The Note: The Clash

It's Obama 51, McCain 45 in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll of likely voters in Ohio: "Sen. Barack Obama is riding economic discontent to an advantage in Ohio, bolstered in part by financially stressed voters in the state's hard-hit industrial belt -- and following it up with a more extensive ground campaign in this key contest," ABC polling director Gary Langer writes.

"The contours of the race are telling. Obama leads by a wide margin in Cuyahoga County, the heavily Democratic Cleveland metropolis. But perhaps more critical is his 17-point advantage in the state's northeast, including the ailing industrial cities of Akron, Canton and Youngstown -- a keystone for Democrats in statewide races," Langer writes.

Remember that vaunted GOP turnout operation in 2004. Well: "Thirty-seven percent of Ohio's registered voters say they've been personally contacted by the Obama campaign. That beats the 27 percent who've heard from McCain, and also surpasses the level of contacts by both campaigns in 2004, when Ohio was decisive," Langer continues.

"Still, about two in 10 voters are 'movable,' nearly double the proportion who were in that position two weeks before the 2004 election, suggesting the possibility of some significant shifts in the weeks ahead," the Post's Jon Cohen and Dan Balz write. But: "The support for Obama comes at an opportune time for the Democrat, as Ohioans began early voting a week ago at polling places statewide. The Ohio secretary of state's office estimates that a quarter of all voters will cast their ballots as absentees or at an early voting location before Election Day, more than twice as many as did so four years ago."

You can see 270 from here: Obama has a "clear lead" in all the states John Kerry carried, and "Republicans and Democrats would both say Obama is likely to win Iowa and New Mexico," bringing him to 264, per ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "That leaves eight states as competitive toss-up states, including Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia. In every one of those states, polls show Obama is either ahead or within the margin of error. Obama just needs to take one of those states on Election Day to win."

"John McCain is facing an increasingly steep path to the presidency, as the economic crisis and Barack Obama's financial edge tilt the political landscape to the Democrat's advantage," Mark Z. Barabak writes in the Los Angeles Times.

Check out the latest predictions and analysis from ABC's political unit at the 50-in-50 state-by-state map.

In new national numbers . . .

WSJ/NBC: Obama 49, McCain 43

CNN: Obama 53, McCain 45

CBS (a tighter race): Obama 47, McCain 43

More from the battlegrounds: "On the eve of the penultimate presidential debate, a new TIME/CNN poll shows John McCain still struggling in states won by George W. Bush in 2004, a sign that last week's vice presidential debate had little effect on voter opinion," Time's Michael Scherer writes.

This poll has it Obama 50, McCain 47 in Ohio

The rest of the numbers from Time/CNN:

Indiana: McCain 51, Obama 46 New Hampshire: Obama 53, McCain 45 North Carolina: Obama 49, McCain 49 WI: Obama 51, McCain 46

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