I'm not popping anything just yet, except maybe some sleeping pills to get me through the night... In the last few days, pretty much every tracking poll I trust (WaPo, Gallup, Rasmussen) and several I either don't trust (that would be you, Zogby) or don't have much of an opinion about (Kos, Investor's Business Daily) has shifted toward McCain, in some cases sharply. ...And then again today, ironically citing the more sanguine John Judis:
As of this writing, Obama's lead in the national tracking polls looks to be around five points (I get 5.5 when I average all six of the trackers I mentioned, along with the Hotline and Battleground trackers, which haven't changed much in the last few days). If that drops two-to-three points, as it easily could in a week, I don't think it's crazy to think McCain will have a shot at winning Pennsylvania, Virginia, and/or Colorado. Unlikely, yes, but not crazy.
Judis makes a great point in his otherwise overly-optimistic post on the polls:
I mention the Bradley effect because I think, too, that McCain and Sarah Palin's attack against Obama for advocating "spreading the wealth" and for "socialism" and for pronouncing the civil rights revolution a "tragedy" because it didn't deal with the distribution of wealth is aimed ultimately at white working class undecided voters who would construe "spreading the wealth" as giving their money to blacks. It's the latest version of Reagan's "welfare queen" argument from 1980. It if it works, it won't be because most white Americans actually oppose a progressive income tax, but because they fear that Obama will inordinately favor blacks over them.
Worse, though I have no evidence for this (nothing new there), I worry that these insinuations are reinforced in the minds of working-class whites by the millions of African-Americans lining up early to vote for Obama. How sad for the country if McCain ends up jujitsuing something (i.e., record turnout) that should be a source of pride.
Silver is brilliant and has all the confidence of a young black box hedge fund manager. Scheiber, however, has been around the block a few times. Silver writes sanguinely about McCain's need to shave a half-point off Obama's cumulative poll lead per day and the historical unlikelihood of doing so. Scheiber speaks to that gut feeling that polls can shift a lot more suddenly than that.
I'm off to barackobama.com to contribute one last c-note.
P.S. Behind the cool Silver, there's the even cooler (and equally data-based) Obama...