Polls in five key battleground states in the race for the White House released Tuesday suggest that Sen. Barack Obama is making major gains.
The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls of likely voters in Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin reflect a significant nationwide shift toward the Democratic presidential nominee.
CNN is shifting North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, from leaning toward McCain to toss-up. CNN is moving Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, and New Hampshire and its four electoral votes from toss-up to “lean Obama.”
Finally, CNN is switching Michigan and its 17 electoral votes from leaning toward Obama to safe for Obama. The McCain campaign announced last week that it was shifting its resources out of the once hotly-contested Rust Belt state, instead intensify efforts in battleground states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.
With these moves, CNN estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win states with 264 electoral votes and McCain would win states with 174 electoral votes, with 100 electoral votes still up for grabs. To win the White House, 270 electoral votes are needed. Obama’s lead has expanded by 29 electoral votes when compared his margin in CNN’s last electoral map, which was released on October 1.
Nate Silver summarizes based on the polls he's reading:
You can read these numbers as well as I can. Obama leads by 6 in North Carolina? 12 in Virginia? 7 in Florida? 3 in Missouri? Obviously, I am cherrypicking some of the more pro-Obama results here ... but the point is, there are a lot of favorable results these days for Barack Obama.
...the proper strategy is probably now to play a fairly large map; Obama in particular wants to keep as many doors open as possible if and when something bad happens to his campaign.
For the time being, however, John McCain is facing third and long -- and appears that he's about to get sacked.
The usual caveats apply...but still.