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So, because my hotel didn’t have my room ready yet once I got in from LGA — and because I really needed a haircut — I decided to get a haircut. Having chosen the marginally swankier Korean-run salon over the Italian barber shop, I was treated to a bottled water and …. a hot-off-the-presses copy of the New Yorker. If you’re in search of some karmatic equity, however, the Gray’s Papaya down the block had a huge Barack Obama sign taking up about half its window space.

In Michigan, Rasmussen has Barack Obama moving into an 8-point lead. Obama had led by 3 points in Rasmussen’s June poll, although other pollsters had shown numbers closer to the 8-point lead that Rasmussen found today.It does not surprise me that Obama had a little bit of oopmh in his Michigan numbers, even if his performance elsewhere has been tepid. The fact that Obama did not campiagn there — and had no field offices set up, etc. — while McCain had done so fairly vigorously, was surely affecting the numbers. But we’re now far enough removed from that period that the state is regressing back to its underlying demographic reality, and particularly its high unemployment rate.

Michigan may be moving further from the Ohio end of the spectrum and closer to the Pennsylvania end of the spectrum. That’s a very important development because there are quite a few ways that Obama could win the White House while losing Ohio only, but many fewer if both Ohio and Michigan were lost. Of note: we now attribute Obama with about a 4.5 percent chance of winning the election while having lost the popular vote.

McCain has improved his standing in two other states, however. In Louisiana, Rasmussen now has him with a 19-point lead, up from 9 points in late May. Although it’s a little difficult to tell what’s going on the the South (polls in states like Alabama have recently moved toward Obama), it is fair to classify Louisiana as “safe McCain”.

And here in New York, Siena has a new poll showing Obama with a 13-point lead; he had led by 18 points in June. What’s interesting is that there was no real deterioration in Obama’s favorability numbers in the state, whereas McCain’s improved a good bit.

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