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The media is still trying to manufacture an artificially close race -- and as an Obama supporter I'm not sure I  necessarily mind because it guards against overconfidence.  But still I don't know if its due to incompetence or just trying to spin a story that's not there. And it's just poor journalism.

Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic has just posted his latest Atlantic Electoral Map, and while it's certainly more informed than Dick Morris' wacked-out predictions, there is still plenty of idiocy here.

Without quoting too much from the survey here are some of his "best" insights. He has the race as

Obama-likely: 197
Obama-lean:    89
Toss-up:        89

Lean Obama: MN, NM, MI, WI, PA, NH, CO, VA  (89) electoral votes)

Toss-ups: FL, OH, NV, NC, MO, IN (89) electoral votes)

Lean McCain: GA, MT, SD, WV, NE-2  (26) electoral votes)

And among his "likely" McCain states: North Dakota!!

Note: My analysis does NOT include today's new polls since Ambinder might not have considered them in his analysis.

Michigan? The state McCain conceded weeks ago? No new polls but the three most recent ones had Obama +16, +16 and +18.

Minnesota? I guess Marc's going on the last SUSA poll that has Obama up only +6, but three other recent polls put Obama +12. And McCain is not campaigning here either.

Wisconsin? Give me a break! There have been five polls since 10/12 and they're +8, +11, +12, +13 and +15. That excludes a 10/10 Q-poll with Obama +17.

These are damn strong "leaners" if you ask me.

Even Pennsylvania is a dubious "leaner" with Obama enjoying consistent double-digit leads, but I'm trying to be overly conservative here on the projections.

And finally, not that North Dakota will matter much, but how the hell is that "likely" McCain. Does Marc even read the polls?  The last two polls in N.D. have a tie and Obama +2. I'm not saying Obama is going to win but if Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan are all "leaners" for Obama then N.D. sure as hell is at least a toss-up.

Do people think its better for Obama for the pundits to give an artificially tight snapshot of the race -- to guard against overconfidence -- OR project the more accurate view that Obama is far ahead in  hopes of discouraging McCain (and potentially down-ballot) voters from engaging in a hopeless cause?

Update Apparently as one commenter pointed out, Ambinder mixed up North and South Dakota. He has S.D. as "lean" McCain, an OK assessment for N.D. considering it hasn't voted Dem since LBJ. Since anyone can make a mistake, this is not a big deal to me and I would rescind my criticism of him for that particular example only.

Originally posted to bosshijack on Thu Oct 23, 2008 at 09:39 AM PDT.

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