11/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

538's Nate Silver: How McCain Could Win

With nine days to go until the election, John McCain's electoral map is in tatters. According to Pollster.com, Obama presently holds leads of five or more points in 23 states containing 286 electoral votes - 16 more than he needs to clinch the electoral college. Obama holds smaller leads, moreover, in another seven states containing 92 electoral votes, including places as far afield as North Dakota. Obama has even led some recent polling in Georgia, West Virginia, and Montana.


If McCain is able to close this gap somehow, however, the electoral map will look quite a bit different - and quite a bit more favorable to him. Essentially, McCain needs to subtract 6 points from Obama's margins in every state, and proceed from the assumption that this is what the map will look like on Election Day. If he is able to make that leap of faith, McCain will find it easier to pick his battles, focusing his efforts on no more than six or seven states. If I were advising the McCain campaign, I would suggest he do the following.

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