Thursday, October 23, 2008

12 Days

Despite one outlier AP/GfK poll that shows the race tightening to a single point, the McCain situation gets bleaker by the moment. The latest national polls show him 8, 10, 12 or even 14 points down. The daily tracking polls are a little kinder (usually showing about a 6 point deficit), but they haven’t shown any movement McCain’s way in the past week.

The state by state situation is even bleaker. Despite some anecdotal evidence that the race is tightening in Pennsylvania or Iowa, the latest polls just don’t seem to support it. McCain supporters are left with the usual “polls are wrong” and “the silent majority will speak” arguments, that might be persuasive in a tighter race.

Further, the down-ballot races all seem to be moving Democratic. Even if you assume that Obama isn’t as popular as Democrats as a whole, this down-ballot tidal wave would certainly help Obama. (I don’t buy that assumption, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the “generic” Democrat numbers out perform Obama on Election Day.)

Not that all is lost for McCain, but it does mean that something new should be tried. Mike Murphy (McCain’s 2000 advisor) suggests a national address “Hail Mary” that would include a mini-Mea Culpa for the negativity that has been seen in this campaign. It might appear desperate, but at this point McCain has nothing to lose. He can continue to campaign as he has and lose, or he can try something different and hope for a miracle.

(That said, after listening to McCain’s grumpy appearance on the Imus show yesterday, he doesn’t appear to be in the mood for game changing.)