Bush’s victory map from 2004, totaling 286 electoral votes, gives McCain little room for error. Iowa already appears well out of reach for McCain, and he trails in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. With 21 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has become a must-win state for McCain.
On RealClearPolitics.com, which calculates the averages of recent polls, Obama is ahead in Pennsylvania by 7.6 percentage points and in Ohio by 4.3 percent. In modern history, no Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio.
On Sunday, McCain’s campaign team argued vigorously that the senator from Arizona can come back, pointing to selective polls – and the campaign’s own internal polling – that show all is not lost. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis noted that the Mason-Dixon polling firm now shows McCain ahead in Ohio by two points and up by only four points in Pennsylvania.
“I think that what we’re in for is a slam-bang finish, I mean, it’s going to be wild,” said Mr. Davis. “I think that we are able to close this campaign. John McCain may be the greatest closer politician of all time.”
Also speaking on Fox News Sunday, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe presented an alternate scenario. He says that the Democrats’ big registration push in Pennsylvania – where there are now 1.2 million more registered Democrats than Republicans – gives Obama a decisive edge there. He also predicted a higher national turnout than the 130 million voters the McCain has forecasted, which itself would beat the record 122 million voters who turned out four years ago.