"During stops in Pennsylvania, which Democrat John Kerry won four years ago, McCain said he remains 'a few points' behind rival Barack Obama in the Keystone State. McCain is seven points behind in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, but the GOP nominee predicted a historic comeback," USA Today's David Jackson writes.
The last hope: The undecideds. "If Barack Obama hasn't closed the deal with them after two years in the campaign and a year as the nominee of their party, maybe they're holding out for a good reason," McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told reporters late Sunday, per Politico's Jonathan Martin.
Check this for tone, though: "One candidate's got clean uniforms, a lot of training and all the money in the world. I feel like I'm the Tampa Bay Rays playing against the New York Yankees." On the market turmoil: "The politics played out poorly for us."
Close with a smile, anyone? "The waning hours of the longest presidential campaign in history elicited a fresh round of stinging attacks from Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain and their supporters on Sunday, a departure from the positive messages that candidates normally revert to before an election," Shailagh Murray, Juliet Eilperin and Robert Barnes write for The Washington Post.
"As the electoral map shrinks in these final hours, Ohio has become a must-win for McCain. But if Obama succeeds here, it will avenge not only the Kerry and Gore defeats but also his loss to Clinton during the primary, a defeat that underscored Obama's struggles with working-class white voters," they write.
In Ohio, and elsewhere: "It's downright Rove-ian, by design. Team Obama is mimicking the get-out-the-vote strategy refined by Karl Rove, Bush's reviled election mastermind, who mobilized armies of people to get their neighbors out to vote for Bush in 2000 and 2004," Michael McAuliff writes in the New York Daily News.
On the other side: "John McCain has targeted this wealthy area just north of Columbus as one of 15 counties in Ohio where he needs to drive up his vote tally if he is to beat Barack Obama on Tuesday in this must-win state," Bob Drogin and Robin Abcarian report in the Los Angeles Times. "But on Friday night, only nine volunteers manned the 24 phones in the McCain campaign office. The phone bank began operating on a daily basis just two weeks ago. And since then, only five people have shown up on most weekdays to canvass local neighborhoods."
A last burst of battleground-state polling, from Quinnipiac:
Ohio: Obama 50, McCain 43
Florida: Obama 47, McCain 45
Pennsylvania: Obama 52, McCain 42
Even a tight Florida race doesn't qualify as good news for a campaign that will look for it anywhere these days.
It's 54-43 in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll: "Barack Obama, closing strongly in the campaign's final weekend, matched his best advantage over John McCain to date in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll," ABC polling director Gary Langer writes. "Economic concerns are pushing his support beyond the Democratic base to unusual levels in the political center and even among more traditionally Republican groups."
Langer continues: "Part of Obama's advantage comes from his campaign's ability to turn out early voters; 27 percent say they've already cast their ballots, a strongly pro-Obama group, 59-40 percent. Among first-time voters, moreover, Obama has a nearly 2-1 advantage; many of them are young, and young voters are his strongest supporters."