Is Pennsylvania Tightening? Does It Matter?
by Todd Beeton, Sat Nov 01, 2008 at 04:27:56 PM EDT
Earlier today I saw on CNN that John McCain had closed Obama's 11 point lead to 8 points. Add that to today's Rasmussen poll that shows Obama up by just 4 points in Pennsylvania (down from 7 points on 10/27) and you have some very real evidence of narrowing in Pennsylvania. But looks can be deceiving.
And the Pennslyvania polls have probably tightened by more than one point, although it is important to note that the four polls that show the state in the mid- single digits (Rasmussen, Mason-Dixon, ARG and Strategic Vision) have all had Republican leans so far this cycle. Pennsylvania is still an extreme long shot for John McCain -- Obama is more likely to win Arizona than McCain the Keystone -- just not quite the long-shot that it had looked like a couple of days ago.
The fact that there is tightening should not come as too much of a surprise considering how much time McCain and Palin have spent in the state. It is their only and final hope. As Bowers makes clear, the only way McCain can win is to win Pennsylvania.
McCain has to win Pennsylvania in order to win the election. Period. He has no other path right now. So, effectively, when I am calling the election for Obama, I am really just calling Pennsylvania for Obama. It's the same thing. Pennsylvania is the win state.
But even that does not guarantee a win. CNN today showed that even if you give McCain all of the toss-up states plus Pennsylvania, McCain still loses 268-270.
Nate Silver looks at the most likely scenario if there is a real tightening at the national level and sees the race coming down to 5 states, Pennsylvania included. Look at what Obama would need to win the presidency:
1. Win Pennsylvania and ANY ONE of Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, or Nevada.
2. Win Ohio and EITHER Colorado OR Virginia.
3. Win Colorado AND Virginia AND Nevada.
In other words, even if McCain wins Pennsylvania, Obama would need to accomplish either #2 or #3, both very plausible scenarios.
This is all to say that while the likelihood of a McCain comeback is still very slim, they've begun the ole final 72 hours kitchen sink strategy. So, we should all heed a wise man's words from a speech in Henderson, NV today:
Don't believe for a second this election is over. Don't think for a minute that power concedes. We have to work like our future depends on it in these last few days, because it does.
But I know this, Nevada, the time for change has come. We have a righteous wind at our back.
And if in these last few days, you will knock on some doors for me, and make some calls for me, and go to barackobama.com and find out where to vote - and remember, you can vote early here in Nevada. If you will stand with me, and fight by my side, and cast your ballot for me, then I promise you this - we will not just win Nevada, we will not just win this election, but together, we will change this country and we will change the world.