John King on CNN:
Most people top in the McCain campaign now believe New Mexico and Iowa are gone, that Barack Obama will win New Mexico and Iowa. They are now off the dream list of the McCain campaign. More interestingly, most top people inside the McCain campaign think Colorado is gone.
So they are now finishing with a very risky strategy. Win Florida. Win Nevada ... And here is the biggest risk of all -- yes they have to win North Carolina, yes they have to win Ohio, yes they have to win Virginia, trailing or dead-even in all those states right now. But they are betting Wolf on coming back and taking the state of Pennsylvania. It has become the critical state now in the McCain electoral scenario. And they are down 10, 12, and even 14 points in some polls there. But they say as Colorado, Iowa and other states drift away, they think they have to take a big state. 21 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, Wolf, watch that state over the next few weeks.
Iowa and New Mexico have been gone for some time. It made no sense for the McCain camp to be spending so much time and money in those states. And now, rather than try and hold some of their biggest Bush states, they are embarking on a crazy mission to wrestle Blue Pennsylvania away from Obama despite huge leads in the polls. In essence, they're shooting for this map:
Note that if they get Pennsylvania, they can still afford to lose Virginia or Missouri, as well as smaller states like Nevada and North Dakota. But do they really think they can make inroads in Pennsylvania?
Muhlenberg: O53, O41
SUSA: O52, M38
Marist: O53, O41
Strategic Vision (R): O54, M40
Rasmussen: O54, M41
That's remarkable consistency between the pollsters -- Obama between 52-54, and McCain between 38-41. There's nothing here to give McCain's campaign, or his supporters, hope that this strategy will pay off. Not to mention that they're investing so much time and money into Pennsylvania that it has given Obama an opening in places like Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, and so on. And Nevada is looking increasingly good -- pair up the Silver State with Missouri, Virginia, or North Carolina, and it matters little (for electoral purposes) what happens in Pennsylvania.
But it's not as if Democrats are sweating Pennsylvania. Word is out that Obama will quit campaigning in Blue states.
He and his aides appear so confident of his prospects that apart from a brief stop in Madison, Wis., next Thursday, Obama currently has no plans during the next 10 days to return to Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Hampshire or any other state that voted for John Kerry in 2004.
Instead, he intends to spend two days this week in Florida, where early voting begins on Monday, and travel to Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico and possibly Nevada and Indiana. Those states hold 97 electoral votes combined, and Bush all in 2004.
So McCain is betting everything on a state so pro-Obama, that Obama no longer plans on visiting it before Election Day. Meanwhile, our guy will be pushing deep into Red territory, working toward a broad popular and geographic mandate.
I love how things look two weeks out.