In truth, the odds are very high that Obama will win this, but... all of that rests upon the supposition that the polls are telling a semi-coherent story. Are they? Who knows, but let's consider a few things.
First, most polls have relentlessly over-polled (according to historic norms) democrats. In 2006, the dems had a 3% advantage in voters. In 2004, it was a tie between dems and pubbies. So, any poll that samples 10% more dems than pubbies is suspect. And, to be honest, that is most of the polls.
Second, the early voting numbers are very confusing, to say the least. I have frankly not been able to make head or tail of them. Anyone who says that the early voting numbers prove that one side or the other is running away with one state or another should note, of course, that while we may have party affiliation for who has voted early, we do NOT have any hard information on which way they have voted. Also, note that the exit polls are likely to be wrong this time, just as they were wrong in 2004.
Third, the various states in play are perhaps not what the polling would lead us to expect. It appears (to judge both from who has been visiting the state in the last few days, as well as some other info out there) that Iowa is very much in play. Hmmm...
So, what of my prediction back in August that McCain would win:
McCain will win with 338 to 200 electoral college votes (how? Well, of the swing states he will get NH, FL, PA, OH, MI, IA, MN, CO, NM, and NV - I think that gives him 338 votes). I think either Romney or Palin will be his VP.Well, I was right about Palin! As for the rest, well, I think that FL and OH are safely in McCain's hands now. I suspect that MI and MN are safely in Obama's hands. If the others (NH, PA, IA, CO, NM and NV) go McCain's way, he wins 311 to 227. If he loses CO, NM and NV it is 292 to 246. If he loses IA and NH too, it goes to 281 to 257. In short, PA is key. Its 21 electoral votes add up to 2 less than CO, NM, NV and NH.
So, can McCain do it? Well, the polls say no, but (see above) the polls are likely a little too optimistic about Obama's support. Also, Obama is not closing well, by which I mean he is not getting clearly above 50% in many of the places where he needs to get that number. For example, he is polling at 47% to 43% with 9% undecided in PA.
Isn't this all rather going against the conventional wisdom? Well, yes, it is. Why might that be? Well, perhaps the conventional wisdom is derived primarily from the mainstream media (MSM) and perhaps, the MSM are completely in the tank for Obama, and perhaps, because they are so completely in the tank for Obama, the MSM do not want people who support McCain to go out and vote, so perhaps they are trying to create the impression that it is all over, so that people who would vote for McCain will not do so? Ya think? Maybe..
There is only one cure for that, to whit - go vote!
Of course, all this analysis is likely me grasping at straws, and Obama likely has this so far in the bag it ain't even funny, which means all you folk who are thinking about voting for him don't need to do that:)