We're not sure "close" means what Howard Fineman thinks it does

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The headline for the Newsweek columnist's latest: "Why Is the Race So Close?"

Doesn't that have a very early-September feel to it?

Any way, Fineman publishes a long laundry list of reasons why Obama should be waaaay out ahead in the polls:

What impresses me--and should give Obama himself pause as he considers a possible victory--is that this race is far closer than it should be.

It seems odd to us that Fineman, who gets paid a handsome salary to watch presidential campaigns, thinks Obama's lead in the poll, which hovers around 7 percent, is somehow modest. Any campaign pro will tell you that, mathematically, that translates into an enormous lead in terms of raw votes.

Secondly, Fineman of course understands that presidential campaigns are won on a state-by-state basis and that, in the end, national polls are somewhat useless. But in his column about how close the White House race remains, Fineman remains dutifully silent regarding the data coming in from swing states. Our guess is Fineman's silence reflects the fact that virtually all the surveys in the last four weeks have shown unmistakable movement toward Obama, which means the race for electoral votes, right now, is not "close."

Let's look at the latest electoral vote projections at RCP:

Obama/Biden 286

Toss Up 97

McCain/Palin 155

Last time we checked, trailing by 130 electoral votes less than three weeks before Election Day did not mean the race was "close."

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