Ten Reasons Why McCain Doesn't Have a Prayer

My PJM colleague Jennifer Rubin penned a column yesterday in which she listed the ten reasons why McCain could still win.

Jennifer, never one to shrink from a challenge, did an excellent job of showing how, despite being down in the polls with just a week to go, John McCain could still catch Barack Obama and win the election.

But there are two people in this race. And while McCain is grimly hanging on, fighting for his political life with the same determination and courage that kept him alive in a POW camp for five years, Barack Obama has delivered what he hopes will be a coup de grâce -- the half hour network TV infomercial aired Wednesday night, designed to seal the deal with the voters and propel him to the presidency.

But the question arises: is Obama in any danger of losing even without the glitzy ad shtick? There are no sure things in horse racing or politics, but a good case can be made that this race has been over for weeks and that Obama will win an electoral landslide if not a popular vote mandate.

Here are the top 10 reasons why McCain doesn't have a prayer.

10. About those tracking polls...

There is no doubt the tracking polls for Rasmussen, Gallup, Zogby and the rest have been narrowing of late. But the movement toward McCain has been a ripple when he needs a virtual tsunami. You can cherry-pick polls based on "likely voters" or "registered voters" or, as Gallup has done, on a different model of "likely voters." No matter what side you're on, you will probably find ammunition for your argument.

But if you aggregate the tracking polls with the surveys commissioned by major media -- the so-called "snapshot polls" -- a different picture emerges nationally. In this case, Obama comes out with a much larger lead: 6 points on the conservative RealClearPolitics.com, while Nate Silver's liberal election blog 538 shows Obama with a 5.5% advantage in the aggregate. This is not an impossible hill for McCain to climb, but the election won't be determined by the national popular vote: it is the electoral vote that counts and the 50 individual state races -- more accurately the 12 or so "battleground" states -- will determine the winner.