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The Morning Report
October 2008

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Political Topography

I'm back from a week in the desert where I was blissfully unaware of all things political. Surveying the political landscape as I plugged back in yesterday and this morning, however, it appears that while Obama maintains a small lead in the national polls (+3.2% as of right now) his position in the electoral count has deteriorated somewhat significantly. Obama has dropped from 289 down to 228, and it's hard to locate a single instance in a battleground state where Obama has improved in the most recent polling data.

Whether it was vacation (his, not mine), the specter of Putin's aggressive invasion of Georgia, or some other factor, Obama starts the week leading into his convention in arguably his weakest position thus far in the general election.

The bad news - obviously - is that Obama appears to have reaped no initial benefit from the tens of millions of dollars he's spent on advertising over the last two and a half months. (The Obama campaign tells David Broder the polls aren't telling the whole story of how their spending may be impacting the race).

The good news for Obama is that the homestretch is just beginning, and he can expect a good couple of weeks with the announcement of his Vice Presidential selection - which could happen any time this week, though I would bet it comes sooner rather than later - and then heading into what will be a well scripted, carefully choreographed few days in Denver.

Of course, all of this will be followed by an intense watching of the polls to try and divine what sort of "bounce" Obama receives and whether it will be enough to keep him ahead of McCain as the attention shifts to the RNC in Minneapolis.