Against an even minimally skilled campaign, I might still be concerned -- but the campaign has McCain in IOWA!
Iowa has been likely off the boards since summer... yet, McCain was just in Iowa yesterday.
I think McCain has less a chance to hold Iowa than Obama has to flip Georgia.
The McCain firewall has been completely breached at this point... I do not see how he can afford to play offense anywhere. The smart move for McCain is to make desperate attempt to stem the bleeding and hope to only lose IA and NM.
The problem is, he needs to hold OH, FL, VA, NC, NV, CO, and IN. Obama just needs any one of those 7. We now have reliable polling showing Obama with marginal to substantial leads in 6 out of the 7. McCain cannot afford time or resources in PA or MI.
I personally thought Obama won by a hair - and thus far, it seems to be only me and the focus groups that were more impressed by Obama on foreign policy than McCain (unlike everybody, I didn't think Obama was that good for the first 30 minutes).
It's amazing... TPM, here, Dailykos, 538 - all the places I hit that were liveblogging -- everyone seems to say either toss-up or slight edge McCain-but he needed more.
Yet - the narrative is QUICKLY developing that Obama won this debate. ALL of the network flash polls are saying the same thing.
Have we jumped the Democratic shark? Are we so invested in worrying about our chances that we've gone off the tracks.
Update [2008-9-26 23:5:26 by Todd Beeton]:But it should be noted that when John McCain acted like a dick against Romney in the primary debates, he was punished with winning the nomination.
It was a Republican nomination contest. Republicans like dicks (stop laughing, you know what I mean). With the Democratic battle full tilt, I don't think there were a lot of indies voting in the GOP primaries.
If Sarah Palin didn't finally lock up the GOP base, I suppose McCain could go the asshole route to get any wingers he hasn't brought on board yet... he'll also lose by 15 pts because indies will desert him in drove.
Just said the same thing above - I think it's a style thing. I just think his cerebral style fits foreign policy well. He's much better on the economic populism than he used to be, but it's just not his style.