Polls: Obama Widens National Lead
Democrat opens up 5.8 point lead over John McCain
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2008 6:04 AM CST
Barack Obama steps off the plane at the airport in Cincinnati, Ohio Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – In the final hours, Barack Obama's national lead in the polls is still inching up, writes Nate Silver at Fivethirtyeight.com, to 5.8 points by late last night from 5.4 earlier in the afternoon. Silver's analysis of the latest polls also predicts that Obama stands to win more than 340 electoral votes. The polling maven attributes the uptick to three factors: a strengthening position in Pennsylvania, a dead-ending McCain campaign, and more undecideds making up their minds.

Silver's model, which calculates 10,000 different electoral scenarios, predicts a win for Obama 96.3% of the time, up from 93.7 earlier. Even if McCain were to win a large majority of the remaining undecided voters, the national significance would be little more than 1 point. Silver notes that pollsthat include cellphones give Obama an even wider spread--an average of 10.0 points.