I've put together the polling data (using 538's projections), for basically every Tuesday since 9/9 (I left the data for 10/21 at work). I the grouped the 7 sets of data in the following categories:
- McCain up by 5.0 or more in every week: Oklahoma, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Alabama, Nebraska (there is some intrigue with how Nebraska splits its congressional districts, but I'm ignoring that for now), Tennessee, Alaska, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, Louisiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Arizona. 137 EV (None of these have ever been closer than 7.5)
- Obama up by 5.0 or more in every week: DC, Maryland, Hawaii, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, California, Washington, New Jersey, Maine, Iowa. 190 EV (None of these have been closer than 8.8, except in the 9/16 poll, when 4 states were - that week was the nadir of Obama's polling)
- McCain up every week, but sometimes closer than 5.0: West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, and Georgia. 26 EV (These are all between 4.2 and 8.6 right now, with Montana and Georgia less than 5.0.)
- Obama up every week, but sometimes closer than 5.0: Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. 74 EV (All but the last 2 are above 10.0. If I dropped the 9/16 data, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Minnesota would move into the upper category.)
- The lead has switched at one point or another (the real tossups): Virginia, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana. 111 EV
The total in the two McCain categories is 163, in the two Obama categories it's 264. None of the states in the Obama categories have been closer than 6 points since September. For McCain to win, he has to do the following:
- Defend all of his states, especially Georgia and Montana, both of which are closer than every Obama state and Virginia and Colorado.
- Win every tossup state. If he loses Nevada only, the election would be a tie, and it would go to the House of Representatives, where most are projecting an Obama win.
- He's got to steal something from Obama, and there's nothing seriously in play.
If Obama takes Virginia or Colorado, both of which are leaning in his direction, McCain's got to steal something substantial, which is even harder (we're back to PA).