With the race here too close to call, there are a few questions to keep in mind that could swing it one way or another.
How strong is the anti-McCain backlash? Yesterday, I was a guest on Renee Giachino’s show on 1330 AM, a station based out of southwest Florida. All of the callers I spoke with excoriated McCain as a liberal on taxes, ANWR, immigration, etc. This is a sentiment that is pervasive throughout talk radio and blogs, and it’s something I’ve picked up talking to voters on the campaign trail. This is definitely benefiting Romney right now, but it’s hard to quantify how big the Anybody But McCain vote is.
Which way will Rudy’s disaffected supporters go? Looking at polls showing that he can no longer win, many voters initially sympathetic toward Giuliani may look elsewhere. That could mean they shift to the other moderate, national security first candidate, or it could mean they are anti-McCain folks who will now defect to Romney.
Do endorsements matter? How much help does Charlie Crist and Mel Martinez give McCain?
Is it the economy or national security? Though one poll showed McCain with an edge among economic voters, Romney has been hitting the “economic squeeze” issue a lot harder than McCain, so I would expect to him to have the edge, whereas McCain should do better among those voting primarily on the basis of who will make the best commander in chief. If they’re both equally important to voters, the question becomes whether people trust McCain with the conomy more than they trust Romney with foreign policy and national security.
Also, the ultimate wildcard is how early and absentee/early voting went. Polls pick them up to some extent, but in a race this close, in a state this large, it’s hard to know how reliable any polling numbers are regarding how this group voted.