This week marks the last week of campaigning before the Nov. 4 elections. The last week is always crucial because any major upset will leave no time to make amends. So what is the position of the candidates as they enter the final lap of the race?
If you were to believe the opinion polls, Barack Obama has won it. There is no major survey that puts him behind John McCain. In fact, one of them even gives him a 12-point lead. Speaking on Meet the Press, John McCain virtually dismissed the polls, but his own campaign team probably knows that they've just about lost this one.
Then again, Democrats have the bad habit of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory: remember Al Gore? If Obama is not able to convince his electorate to get up and vote (and most of his followers are young, which means they don't like getting up and going to vote), he could still lose this. But with the current state of the economy, it seems unlikely that people would not be desperate enough to bring in some change.
Then there is Sarah Palin. Now, she's either an utter mistake or the greatest VP candidate ever. But you can't avoid her. You can hate her, but you will still try to listen to her speeches. She hasn't been doing a lot of good for McCain though. Of late, she's taken to criticising George Bush, who is often linked to McCain by Obama. That could prove costly. Joe Biden is also touring the nation, but he doesn't have the kind of presence Palin commands.
In short, the final week will be the acid test for the candidates. Obama must keep the momentum going, he cannot lose this race after coming so close. And he doesn't have to do much: just talk about the economy and he will win! McCain, on the other hand, needs a miracle. He needs to gather his conservative voter-base and prove (somehow) that he can change things. Of course, he could use the old issue of race, but in today's world, most people don't care as much about colour as they do about keeping their home.
The elections will be held on Nov. 4 and the voters will be all members of the electoral college. Catch the results live in CNN.