That doesn’t mean that anything’s probable. The media will try to preserve the illusion of a toss-up; you’ll keep seeing “Obama Leads, But Voters Have Concerns” headlines. But when Democrats are winning blood-red congressional districts in Mississippi and Louisiana, when the Republican president is down to 28 percent, when the economy is tanking and world affairs keep breaking Obama’s way, it shouldn’t be heresy to recognize that McCain needs an improbable series of breaks. Analysts get paid to analyze, and cable news has airtime to fill, so pundits have an incentive to make politics seem complicated. In the end, though, it’s usually pretty simple. Everyone seems to agree that 2008 is a change election. Which of these guys looks like change?
This explains almost exactly (though not entirely) how I feel about the media’s approach to this election cycle. Could it really be a close race? Maybe. But if it wasn’t you’d hardly know. Remember when it was practically fact that Obama had knocked Clinton out of the primary race, but the media still clung to every last vote as if there was some chance Hillary would find a way?
I think Grunwald’s right – unless there’s some dramatic mistake or world event or who knows what else, this election looks pretty locked up for the junior senator from Illinois. But a done-deal doesn’t make for good ratings or page views or sales of those dreadfully partisan books (from both sides) you see in the center tables at Barnes and Noble during election season.