Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain pollster expects election will be "too close to call"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Notwithstanding Obama's strong numbers in the polls, both nationally and at the state level, the McCain people are remaining upbeat, or delusional, or tuned to some alternate reality that may or may not contain some truth -- or at least one of his pollsters is:

John McCain's campaign has seen "significant" progress in internal polling in the last week, Republican pollster Bill McInturff said Tuesday, with notable strides among rural voters and soft Democrats.

McInturff, the campaign's chief pollster, made a case for the viability of the campaign in a memo to the strategy team, which was released to the media late Tuesday. The campaign has seen the race between McCain and Barack Obama move "significantly over the past week," McInturff said."All signs say we are headed to an election that may easily be too close to call by next Tuesday."

To be sure, public polling data both nationally and in battleground states tell a different story. Obama has a several-point lead nationally and has broken the 50% barrier in many battleground states.

But each campaign conducts extensive polling of its own and, according to McInturff, the McCain campaign has reason to be hopeful.

Well... maybe. It's just not clear that even a "significant" move in McCain's direction will make all that much of a difference in the end.

And maybe the public polls really are -- well, if not wrong, then misleading. (As Noam Scheiber puts it, there is good reason to be "still sweating an Obama victory." The race does seem to be tightening, worryingly so.)

We'll know soon enough.

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