Thursday, October 02, 2008Not checkmate, not yet, but definitely check. McCain is pulling out of Michigan. This is a major blow to his campaign, given the amount of resources they've been pouring into the state. Now there are other Kerry states that McCain has been targeting - Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, but if they're abandoning Michigan, I think it's very likely they'll be able to flip any of those states. He'll probably go all in in Pennsylvania, but no Republican has won there since George H.W. Bush in 1988 - and he won in a squeaker while he was romping nationwide. Color me skeptical.
So what does McCain's electoral college map look like now? Well, if Obama can count on the Gore states - in each of which he has never lost his lead, even during McCain's post-convention bounce, then that puts him at 260 electoral college votes. So McCain will try to flip New Hampshire and Colorado. Colorado has been inclining to Obama for a long time, but New Hampshire has been close. This of course assumes that McCain holds Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida - which he has a good chance of doing if the national poll numbers close up some.
The election is still a month away, but the McCain campaign is running out of time, out of money, and out of options. My prediction? He goes hard negative (yes, even nastier) while concentrating his resources in those states. I also predict that, if Obama still has a 5-point national league at week from now, McCain also abandons Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.
And remember, the only reason McCain is financially competitive right now is because the Republican National Committee is starving its congressional candidates. If the deterioration in Republican-held Senate seats continues, wait for a nasty meeting at RNC HQ over whether they try to prevent a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate majority or whether they try to hold the White House.