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What Would ‘Tightening’ Look Like?

There is a lot of discussion going on about whether the national race is tightening; our model concludes that it is not. But what would meaningful ‘tightening’ look like in terms of the Electoral College?

Let me be oddly specific here. In order to conclude the Electoral College has tightened to the point where the outcome on November 4 is at least moderately uncertain, I would want to see the following between now and the election. Call it the 2/2/2 condition:

John McCain polling within 2 points in 2 or more non-partisan polls (sorry, Strategic Vision) in at least 2 out of the 3 following states: Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania.

If this condition is met, then I think there could be some drama on Election Night (though by no means would McCain be the favorite). If not, then it’s very hard to imagine McCain winning.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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