Panel: Will It Be An Upset or Landslide?

Panel: Will It Be An Upset or Landslide?

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - November 3, 2008


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is going to be close here in Florida. This is going to be close all across the country. We're going to have to work like our futures depend on it for the next 24 hours, because it does.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's just one day left. We need to win Virginia on November 4, and we've got to take this country in a new direction.

And we will win. Volunteer. Knock on doors. Get your neighbors to the polls! I need your vote.


HUME: And so he does. McCain is certainly not out of this race, but he has a higher hill to climb, as we all can tell from the polling.

Some thoughts on the final day now from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Bill Kristol, Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of "Fortune" Magazine, and Mort Kondracke, another Executive Editor, this time of Roll Call.

We get very important people here--editors, executive editors, bureau chiefs, and whatnot to compensate for the weakness at the anchor desk.

Let's take a look before we start at a couple of polls. This is a brand new FOX poll out today, national poll that shows Obama holding on to a 50-43 percent lead. You see that is up several points from last week when the race was down in our polling to, what, three points, mirroring, more closely reflective of the lead a couple weeks ago, 49-40.

Now, in the battleground states, though, or some of them, anyway, a somewhat different picture. As you can see in Colorado, it's a four- point race there. McCain is actually a point ahead, and that is well within the margin of error in Florida; tied in Missouri; McCain slightly ahead down in North Carolina; a tie in Ohio, and McCain within four in Virginia.

So I assume that if the McCain camp is looking at these numbers tonight, they feel somewhat encouraged, at least in some of those states.

Mort, your thoughts about the possibility of an Obama blowout or a McCain upset.

MORT KONDRAKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "ROLL CALL": I would say the chances of an Obama blowout are greater than a McCain upset.

Real Clear Politics tracking all the polls in all the states gives Obama's 278 electoral votes already, that is eight more than he needs. McCain is 138 electoral votes short, and there are ten states with 128 electoral votes that are toss ups.

So that means McCain would have to absolutely run the table on all the states that are up for grabs, the tossup states, which includes Virginia and Ohio and North Carolina and Georgia, and even Arizona now.

HUME: But all of those states have some history of being red.

KONDRACKE: Yes, they do have a history of being red. But in a lot of those states Obama is already over 50 percent. So in addition to carrying all the tossup states--

HUME: In the polling.

KONDRACKE: Yes, in the polling--McCain would have to go steal something from Obama, Pennsylvania being the likeliest candidate, and the latest polling suggests that Obama up by six or eight in Pennsylvania.

NINA EASTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: I think John McCain put his finger on it when he said we need to win Virginia, and yet the FOX poll shows him behind four points in Virginia, which is not a good sign. He really needs to win Virginia.

So in addition to that widening national poll in favor of Obama, you've got the problem of these key states. I mean, it really is, as Mort said, it's an uphill battle for John McCain.

The other piece to this to look at tomorrow is get out the vote, who's got the better ground game, the better operation to get people out/ And of course, back in 2004, the Republican Party was doing this miracle job of micro-targeting, finding voters who hadn't voted before, going out to unlikely places an unlikely voters.

This time around it's very possible that the story is that Barack Obama is the one doing that, that he's finding unlikely voters, first-time voters, young voters, African-American voters. You are seeing that somewhat in Florida with some of the early-voting trends. And I think that's going to really determine how this race plays out.

HUME: It sounds like it is over, doesn't it, folks? But you have yet to hear from the boys from "The Weekly Standard," beginning with Bill Kristol. Bill, your thoughts?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I was talking to our Fox pollster before the show, and they pointed out something interesting--the popular vote will not necessarily reflect the electoral vote.

Obama will win California by close to 3 million votes, New York by about 2 million votes, he will win Illinois, his home state by a million votes. McCain isn't going to waste many votes. Texas is the only big state he will win by less than a million votes.

You could have a situation where Obama wins the popular vote by four or five million, two or three percent of the vote, and McCain could run the table with very narrow victories in these battleground states.

And the Fox state polls make it quite possible that McCain could win Florida and Ohio and North Carolina, and then he down three or four in Virginia and five and six in Pennsylvania. If he could snatch those two, you could have a situational election night.

It is a long shot, but you could have a situation in which Obama wins the national vote by two and a half or three percent and McCain has a very narrow electoral vote majority.

EASTON: That's a lot of ifs, Bill.

KRISTOL: I am saying this, and I'm sure if any Obama voters are watching now they will have a heart attack thinking it is a devious plot, but it is just the way that this year has shaped up, that Obama has these huge popular majorities in these states-

HUME: The states that he was going to win anyway and were never in play.

KRISTOL: And it is striking. In these state polls, Florida and Ohio are really winnable by McCain. I think Virginia will be very close.

Pennsylvania is the one he needs to snatch, and the McCain people are desperately hoping that Pennsylvanians remember Obama's bitter comment, which was made about small town residents of Pennsylvania, and Jack Murtha's comments about his redneck constituents.

HUME: Racist amended to redneck!

KRISTOL: --in western Pennsylvania. And I think he is desperately hoping that Pennsylvanians decide to send the Democratic Party a little message.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I agree. This is one of the oddest breakdowns of a state I have seen before where about three separate pollsters, Rasmussen, Mason Dixon, and the battleground polls show that in the Obama states, Obama is winning about two to one.

And then you have the tossup states where McCain is in the ballgame, it's in the margin of error. One pollster has him ahead by two. And then McCain's, as Bill said, is winning by four points or so in the McCain states.

So McCain is not going to win the popular vote, but he can still win the Electoral College. And he can do it, actually, without winning Pennsylvania. But then, of course, he has to win Virginia.

Basically, if he doesn't win Pennsylvania, he will have to win almost all the states that Bush won in 2004. Now, that seems possible. It seems highly unlikely, but it is possible.

And then there is always this -- remember, Obama always over polls -- not always, but almost always in the primaries over polls. In other words, he did better both in exit polls and in the polling done by pollsters before Election Day, a primary day.

And if that's true again, it is possible for McCain to win all these states that are tossups and win the Electoral College and become the president the same way President Bush did in 2000.

HUME: What are the chances that we have a late night or a really early night in Pennsylvania before we can call this? Nina, your thoughts?

EASTON: I think we will have a relatively early night because I think Virginia is key. A lot of these--

HUME: Virginia could go, but that would be a bad sign for McCain. But he is trailing there right now.

KONDRACKE: We could tell something from the Indiana results. If Obama were to win Indiana, which is an early-closing state, it's probably all over for McCain. But if it's close in Indiana, it's probably going to be all over for McCain elsewhere.

HUME: But you can't call it.

KONDRACKE: You can't call it. But a trend will begin to develop.

I actually hope that the networks don't call it before the polls close in California so that, you know, you will have--

HUME: Yes, I know, but if you're tabulating electoral votes in the states you have called, at some point someone will look at their screen and say that anchorman isn't saying is, but on that board right behind his head it says 276 for somebody.

BARNES: In answer to your question, it could go late if McCain does well in states like Virginia and wins Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and so on. It could come down to New Mexico and Colorado, states in the Mountain Time zone.

HUME: By then, it's getting late.

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