Thursday, October 02, 2008

McCain gives up on Michigan

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Politico's Jonathan Martin has the news:

John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.

McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida...

A McCain aide confirmed the move and chalked it up to the state's Democratic tilt and the resources Obama had put in place there."It was always a long shot for us to win," said the aide.

That's true, but it's also a sign of -- and response to -- Obama's recent surge in the polls. Contrary to what some in the media are still saying, after all, the race is not, at the moment, close. It's not even close to being close. Polls both nationally and in key battleground states show Obama well ahead.

Clearly, McCain is on the defensive. There is still time for him to recover, but his campaign has obviously decided that it can only win by concentrating its efforts on a few states.

Martin's colleague Mike Allen is reporting that the McCain campaign thinks it "must win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Minnesota in order to get enough electoral votes to win the presidency," and that Maine may also be in play -- although Maine allocates its electoral college votes by district; at most he should be able to win one of them.

Notice the difference here: While Obama is looking to bring red states like Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia over to his side, McCain is hoping that everything breaks his way: Ohio, Florida, and one of those three, and one of Maine's districts. It's that desperate for him now, that much of a squeaker. But Obama is doing extremely well in all three of those states -- PA, WI, and MN. He's also pulled ahead in Ohio and Florida, as well as in Nevada, New Mexico, and Virginia. And McCain's up by just one in Indiana. And he's ahead in every national poll, too.

See all the latest poll numbers here. As Nate Silver puts it, "the McCain campaign now seems to be aware that their electoral map is falling apart."

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