- Obama's is about 6 to 7 points up depending on which national tracker you look at. I consider polls have a margin of error of about 4 to 5 points, so Obama is looking pretty good now. That being said there are several reasons that election night will still be interesting.
1. McCain makes national gains in the next 3+ weeks. There are many different scenarios in which this is possible considering where the race was 2 weeks ago. I think Democrats are bit too over confident right now, if that's possible. Assuming McCain does come back there could be some crazy scenarios that I'd like to highlight.
A) Electoral Tie of 269/269. This scenario looked quite possible 2 weeks ago. Obama would have to win all Kerry State except New Hampshire (currently +5.3 obama), and McCain would have to win all Bush States except Colorado (+4.6 obama), Iowa (+10.7 obama), and New Mexico (+6.2 obama) for this to happen. With the recent Obama surge in Ohio, Florida, and Virgina - this doesn't look likely (Sliver has it at a 0.16 probablity). However if McCain made national gains, it does seem possible.
Check out the link above for more, but it looks like it would go to the newly elected house for a vote, and then a senate if as the tiebreaker. One would think this would favor the democrats - but things like popular vote, voter recounts ala florida 2000 (that would be decided by conservative supreme court), need to be taken into account.
B) Maine and Nebraska actually allocate their electoral votes by congressional district
Maine is +7.5 Obama, only 1 point above the national average. The districts in Maine vote approxamiately the same though, so McCain may want to pick one and see if he can turn it red. Nebraska is a deep red state, but has a moderate district that includes Omaha, that Obama could turn blue (but only if it's a blowout - less likely to break a 269-268 ties).
C) Election day surprises?
If it is a good day for McCain - Minnesota and Iowa. These are actually the only two "swing" states that McCain has spent more campaign money than Obama in. Democrats currently believe he's wasting his money, but if McCain mangies to surprise these could be the ones.
If it is a good day for Obama - Indiana, West Virgina, North Carolina, and Georgia. If Obama wins any of these states it will likely be a blow out. Obama's "ground game" has gotten rave reviews, so suprises could happen on these relatively red states because of several different demographic factors.
2. In case of Obama Blowout - Senate races
If Obama wins easily, the analysts will be staying up late on election night trying to figure out if the democrats are able to get a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the senate. If this happens, it is much more likely that Obama's proposed policies will come to fruition.
Nate Silver currently projects the odds of a 60 seat majority at about 25 percent (see below). The 7 interesting states to watch will be Oregon, Minnesota, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Alaska. If results are less favorable for democrats, Colorado and New Hampshire should be a tight race. Basically the Dems need to turn 9 currently republican held senate seats to turn blue. 4 currently look like they are close to a lock, then Dems need 5 of those 7 states I mentioned above for the 60 seat majority. It looks doubtful, but possible.