The Washington Post Trail blog writes that John McCain goes into the second presidential debate needing a win to stave off Barack Obama‘s recent gains in the polls.

More troublesome for McCain has been the political impact of all those factors on the state of the race. Over the past three weeks, there has been an across-the-board shift toward Obama, to the point that, without a reversal, McCain is threatened with losing the election — and not by the whisker that many had predicted earlier.

“McCain has, for now, ceded Michigan, once a prime pickup target for the GOP, to Obama. Bellwether Ohio, a state that no Republican has lost while winning the presidency, is trending away from McCain. Solid red North Carolina is, for now at least, a toss up.

“Florida, which broke Al Gore’s heart eight years ago and then moved decisively to President Bush four years later, also is in that category, partly out of neglect by McCain’s campaign. Virginia and Colorado, two of this year’s new battlegrounds, look favorable to Obama. The electoral map looks awfully promising for Obama. For now, at least.”

Read the full story here.

Peter Fray

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