Just like 2000, this election will come down to the Electoral College, so I have been watching that closer than the national polls. My favorite sites are
http://www.electoral-vote.com/ (leans left, has the most user-friendly display)
http://www.geocities.com/hedgehogreport/bushkerry2004state.html (leans right)
http://unfutz.blogspot.com/ (compilation of electoral college prediction)
The interesting thing, is that even with Bush enjoying a significant (outside the margin of error) lead, Kerry still had a lead in almost half the electoral college predictions. That was yesterday. Today new polls in FL (Bush +1), WI (Bush +4), PA (Bush +1), and OH (Bush +12) have given Bush a sizable lead. But notice that all of these are well within the margin of error (except for the Ohio poll which was conducted by the GOP polling firm Strategic Vision and is completely inconsistent with other polls conducted at the same time.)
My current predictions:
The Big three (OH, PA, FL)
Ohio goes Bush, Pa goes Kerry, FL should be a coin flip but Jeb is doing a hell of a job trying to influence the vote (http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/articles/2004/09/14/fla_official_allows_nader_onto_ballot/)
Kerry's to lose:
Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, NH, Maine (throw in OR, WA, MN, NM if you want)
Bush's to lose:
Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee (I'd bet Bush loses one of these: CO, MO, AR)
Nevada is a coin flip.
There are also a few major wild cards:
1) Voter turnout is expected to be much bigger this year, therefore the polling firms' definitions of "likely voter" are out the window
2) The Colorado referandum to divide electoral votes proportionatly would effectively take CO off the table. This was a big deal a month ago (when if would have given Kerry four EVs out of nowhere), but the last three polls have shown CO split down the middle, so this could turn out to be a non-factor.
3) Word is that oversees voters are registering in record numbers this year. There are about 5 million american over 18 overseas, and nobody has any idea what their demographics are (only 8% of those are military). These voters are not represented in any of the polls.
4) Tradition is that undecided voters vote for the challenger over the incumbent by a 2 to 1 margin. But are there any undecided voters this year?
My handicap? I still have high hopes for Kerry. This race is neck-and-neck, and we still have the debates to go.