I take off my partisan hat every now and again and do my own prognostication...
I have consistently looked at polls from a variety of reputable pollsters and featured on a myriad of conservative, liberal, and neutral websites.
I don't believe in using all those different shades of blue and red--they are confusing and unhelpful. There are VERY few states in this election that are super solid one way or the other. Yes, you could argue that Mississipi is a solid red state, but if 90% of their African-American population votes and votes for Obama--then Obama would only need a little over 25% of the "white" vote. Alaska is another "solid" red that just had a poll from Rasmussen showing Obama a lousy 4 points behind.
On the flip side, deep blue Massachussettes' latest poll shows Obama only 3 points ahead. Texas is less "solid" than Oklahoma because OK has consistently polled for McCain since he won the nomination, whereas TX flirted with Obama back in March--yet now seems to have returned to its red roots.
In other words, some states are more solid than others. NC, Oregon, even Georgia, may be more competitive this year, but in the end barring an unexpected event (and those do happen) they will move to their proper columns.
The true swing states I have below in gray:
(Note Nebraska is purple--I think Obama has a real shot at winning a portion of their split EVs in the district with Omaha)
Right now, factors favor Obama. Not just the popular vote and EVs, but right now, Obama is leading in all of these swing states except for Nevada. The good news for McCain is that Obama is leading in all of these swing states by under 5%. (I didn't say great news.) But McCain doesn't need to win ALL of them, just the right amount to win the magic 270. If I were a McCainiac, these would be the states I would tell him to go after:
Starting with 187 pretty assured EVs:
1. Florida. Florida, like the rest of the nation, has been trending Democratic in the national polls. But this is still a red state with a red governor and overwhelming GOP state legislature. The GOP has built quite an apparatus here--(believe me, I know!). It would make sense for McCain to take advantage of it. But this state is also a must-win for McCain. It is the largest swing state with 27 electoral votes. He would have to win Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota just to make up a defeat here. Out of the big 3 (Ohio, PA, and FL), Florida is his best shot. up to 214
2. Ohio. No modern republican has won without Ohio. Like Florida, Ohio shows a blue lead for Obama. But the good news is that if any GOPer would win Ohio in this Dem year, it would be McCain or no one. He has got to spend a lot of RNC money here and a lot more time to get his lead back. But this is also a must-win. up to 234
3. Virginia. This state hasn't voted GOP since before I was born--Lyndon Johnson was the last one. But this year it is trending Dem. McCain should try to hold on to this state one more time using the typical conservative playbook in the Southwest and the moderate "maverick" playbook in the Northeast. PS--If Obama picks Webb or Kaine as veep, then McCain should spend his resources elsewhere. up to 247
4. Michigan. Out of the mid-west states, this one is the best shot for McCain with the exception of Missouri. Wisconsin has moved solidly to Obama. Iowa has consistently been with Obama over 5%, as has Minnesota (although the convention here may give it a short-lived crimson boost.) Although Michigan is currently trending Obama, it is under 5% and until recently favored McCain. Michigan also has the most electoral-votes as the other states mentioned here--17. He has got to fight here and fight hard. Since Ohio is just below, he should get a lot of mileage with his bus fleet between these two states. up to 264
5. Nevada. The only swing state that currently has McCain leading. McCain is favored to win here, although his lead has been shrinking steadily. But the other swing states have been trending Obama, so his best bet is to focus his attention on retaining this Bush state. up to 269
Where to get the remaining EV? Nebraska. Make sure Obama doesn't split NE, and that's it.
I would much rather be in Obama's shoes, but the task is not insurmountable.