With five days remaining until the US Election is finally over, the polls paint the picture of a large Republican defeat.

Starting with the national tracking poll data using the brilliant Pollster.com loess regression trend lines, the headline numbers show an ever so slight narrowing in the headline horse race over the last week.

Yet that Obama lead of 5.4% doesn’t even begin to tell the full story of just how far McCain is behind.

In 2004, Bush won 286 Electoral College votes to Kerry’s 252. Currently Obama has the lead in 10 States that Bush won making up a combined 115 Electoral College Votes, pushing Obama out to a projected 367 Electoral College vote win. McCain on the other hand is ahead in exactly zero States that Kerry took in 2004.

Using the Pollster.com state polling analysis to look at the current polling results for those 10 ex-Bush States and putting their respective Electoral College votes in brackets we have:

Iowa: (7) 53/41
Virginia: (13) 51/43
Ohio: (20) 50/43
New Mexico: (5) 51/44
Nevada: (5) 50/44
Colorado: (9) 51/45
North Dakota: (3) 45/41
North Carolina: (15) 49/46
Florida: (27) 48/45
Missouri: (11) 48/47

With the polls currently having McCain on 171 Electoral College votes and requiring 270 to win, he needs to pick up 99 EVs from the 115 of those ex-Bush States between now and Tuesday. His only other partial alternative is to win Pennsylvania, a 2004 Kerry State with its 21 Electoral College votes — yet Obama has 10 point lead there of 52/42, making it a more dubious proposition than every one of those ex-Bush States with the exception of Iowa, which has gone completely feral on the Republicans.

To make matters worse, if staring down the barrel of a 200 Electoral College Vote drubbing can possibly get any worse, not only does McCain need to come from behind in 100 EVs worth of States we’re he’s trailing by up to 12 points, but he also has to defend Indiana (11 EVs) where he’s currently ahead by half a point but where the trend is running against him, as well as hold on to Georgia (15 EVs) where McCain’s 17 point margin has been slashed to just 2 points over the last 6 weeks.

With all this polling misery for the Republicans and the betting markets being in even worse shape, the pro-Republican pundits have been having a bit of a tough time trying to keep up morale. Rather than focus on how McCain leads on increasingly obscure polling metrics like better transportation manager, as our own Oz pundits were doing here last year, they’ve taken a different route where there is a special “Effect” at play for every occasion. There’s the dubious Bradley Effect — where white voters tell pollsters they’ll vote for the black guy, but then vote for the white because the shield of the ballot booth protects them from the crazy coercive powers of political correctness. Although strangely, the size of the Bradley Effect always seems to be the same size as Obama’s latest polling margin.

We have the Undecided Voter Effect (where undecideds break to McCain in ever increasing numbers, for increasingly illogical reasons), the Hidden Republican Voter Effect, the Hillary Effect and my personal favourite — Pollster Bias by Office Postcode Effect… Ah, the pure moonbattery of it all.

Thankfully — this time next week, it will all be over.

Peter Fray

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