Opinion: John McCain’s own polling gives him hope, an aide says

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When John McCain insisted, during his appearance Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ that he was doing ‘just fine’ in a presidential race in which the polls have shown Barack Obama with a steady lead over the last few weeks, many may have dismissed the comment as just something that a candidate has to say.

Not so, said a McCain campaign official who spoke on background with The Times’ Bob Drogin. The aide said the campaign’s internal polling showed McCain down only 4 percentage points nationally -– a sharp improvement from a week ago -- and closing fast.


State-by-state, the private polling also showed McCain up 1 point in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Missouri, and behind by only 3 points in Virginia (a new Washington Post survey found him down 8 there).

McCain almost assuredly needs to capture all five states to win the presidency. And even that may not be enough if he fails to win Pennsylvania, one of his campaign stops today. Without Pennsylvania, McCain needs to pull more electoral votes out of some combination of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico or Iowa -– all states where, as of now, the internal numbers look bleak.

The anonymous McCain official argued a comeback remains doable. “Check with me Wednesday,” the aide said. “If we’re still within the margin of error (in polling), we’re going to win.”

The campaign likely will take solace from the daily Rasmussen Reports tracking poll, which today showed Obama up by 5 points, compared to an 8 point lead as of Sunday. Still, the pollsters note that ‘with today’s results, Obama has been ahead by four-to-eight points every single day for 32 straight days.’

-- Don Frederick