It might take a “miracle” in the words of one Republican strategist, but the McCain campaign isn’t giving up hope. Some Republican strategists think McCain can make a race of it today, and they doubt some of the polling that has Obama solidly ahead.
“There’s always hope,” says Republican pollster Adam Geller. “The trend is that the race is tightening, and there is always the possibility that the public pollsters are underestimating McCain’s turnout, or overestimating Obama’s turnout.”
Some national polls that show a large lead for Obama have a big party id spread for Democrats. Republican strategist John Feehery thinks in some cases that spread is too big. “This is a historic and unique election no doubt,” he says. “But these polls are making a lot of assumptions.”
What is clear is that over the past week of this campaign undecided voters appeared to be breaking toward John McCain, and the demographics of the remaining undecideds suggest that trend could continue through Tuesday. On average the remaining undecided voters are white and older—which means they are more likely to back McCain than Obama.
But Feehery thinks the accuracy of the polling isn’t as big an issue as the impact the media polls may have on Republican turnout—a factor he thinks is being woefully underreported.
“It impacts the storyline in such a big way,” says Feehery. “If the polls were a bit closer the story is, it’s a close race and McCain may have a shot at this. Instead, the story is ‘McCain has no chance.’ It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
We should know early this evening whether or not McCain is still alive. Polls close in Virginia, Indiana and Georgia at 7 p.m. eastern time. If Obama finds a way to win any of the three, the Democrat is likely on his way to victory. But if McCain is able to hold all three of those states, he certainly has a path to the White House.
Shane D’Aprile is web editor at Politics magazine. firstname.lastname@example.org