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The RCP average is a little skewed by that USAToday/Gallup poll.  They used the LV outcome -- the one in which almost all of the "unlikely voters" were Obama supporters -- rather than the RV outcome.

Nanne pointed out Atrios's thinking, which is similar to mine.  This smells like the 1980 election to me.  The election "popped" after the second debate, with Reagan having successfully painted Carter as laughable ("There you go again").  And we've seen evidence of a "pop" here and there throughout the campaign for Obama, with nothing comparable for McCain -- after he clinched the nomination, after Berlin, etc, when the race expanded to double digits and then fell back to the typical 2- to 6-point Obama lead (depending on polling methodology).

What those little bubbles tell us, I think, is that the race can easily turn into a big lead for Obama, but that we're simply not far enough along yet for that to happen.  Attitudes haven't been cemented among that group that jumps to him during those rises, and the increase wears off over a few days as press scrutiny ramps up, returning us to a pretty stable 2- to 6-point lead with some statistical noise thrown in.

In other words, I think the evidence suggests the race will "pop" for Obama, not McCain.  The remaining undecideds beyond that "pop" group will likely split about 50/50, maybe even slightly more towards McCain when you account for the Incumbent Effect, Bradley Effect, etc.

(Note to ATinNM: This is what I meant about the Bradley Effect's lack of impact.  I don't believe it's as substantial as it was during Bradley's and Wilder's times, for one thing.  But, anyway, the Effect takes place among undecided voters, not people who've told the pollsters they've made up their minds.)

Certainly Obama has more paths to victory.  The best one, almost without question to me, is the "Kerry States, Plus Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado".  The I'd say "Kerry States, Plus Iowa, New Mexico and Virginia".

MfM might be right about Michigan.  It'd be silly to place it out of the realm of possibility.  I just don't see it happening in the end.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:32:20 PM EST
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