Peter Feld's Election Status Report

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.

Could McCain still win? Any other questions? I'll monitor the comments till about 6pm, then check in later and reply to the later ones. Here are the most active Q&A threads.