Could McCain Still Win?


Less than two weeks out, Senator Barack Obama appears to have the race wrapped up. But with the experiences of the last two presidential elections, more than a few Democrats are finding themselves asking…is it too good to be true? Could the polls be wrong? Could the Republicans pull off another late inning upset?

Examining the playing field, there are several variables that, when aligned just so, could lead to a McCain victory.

The Vanishing Youth Vote

Obama’s campaign has, to date, made great use of America’s youth. They volunteer for him in droves, man his phone banks and act as his soldiers in the blogsphere. The only problem is that historically, they don’t turn out to vote. It’s unlikely that could cost Obama the election, but the percentage with which they do show up and vote might mean the difference between a narrow victory and a landslide.   

Those Pesky Undecideds
Most of the major polls are still reporting the number of undecided voters to be somewhere around 8%. This block of the electorate historically favors incumbents or “safer” choices. If 65% of those voters choose McCain, the numbers on most major polls would venture into the margin of error.

Win Popular, Lose Electoral

As recent history would remind us, it’s the electoral college vote that decides the election, not the popular vote. So if, for instance, Obama wins all of the currently tracking blue states, including large states like New York and California by wide margins, but for some reason fails to capture the key battleground states like Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado, we could again be facing a scenario where the president elect lost the popular vote.

The Of Course We’re Gonna Win Factor
Nothing creates voter apathy more than the perception that their votes won’t make a difference. If one candidate has a huge lead in the polls prior to election day, some voters might think there’s no reason to vote at all and just skip it to avoid the hassle. The huge excitement that is accompanying Obama’s campaign should cancel this out, but it is still a variable.

So if you were placing a bet, what do you think the numbers are going to look like the day after the election?

Images courtesy Getty

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