Opinion: Polls look ahead to fall showdown between Barack Obama and John McCain

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Yes, there are still states -- and a territory -- to vote, Democratic delegates to select, superdelegates to decide and conventions to be held, but it’s hard not to peek ahead to the fall matchup. You can make your own presumptions about whether the Dems will go with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, but for the sake of argument, we’ll presume it’s Obama.

And polls, fickle though they may be, show that the general election could be just as tight as the Democratic primaries in crucial swing states where Obama’s race and perceived class work against him (witness Kentucky). The tallies maintained at Real Clear Politics give a broader sense of the challenge for Obama and for John McCain.


You can go over there and play, but the overview is the latest state poll aggregates give the current advantage (some of these are within the margin of error) to McCain in Ohio, Florida and Missouri and the advantage to Obama in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (though McCain led in the most recent poll) and Iowa with Michigan essentially a dead heat.

Now take those poll numbers over to an interactive electoral college map and the advantage is: Nobody. Under that scenario, with Michigan a virtual tie and polls too erratic in New Mexico to count, Obama and McCain would be separated by four electoral votes and both would need Michigan to put them over the 270 threshold.

Let the fun begin. Oh, wait -- it already has.

-- Scott Martelle