Friday, October 31, 2008

Take comfort, my friends

By Michael J.W. Stickings

There is a good deal of anxiety out there, I know, what with McCain seemingly closing the gap, at least in the national polls.

I'm full of anxiety myself.

But a new CBS/NYT poll still has Obama with a double-digit lead over McCain, 52 to 41. And it doesn't look like there will be "significant movement in the campaign's final days," given that there are so few undecideds left (just five percent of likely voters).

And consider this: "Seventeen percent of registered voters say they have already voted, either by absentee ballot or at early voting sites, and this group favors Obama by a large margin. The 13 percent of registered voters casting ballots for the first time favor Obama over McCain by two-to-one."

In other words, Obama already has a massive lead.

Take a look at Nate Silver's round-up of the latest national and state polls. What stands out? Obama is still well ahead in the national polls. Even the anxiety-ridden Noam Scheiber now thinks that "the national bleeding looks like it's stopped."

Meanwhile, McCain is barely holding on in red states like Montana, Louisiana, and Arizona.

I'm not saying it's over. It's not. Some of the national polls are, well, worrying, including two that have Obama up by just three. Maybe McCain's internal polls are right and the various public polls are flawed. And maybe there's just something we're missing -- like the prospect of heavy Republican turnout (or efforts to suppress Democratic turnout).

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

But here we are, just four days out, and I'm trying not to let the anxiety get the better of me. Call me delusional, if you want, but we can take comfort, I think, in the numbers.

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