On July 9th we had an update that just BARELY moved Florida out of the swing state status by increasing McCain's lead in my five point average to exactly 5%. (I call swing states the states where the candidate in the lead is ahead by LESS than 5%.) Well, a new poll today pulls McCain's lead in Florida back under 5% (to 3% actually). And so Florida moves from "Weak McCain" to "Lean McCain" and once again Florida is looking like a swing state.
McCain Best Case - McCain 277, Obama 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 389, McCain 149
If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232
Florida is a big state (27 electoral votes) so the status of Florida is a big deal.
At this point, assuming that each candidate were to indeed win all the states where they are currently ahead by more than 5%, we are left with 11 swing states. Eight of them currently lean McCain (Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Nevada, Montana and North Dakota) and three of them lean to Obama (Ohio, Virginia and Colorado). With just the states he is ahead by more than 5% in (plus DC) Obama is only 6 electoral college votes away from winning. So he only needs to win ONE of the three states he is ahead in right now to win.
Meanwhile, for McCain, out of the swing states NINE of them are now "must win". (He can afford to lose Montana and South Dakota but that is it.) He has to get ALL of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, South Carolina and Nevada in order to win. If he loses ANY of those states, then Obama wins. And Obama is ahead in three of those states.
As I've been saying... if McCain wants to actually try to win, rather than just try to avoid a landslide, he needs to start doing something... or Obama needs to start majorly screwing up. McCain should be putting major effort into Ohio, Virginia and Colorado. He needs all three of them, and Obama has the edge right now. He needs to start pulling those back in his direction.
Of course, it is still summer. Many people won't start paying attention "for real" until the fall. So there could well be (actually probably will be) major changes to how things look as we get later in the season. But McCain can't just take the summer off and expect to recover in September or whatnot.