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Despite polls and pundits, McCain hanging on

By Jimmy Orr / October 15, 2008

AP/Jake Turcotte

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John McCain and Joe Torre have a lot in common right now.   They're both underdogs and they both need a win Wednesday night.

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Outwardly, neither show any sign of worry.  Despite his 1-3 record in a best of seven series, Torre on Tuesday calmly laid out his strategy.

"What we have to do is make sure we just go out and put the blinkers on tomorrow and win tomorrow and then concern ourselves with the next day and hopefully in Game 7 again," Torre said.

Still alive

McCain was calm Tuesday as well, calmly repeating a line to an Orlando TV reporter which comes second nature to him.

"Political pundits have written off my campaign more times than I can count," he said.

That is true, but that bandwagon is going to get really full Wednesday without a big win.

Polls

McCain's got to turn around numbers and trends - fast. A new CBS/New York Times poll released Tuesday shows Obama leading McCain by a 14 point margin -- 53 to 39 percent.

"Among independents who are likely voters - a group that has swung back and forth between McCain and Obama over the course of the campaign - the Democratic ticket now leads by 18 points. McCain led among independents last week," says the CBS report.

Things look significantly better over at Gallup as their rolling three-day poll shows Obama only up by nine points with a 51 - 42 point edge.

Battleground states

While the latest Quinnipiac University/Wall Street Journal/Washingtonpost.Com Poll/Goodyear Tires poll shows Obama enjoying healthy leads over McCain in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Turning these numbers around?  Might need some divine help.

"Sen. Obama's leads in these four battleground states are as large as they have been the entire campaign. Those margins may be insurmountable barring a reversal that has never been seen before in the modern era in which polling monitors public opinion throughout the campaign," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Defense

Pollster John Zobgy hasn't thrown in the towel.  For McCain to win, he needs to defend.  He's got to defend the Bush states of 2004.   Zogby admits Iowa is a lost cause.  So, Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina are all but necessities.

Zogby says McCain should pick up two out of the three western states in play -- Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.  While stealing Pennsylvania would be an important gain.

"With so few opportunities to take states from his Democratic rival, Mr McCain's most likely path for victory is to limit his losses of 2004 GOP states to Iowa," Zogby writes.  "Margins remain tight, putting Mr McCain in position to win any of these critical states. Winning nearly all of them is his challenge."

So this is where we are at 21 days out.  He's still in it.

Doom

Sure, there are detractors.  A lot of them.

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