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Tuesday Election Update

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Guest blogger Ronda Kaysen: Both candidates are stumping in Pennsylvania today. John McCain's hoping to chip away at Obama's double-digit lead in a state flush with white, working class Reagan Democrats.

john mccain and barack obama facing off

Parsing the Polls. Today's FiveThirtyEight.com roundup of the daily polls gives McCain a scant 3.3% chance of winning, A RealClearPolitics.com's look at the national polls shows the race tightening, with Obama leading by an average of 6.2%. But if you look at the polls state by state, there's not much tightening going on at all - Obama is increasing his margin of victory in non-battleground blue states and even historic red states, like North Carolina and Missouri, are now in play. Florida, which was all but in the bag for McCain in August, is now leaning Obama. Ohio and Nevada are leaning Obama, but McCain could still snatch them back. Colorado and Virginia are strongly leaning Obama and Pennsylvania can probably be considered blue at this point.

On McCain's Trail. Today was not a good news day for the Republicans. John McCain called on Ted Stevens to step down after the 84-year-old senator from Alaska was convicted yesterday of seven felony charges in an ethics scandal. He's up for re-election on Tuesday and Democrats have been pouring money into that campaign in the hopes that his rival, Mark Begich, will oust the six-term senator. McCain's brother, Joe, made headlines for calling 911 to complain about traffic. While the internal bloodbath has already begun in the House that Rove Built, McCain's former advisor Mark McKinnon gave a shout out to his former boss, writing in the Daily Beast that, given the circumstances, the campaign's been doing a pretty good job of things. Meanwhile, Benjamin Sarlin thinks this whole election might come down to the Amish.

On Obama's Trail. Michelle Obama turned up on Jay Leno sporting J. Crew, and gave her two cents about the Sarah Palin wardrobe-gate controversy. Two young men ages 18 and 20 were arrested in Tennessee for a plot to assassinate Obama and black school children. Obama has been getting heat from Republicans for "measuring the drapes" before election day and this week began delivering his "closing argument," which the Washington Post reported sounds a lot like his opening argument two years ago.

Voting Begins. Election day might still be a week away, but voters are turning out in record numbers to vote early. More than 1 million voters in Georgia have already cast their ballots and more than a million Floridians have voted, too. And in North Carolina, which has become a surprise battleground state, 1.2 million voters have already made their choice.


next: The Latest on Jennifer Hudson
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