Here at the final table . . .
Barack Obama won't be answering questions . . .
John McCain won't be having another town hall . . .
Obama is giving Sarah Palin more airtime than McCain is . . .
Both candidates get one final messaging shot, on "Monday Night Football" . . .
The expanded map is shrinking into focus . . .
And, as always, it's about the stubborn math.
The presidential candidates are taking their final, hectic laps through the states that will determine the election with the typical last-minute barbs and surprise (but not really) new attack lines.
Less than 24 hours before the voting starts, it's really this simple: If McCain stands a realistic chance, all the numbers and the smart folks have to be systematically and completely wrong -- or need to be made wrong inside of 24 hours.
Messaging and prognosticating are subsumed by realities like turnout at this stage -- and numbers, at last, take over for spin. That means an even narrower path to victory for a campaign that's trying to do more than just go through the final, inevitable motions.
"Heading into Tuesday's election, every major independent poll gives Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama the lead over his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain," Stephen Dinan writes in the Washington Times. "In the state-by-state matchup, the news is also good for Mr. Obama -- the polls suggest he will easily flip Iowa, which went Republican in 2004, and has a lead in a series of other traditionally Republican 'red' states: Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos notes the relatively stability of the polls, and the shrinking universe of undecideds: "We think only 8 percent [of the remaining voters] are undecided, and we think they break pretty evenly for McCain and Obama," he said on "Good Morning America" Monday.
Six big battlegrounds close their polls by 8 pm ET: Indiana, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Florida. To have a realistic shot at 270, McCain needs to win at least five out of the six.
Predictions, from Stephanopoulos and his "This Week" roundtable: Stephanopoulos sees 353 Obama electoral votes, plus 58 Democratic Senate seats; George Will says 378 and 59; Matthew Dowd, 338 and 59; Mark Halperin 349 and 58 members of the Senate Democratic caucus.
"Barring an extraordinary shock, Barack Obama will win more than 270 electoral votes on Tuesday, giving him the White House. Hours before voting starts, John McCain has no clear path to reaching that same goal," Halperin writes. "In fact, based on interviews with political strategists in both parties, election analysts and advisers to both presidential campaigns -- including a detailed look at public and private polling data -- an Obama victory with well over 300 electoral votes is a more likely outcome than a McCain victory."
Get ready for a fierce close: McCain hits seven states in his final full day of campaigning: Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona.
Obama visits Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia on Monday.
Palin stumps in Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada; for Biden, it's Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
"We think we can catch this guy," McCain guru Mark Salter tells The Washington Post's Libby Copeland.
"At the very end of the marathon, you get your second wind," said Sarah Palin.