If McCain can’t flip a blue state (or ideally, a few), then his chances of winning, at least based on the current polls, is practically nil. He’d need to win pretty much every swing state at this point. If he loses even one of them, he loses the election. Unless it’s Nevada, in which case the election would be a tie.
That’s pretty much it – it seems that the reported shift of the McCain campaign to finding a “narrow path to victory” is, in fact, happening. It’s a strategy doomed to failure IMO (see Michigan’s polls after the campaign pulled out there), but they can run their campaign however they like…
What I find weird is the disconnect in their approach to my state. The McCain campaign sent both Sarah Palin and John McCain’s daughter (whose name I already forget - Meghan?) to my area last week at around the same time the RNC suspended all of its ad funding in Maine.
I think that this is a course of events that McCain is forced into. He’s running out of money, and rapidly. He can’t go ad-for-ad with Obama anywhere now, and needs to focus on PA and VA and hope the GOP can hold the line in MO, FL, NC, and OH.
The financial and more moderate conservatives were effectively disenfranchised this year as far as the GOP goes, so they are either sitting out the election or (as Gen. Powell did) jumping the aisle and supporting Obama openly. That’s a pretty hefty silent minority of the GOP right there (and what’s more, the minority that comes up with a lot of funding and support in the Northeast and West - thus why Obama is moving ahead in places like Colorado and New Hampshire.) No tinfoil - the GOP chose specifically to move to embrace the neocon/social conservative right. They “shored up the base”, but lost any appeal beyond that.
The media are overtly pro-Obama at this point and there’s no tin-foil involved here either - McCain pissed them off. He used to cultivate the media assidiously, as a “straight talker” who gave lots of press access and came across as an affable, funny moderate Republican. Then after the nomination he transformed, almost literally overnight, into a stiff, hard-right Republican who gave the media no access whatsoever and used them as whipping boys in speeches. Given all that it’s a wonder there isn’t MORE anti-McCain stories published regularly - he basically took a dump all over the press corps, and then wondered why they weren’t in his corner any more.
They won’t call the election until the polls on the West Coast close, no matter what. I’m pretty sure that’s official policy for all the networks, because otherwise it could directly affect statewide races there even if the national race is a done deal.
If that’s the case, it’s a post-2000 policy. Most elections before then they had no problem calling the presidential vote early. There was plenty of talk every time about whether that was cool, for the reasons you cite.