All week long, the TODAY show will be debuting new state poll numbers from Mason-Dixon in the states the show will be visiting. Today, the show was in Pennsylvania (where Obama leads 46%-44%). Tomorrow, it's Florida; Wednesday is Virginia, and Thursday is Michigan.
Last week, we moved North Dakota to "likely" McCain and this week: the Obama campaign pulled its staff from the state. The North Dakota staff is being sent to Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Post's Cillizza and Pershing offer a swing-state rundown with fingers on the pulses of Florida, Indiana and Minnesota.
Early voting starts today in many states in the U.S. "Residents of Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia are among the first in the nation eligible to vote in person, as well as by mail. During the next few weeks, at least 34 states and the District of Columbia will allow early in-person voting for Nov. 4 elections.Experts such as Paul Gronke of the Early Voting Information Center predict nearly a third of the electorate will vote early this year, up from 15% in 2000 and 20% in 2004. In closely contested Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, about half the voters are expected to cast ballots before Election Day. Florida could be 40%."
COLORADO: The Rocky Mountain News takes a look at how Sarah Palin's veep candidacy could aid downballot GOP candidates. "GOP officials identified as many as eight legislative races for suburban seats that are held or targeted by Democrats in which Republican women candidates could benefit from the so-called Palin effect."
FLORIDA: Two new polls show McCain and Obama in a statistical dead heat, with McCain holding a slight lead. A Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll shows McCain up 47%-45%. A Florida Times-Union/South Florida Sun Sentinel poll shows McCain up 46%-45%.
NEVADA: A new poll from the Suffolk: "The poll shows that the toss-up state of Nevada remains just that, with Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama statistically tied at 46 percent and 45 percent, respectively. When likely voters were asked who they figure is responsible for the current financial state on Wall Street, 41 percent blamed the Republicans, 16 percent tagged the Democrats, 27 percent said neither, and 16 percent couldn't decide who to blame."
OHIO: The Ohio Newspaper Poll shows McCain leading Obama, 48%-42% in Ohio. But note that the poll was out in the field before the collapse on Wall Street.
PENNSYLVANIA: Salon's Walter Shapiro traveled to Scranton to see how Obama's doing with Clinton primary voters. "A weekend in Scranton (more appealing than its inclusion on Forbes magazine's recent list of 'America's Fastest-Dying Cities' might suggest) provides anecdotal evidence that voters have yet to fully grasp the implications of the incredible shrinking financial sector. At Chick's Diner in Scranton Sunday morning, a 22-year-old factory worker named Tim G. (he would not reveal his full last name) who will be casting his first vote for McCain in November, sniffed, 'Where's the recession we're supposed to be in. What recession? And if there is a recession, it's probably because of the Democratic House.'"
More: "One of the trickiest things about this campaign is deciphering precisely what voters mean when they say they do not know enough about Obama. In [pollster Terry] Madonna's view, 'It means that they're confused about all the things that Hillary Clinton said about him during the seven weeks she was campaigning here in the primary.' He cited everything from charges of inexperience to the media controversy over purported 'elitism.' Clinton, whose father's roots were in Scranton, won Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties by a 3-to-1 margin. Kevin Donohue, a young Obama canvasser who grew up in Biden's old neighborhood of Green Ridge, talked about the 'Hillary holdouts' -- both men and women -- whom he encounters while knocking on doors in Scranton. 'I think it's a personal affinity for Hillary,' Donohue said. 'They identify with her more. They see Obama as a little more of a fast talker.'"
"Pennsylvania has the nation's third-highest percentage of seniors, after Florida and West Virginia, in part because seniors have been extraordinarily effective in winning the benefits that keeps people such as Generette living in York. Now this same political power is being put to a national test, with many experts saying the presidential campaign in Pennsylvania is likely to be decided by the senior vote. While 15 percent of the state's residents are over 65, they turn out in high numbers at the polls, leading to predictions that 25 percent to 30 percent of voters who go to the polls in November are likely to be seniors."