The debates are done. The mail-in election has already started. The Obama campaign will go on hiatus for a couple of days while he visits his ailing grandmother. So it's a good time to pause and take stock. Rather, it's a good time for our resident armchair political strategist Peter Feld to pause and take stock. The former Dukakis adviser will be hanging around the comments to answer your questions.
Yes, I said it wasn't over. At one point (before the financial meltdown sealed McCain's image in the public eye), I even said to panic. But now, as some polls tighten and others widen, I do think it's over.
All along I've said: watch Obama's numbers, not the spread. The spread is due to McCain's volatility (and weakness with his own base):
I would mentally spot McCain 46% in any poll. Assume that the remaining undecideds could break two to one in his favor (yes, racism's a factor), do the math, and see if that still leaves Obama ahead.
Today, for the second time this month, Obama's standing in the RCP average broke through 50%. McCain is at just 43.2%, below my "automatic" 46%, but that's because some polls don't press their undecideds hard enough. The Rasmussen daily tracking poll has it at 50%-46%, and that's where I think the race really stands.