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McCain vs. Obama: Divine intervention?

Political analyst Charlie Cook writes that, unless there's divine intervention, McCain is probably going down to defeat. "Say what you will about the campaign he has waged and the running mate he picked, but the collapse in credit markets and the stock market may very well have ended his chances of victory, notwithstanding anything he could have said or done differently. The senator from Arizona is a good man, who served his country admirably. And many would say that he deserved a better chance than he got."

As for Obama, Cook compares him to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whom voters took a chance on after Hurricane Katrina. As I have watched the rise of Barack Obama and how he appears to be on the verge of being elected president, the Jindal analogy seems to ring true: People seem to want to take a chance. If my assumption of an Obama victory proves incorrect, this space will be filled next week with a huge mea culpa."

The latest New York Times/CBS poll has Obama leading by 11 points, 51%-40%. "A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee."

Other findings: "Some perceptions of race are changing, with a marked increase in the number of people who say they believe that white and black people have an equal chance of getting ahead in America today. Mr. McCain's focus on taxes, including his talk about Joe the Plumber, seems to be having some effect, as a growing number of voters now say Mr. McCain would not raise their taxes. Eighty-nine percent of people view the economy negatively, and 85 percent think the country is on the wrong track. Mr. Obama continues to have a significant advantage on key issues like the economy, health care and the war in Iraq."

"Now as Barack Obama and John McCain vie to become the next president, a promise of U.S. energy independence again has become a rallying cry on the campaign trail," the AP writes. "Is it possible, or even desirable? Many energy experts say it's not. People disagree on what energy independence means -- zero energy imports, or something less? And even if the United States were energy independent, would it be insulated from global oil price shocks, with oil priced in a global marketplace? Again, energy experts say don't count on it."