) add up to 260 electoral votes, and there are five states (with 69 electoral votes) in which he is 1-4 points ahead (the pale blue).
We still have 32 days to go, and surprises do happen. McCain is a smart man and he's got a professional team. The economy could take a sudden upturn, there could be foreign attack, or Bin Laden could release another tape (I've always believed that his 2004 tape was designed to ensure Bush's reelection). Still, right now it looks like "Obama's to lose."