RON FOURNIER Associated Press Writers WASHINGTON
Barack Obama, gunning for a national landslide, now leads in four states won by President Bush in 2004 and is essentially tied with John McCain in two other Republican states, according to new AP-GfK battleground polling. The results help explain why the Democrat is pressing his money and manpower advantages in a slew of traditionally GOP states, hoping not just for a win but a transcendent victory that remakes the nation's political map. McCain is scrambling to defend states where he wouldn't even be campaigning if the race were closer. Less than a week before Election Day, the AP-GfK polls show Obama winning among early voters, favored on almost every issue, benefiting from the country's sour mood and widely viewed as the winning candidate by voters in eight crucial states Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. "If you believe in miracles," said GOP consultant Joe Gaylord of Arlington, Va., "you still believe in McCain." Despite a mounting chorus of Republicans predicting their nominee's demise, McCain aides insist their internal surveys show victory is still within reach. Indeed, polls are mere snapshots of highly fluid campaigns, and this race has been unusually volatile. McCain was written off prematurely last year, and Obama seemed poised for victory in New Hampshire's Democratic primary just before Hillary Rodham Clinton thumped him. Even this close to Election Day, racial tensions and the numbers of late-deciding voters identified by the AP-GfK polling leave room for doubt. But the surveys confirm what McCain aides acknowledge privately their chances of winning are low. The polling shows Obama holding solid leads in Ohio (7 percentage points), Nevada (12 points), Colorado (9) and Virginia (7), all red states won by Bush that collectively offer 47 electoral votes. Sweeping those four or putting together the right combination of two or three would almost certainly make Obama president. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the White House. Obama can earn 252 by merely reclaiming states won by John Kerry in 2004. There are only two Kerry states still in contention Pennsylvania with 21 votes and New Hampshire with four and AP-GfK polls show Obama leading both by double digits.