The discussion on this is already underway in the Muhlenberg post below, but the McCain campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan is big news deserving of its own post. In last night's Electoral College Spectrum, the Wolverine state the last of the Obama toss up states before they turn darker blue and the lean category begins. And it has been in that position for a while now, save a few iterations where New Mexico jumped into the toss up category. The decision, then, isn't totally from out of left field, but as I said, symbolically this is a huge [negative] admission for the McCain folks. If Michigan is off the table, that means that McCain has one less blue state to reach for to get to 270 electoral votes.
Where is he playing offense, though? The campaign says Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (Thanks for the link, Scott.), but none of those three looks terribly attainable at this point. Minnesota, perhaps. The North Star state has been within the margin of error in a host of polls recently with the exception of the 12 point lead CNN showed Obama enjoying yesterday. But let's assume McCain wins Minnesota. He would still have play defense in Florida, not to mention run the table in the Nevada, Ohio and Virginia close state parlay. Minnesota would get McCain to 275 if he wins those three states and holds on to the remaining pink states. Obama could gain Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado -- Bush states four years ago -- and come up short.
The tendency has been to discount McCain's chances in light of events of the last couple of weeks, but the Arizona senator is still right there if -- and this is a big if -- the momentum can be shifted back. The problem is that that is going to be a tough sell -- kind of like the push for the 2nd district in Maine. That just seems like a move to get Obama to spend some time and/or money in the Pine Tree state. In reality the McCain campaign knew that they didn't necessarily need Michigan to win. It would have helped, but they didn't necessarily need it. But they know they need Virginia and Florida. And that may be why the Old Dominion has seen an increased McCain staff presence in the last couple of days.
Thanks to loyal FHQ reader and contributor, Jack, for the scoop.
Is the Obama Campaign Planning for This Contingency?
Cracking the Muhlenberg Code
The Electoral College Map (10/2/08)