Phil, a week ago, when Gallup had McCain up by 5, the Democrats were panicking, betraying their fundamental (and arguably rational) lack of confidence. Three weeks ago, when Obama was up by 8, Republicans weren’t panicked in the least, nor should they panic now.
It could be argued that both Democrats and Republicans nominated their least-electable candidates. Therefore, the election is fundamentally a test of coalition strength. My hunch is that, despite all the brand damage of the past few years, and despite whatever errors Team Maverick has committed, the Reagan coalition is larger and more coherent than the Dukakis coalition. No Democratic presidential candidate since 1976 has won a majority of the popular vote and it’s unlikely they’ll break that jinx with the current nominee.
“Never take counsel of your fears.” Coincidentally, a new poll shows McCain leading 48-39 in Virginia.