Looking at the current list of newspaper endorsements on Wikipedia, you get the impression that McCain is ahead in the endorsement race. I've done a bunch of editing on this article today, and I can't find anything to refute that. There are seven dailies listed in favor of McCain (the New York Post, the Baltimore Examiner, the San Francisco Examiner, the Washington Examiner, the Pueblo Chieftan, the Boston Herald, and the Lowel Sun), and only four for Obama (the San Jose Mercury News, the Canton Repository, the Stockton Record, and the Seattle Times).
While you might think that newspaper endorsements don't matter, the (admittedly biased) editor of Editor & Publisher makes an interesting case that endorsements still matter. The case he makes is that the endorsements on a state-by-state level (specifically looking at the battleground states) were a good indicator of which direction the state was going to tip.
More after the fold....
Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher writes:
So, on election eve, I probed the endorsements in 15 battleground states and awarded electoral votes to one candidate or the other solely on that basis. Regarding Colorado, I wrote: "With Dean Singleton taking over as publisher at The Denver Post, both of that city's papers lined up for Bush. Kerry picked up flip-flops in Boulder and Greeley, but it's not enough. Bush gets a rocky win."
For Oregon: "Did anyone notice that this state went from toss-up to leaning left (according to the pundits), right after The Oregonian switched from Bush to Kerry?" And West Virginia: "Some think this state is also still in play, but don't believe it, since Bush carries the dailies, 5-2."
When the votes were counted, I had accurately picked the winner in 14 of the states, from Hawaii to New Hampshire -- including the one that would count most, Ohio. I had observed that Bush earned the nod from The Columbus Dispatch (reportedly, after some ownership intervention), got a no-decision from The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and dominated in Cincinnati, Canton, and Youngstown. I had closed my awarding of Ohio with: "A slight nod to Bush, at least until the court cases begin."
All that said, the endorsements that Obama has gotten have been more interesting and surprising than the McCain endorsements so far. The Stockton Record gave the first endorsement of a Democratic candidate in 72 years. After endorsing Bush in 2004, The Canton Repository has endorsed Barack Obama. Given Obama's ability to reel in newspaper endorsements, this could be the beginning of an avalanche.
I have to imagine that most editorial boards are waiting until the debates are over with to make up their minds. Still, it's interesting to keep track of the tally now, and it's going to be pretty important to make sure the tally doesn't get freeped. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, and thankfully, after being punch drunk from 9/11 and eight years of fearmongering, newspaper editorial boards seem to be getting back in touch with reality.
UPDATE - one clarification; I'm more concerned that my scoreboard (the Wikipedia article) is on the blitz rather than actually being concerned with the state of the campaign.