The latest New York Times/CBS poll finds Obama leading McCain by a whopping 14 points among likely voters, 53%-39%. The Times attributes the margin, in part, to McCain's negative attacks backfiring. "Six in 10 voters surveyed said that Mr. McCain had spent more time attacking Mr. Obama than explaining what he would do as president; by about the same number, voters said Mr. Obama was spending more of his time explaining than attacking… Voters who said their opinions of Mr. Obama had changed recently were twice as likely to say they had grown more favorable as to say they had worsened. And voters who said that their views of Mr. McCain had changed were three times more likely to say that they had worsened than to say they had improved."
"The top reasons cited by those who said they thought less of Mr. McCain were his recent attacks and his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate… But in recent days, Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have scaled back their attacks on Mr. Obama, although Mr. McCain suggested he might aggressively take on Mr. Obama in Wednesday's debate."
Meanwhile, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has Obama up nine points among likely voters, 50%-41%. "Obama improved sharply over the last month among independent voters, a much-desired bloc. McCain carried them by a 15-point margin in September; in this poll, Obama led among that group by five points. Men, too, moved toward Obama, with the traditionally Republican-leaning group now in his camp. He also maintained his lead among female voters."
COLORADO: The Rocky Mountain News digs into those new Quinnipiac numbers for the state. The poll "found unaffiliated, or independent, voters favoring Obama 51 percent to 40 percent. In August, when a Quinnipiac poll found the candidates in a statistical dead heat, unaffiliated voters were more evenly split, with 46 percent supporting McCain and 44 percent Obama."
FLORIDA: The Miami Herald previews the GOTV efforts of both campaigns. For Obama: "Starting next week, the campaign aims to catch voters from all walks of life by sending ''town criers'' on city buses, offering shuttle service from college campuses to early voting locations, leafleting at beauty salons and barber shops, and hosting barbecues after church services." And for McCain: "With less money to spend on television and staff, the McCain campaign said it has preserved its firepower for the final stretch. Advisors said Florida voters should expect frequent visits from McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and increased visibility by former Gov. Jeb Bush. U.S. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, both facing reelection challenges, called off a Friday."
NEW MEXICO: Check out this smart Slate piece on New Mexico, and why it's the little threads that matter for this big cultural quilt.
NORTH CAROLINA: In North Carolina, the tally so far comes to 135 bogus voter registration forms handed in by ACORN canvassers.
OHIO: The Boston Globe's Helman looks at the growing exurbs outside Columbus. "This region of Columbus, 15 miles from the city center, typifies the so-called exurbs, the fast-growing outskirts quickly becoming major population centers - and thus major centers of political, social, and economic influence - in the United States. It is here where you'll find scores of swing voters in arguably the biggest swing state of them all. Conversations with them yesterday suggest many have yet to swing, despite the fact that Election Day is less than three weeks away."
County to watch Alert: "Delaware County, which includes these outer stretches of Columbus and towns to the north, voted for President Bush by wide margins in 2004 and 2000, but it is hard to know whether that pattern will hold this year, because it has changed so rapidly - the population of the county rose 50 percent from 2000 to 2007."
VIRGINIA: "The State Board of Elections yesterday adopted a policy that would bar from the polls the wearing of campaign materials that expressly advocate a candidate" MORE: "Jean Cunningham of Richmond, chairwoman of the board, said no one would lose the right to vote under the new policy. Election officials should keep "choir robes" or some other clothing at the polls so people wearing materials that promote a candidate could cover them up before voting, she said."