A 54 percent majority of more than 200,000 respondents to an AOL poll think John McCain can still win on November 4, eight days from now.
Respondents attribute his second-place standing to the weak U.S. economy. The poll asks: "What should a McCain comeback strategy focus on most?" Of 180,000 respondents to this question, 54 percent believe he should focus on economic solutions.
Only 19 percent say McCain should focus on his experience. Only 18 percent say he can succeed by attacking Obama. Only 9 percent opt for some other formula for a McCain victory.
More economists are forecasting a deep global recession and the markets agree. The Hang Seng index fell as much as 15 percent this morning, more than on any day since the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989. The Nikkei fell 6 percent at closing this morning to a 25-year low, and as I write the markets are down more than 5 percent in London and more than 6 percent in Paris. Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw in Saturday's NY Times) says an economic downturn rivaling the Great Depression can't be ruled out. We have learned from the policy failures of the Depression years, he asks, "but have we learned enough?" The Federal Reserve has already signaled a reduction in the Fed funds target rate of half a percentage point and it's not stemming the panic.
McCain has needed to position himself as a leader offering different economic solutions from the Bush Administration. The AOL poll suggests that McCain's inability to cobble together such a plan is Obama's greatest strength. If McCain is so experienced, the electorate is asking, why can't he explain what he would do differently from George W. Bush about the economy?
McCain has been stepping up his attacks on the Bush Administration's economic policies. To which Obama responds that this is like Batman and Robin. Breaking up is hard to do - and hard to believe.