Of particular interest is the state-by-state breakdown, as this is how we choose the president. On Pollster, a state falls into one of five categories:
Accordingly, they distribute electoral votes as follows (strongly Democratic and Republic in parentheses):
Obama: 284 (224)
McCain: 154 (122)
If you allocate the toss-up states according to the most recent polling data from that state, the count is:
Does this mean that Obama has the election sewed up? By no means. For example, as much disarray as the Alaskan Republican party is in, I'll believe that he can win Alaska when he actually wins it, and not a second before. Ditto with Ohio, although I think Obama's chances there are good enough that it belongs in the leaning Democratic tally. For another, the polls in some of the states are more recent than polls in others.
As for Citizen K.'s assessment, I believe that Obama goes into the convention with a similar base to Al Gore's and John Kerry's. However, McCain heads into his convention with a weakened base: States like Virginia, North Carolina, and Alaska should not be in the toss-up column, nor should Ohio be leaning Democratic. Given this situation, it's virtually a guarantee that McCain will make try to make this election about Obama's "exoticness" and supposed unreadiness. In other words, he's not only a child, he's not one of us, and all while waving the flag and declaring John McCain to be an independent straight talker. Expect the racial code words to be as thick as termites in a rotting house and for the Republicans to accuse Obama of "playing the race card."
Really, they have nothing else to offer. The outcome will hinge on the Republican ability to play on white resentment -- something they are historically very good at -- against an extremely charismatic candidate and a political environment that does not favor them. The Republicans will fight tooth-and-nail for Ohio; the campaign there could well be one of the nastiest in memory.
Keeping in mind that I live in a solidly Democratic state, my feeling at this juncture is that the Republicans won't succeed -- that they're appealing to a powerful but shrinking strata of American politics and that the Republican party has performed so poorly in the last eight years that people don't trust them to keep running the show. Moreover, Barack Obama is a very skilled politician who will have a few tricks of his own, one of which will be to define McCain as part of the problem.
Overall, you can look for high flying rhetoric from the principles coupled with low blow from the surrogates, with the Republicans leading the way on that score...
Don't miss NOLA radfem's blog from August 13. "They" Aren't Supposed to Live in the WHITE House, Right? begins with a childhood encounter with Louisiana Congresswoman Lindy Boggs (the mother of Cokie Roberts) then segues into an account of radfem's family history as slave holders. Bolstered by photographs recent and old, the soul-searching entry is fascinating, compelling, and honest.