Again, I think Dick Morris has accurately put his finger on the pulse of the presidential race. In his newest column (which you can find in full along with his electoral map at DickMorris.com) he notes:
"The Sarah Palin effect has run its course and the election, driven by the economy and the recent financial crisis, has moved back to its pre-convention pattern with a slight Obama lead, averaging 2 points in the popular vote.
"Because small changes in the popular vote cause huge swings in the electoral vote, a number of key states have moved into Obama’s column. Florida may now be said to be leaning for Obama while Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, and Nevada have become toss ups.
"It is clear that McCain must swing the economy around to become an issue that works in his favor if he is to have a shot at winning. A 2 point Obama edge may not seem like much, but it is enough to produce a big electoral win and it is very hard for McCain to overtake such a lead.
"In the first presidential debate, McCain needs to attack Obama over his tax program and move the discussion away from who is at fault for the economic mess — Bush will, of course be blamed — and onto what to do about it. McCain can use the current state of the markets to appeal to Obama to forgo his capital gains tax increase in order to encourage the flow of capital into the markets. That would put Obama in quite a spot."
I would only add that the troubled economy plays into whichever party is out of the White House, in this case the Democrats. As long as the economy is troubled, Obama’s the big beneficiary. But, if this economy goes from troubled to scary, then I think something new’s afoot. Then, voters will look to the most stable candidate; the one less likely to jostle an economy teetering on the brink of disaster.
We’re not there, yet. If Congress acts on the newest bail-out plan, the economy will be stable enough through the election. But if Congress fools around and the electorate is filled with panic, then I see swing voters abandoning Obama in favor of the safer McCain.
My 2 cents. Yours?