I feel pretty good about these polls. Of course, I'd like all of them to be better, but they were taken during the BY FAR worst period of Obama's summer campaign. If that was the outcome during that period, it shows good base strength and room to grow as long as we campaign hard and stay on the offensive.
What speaks volumes to me is the ground organization that can't be polled. Kerry's was pitiful and Bush had a sound operation. Now the tables seem to have turned - mass organization on the Obama side and a McCain machine that seems like an underfunded Bush operation without the reach or goodwill. Case in point...
McCain has 9 Ohio offices; Obama has 56 Ohio offices!
McCain has a handful of Pennsylvania offices; Obama has 29 offices!
Even in Florida where McCain has 39 offices and a tremendous amount of demographic strength and appeal - Obama still has 36 offices.
That's not counting the enormous number in places like Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and even North Dakota - where the McCain presence is marginal.
If at all possible, the networks will declare a winner on election night. It just won't happen as soon as it used to, as they will use actual returns rather than exit polling.
I find it exceptionally aggravating that everyone assumes the vote won't be clear, one way or another, on election night. Just because 2000 was that way does not mean that every election from here on out will be like that. The polls may be very close, but this is not the first time they have been, and the national polls only mean so much. Look at the margins in places like WI and IA last election. No trouble calling those. I want to be prepared for funny stuff, but not assuming that the election is aleady tainted so it doesn't matter what happens on election night.
The Repugs want to win as well, but you can bet most want a clear win on election night. We are also more prepared for schemes than last time, and had thousands of Florida votes not "disappeared" we would have won CLEARLY. Protect the vote, and we will not have to wait for months. Remember, if the media calls Kerry or Bush on the night, that individual will have an edge in any ensuing court battles.
However, I have a small but hopeful feeling that 2000 is not going to repeat itself, and we may just be surprised how smoothly this one goes of with both sides watching each other like hawks.
That doesn't mean don't be prepared. Keep both eyes open and GOTV!