Not an outlier, since the differences are within the margin of error for the individual polls. Each poll has a MOE of approximately 3%. Since the OH results are 49-44 and the PA results are 48-45, the differences aren't statistically significant.
An outlier is where you have one poll that is really different than the others. The Survey USA poll of NC recently is more correctly labeled an outlier.
Here's why it's not so bleak as you make it out to be. Likely voter screens will assume that older voters will vote because they have voted in the past. They will assume that newly registered and younger voters will not because they haven't. So, in the worst case scenario, Obama is 2% behind McCain in a red state that went strongly to Bush in both 2000 and 2004. (LV polls will tend to give an upper limit for McCain since his voters will typically pass the screen.) And this is right after the RNC so you'd expect McCain to be getting a convention bounce while Obama's bounce probably has dissipated.
In the other scenario, younger voters will increase their turnout in the GE as they did in the primaries and Obama's GOTV efforts around newly registered voters are successful. (A LV screen is Obama's lower limit.) If that happens, then Virginia will flip.
However, I see two problems with this line of thinking. First, the Detroit Free Press had a similar focus group but with men and women. In that group, the independents were much more negative towards Palin than were the Republicans or even the Democrats. Granted, these are small samples but it appears that she trades driving up the base with driving down independents. That's a losing proposition for McCain.
Second, I'm not sure soccer moms turned into security moms. You can point to any one demographic group and say they are the determining factor in an election. However, the same can be said about Hispanics, young voters or a number of other groups.
We should have a much better idea of the impact in a week or so once the bounces from the conventions fade away.
You didn't understand this concept in the primaries and I see that things haven't changed since. Experience and judgment is acquired from many different sources. Since none of the candidates have been President before, none of them have experience directly related to the job in question. As a result, you have to look at their life experiences and decide if that background gives them the judgment to make good decisions once elected.
Sarah Palin was mayor of a town of approximately 8,500 people and has been governor of a state of approximately 680,000 for less than 2 years. She has expressed no interest in affairs outside of Alaska which results in very little knowledge of policy details, both domestic and foreign. Look at the Youtube clips being posted and tell me that she has the knowledge necessary to make good decisions.
Compare this with Obama. He has made several trips abroad, has been able to have substantive discussions with foreign leaders and has more than just a working knowledge of world affairs. Hell, even Bush is following his lead on a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq and talking to Iran. Domestically, he has shown the ability to get legislation passed in Congress in a bi-partisan manner, working both with Colburn on ethics legislation and Luger on nuclear non-proliferation. You can't just count up the number of years in a position. It's not that simple.
Most importantly, McCain apparently made his choice for VP based on one in-person meeting with Palin last February, one phone call earlier this month and a second in-person meeting earlier this week. Is that good judgment? Sounds pretty rash to me.
Apparently she was for it in 2006 and wanted to get the money appropriated while the GOP was still in power. After it became obvious Congress wasn't going to give them the money, she stated they were $329 million dollars short and would have to find another way to get people to the airport. In the end, she complained that people didn't understand transportation projects in Alaska and they were being unfairly judged.
One of the pieces of legislation that Obama cosponsored and got passed was the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. Who was the primary cosponsor? Sen. Coburn from Oklahoma. They just introduced legislation last week to strengthen it. I would have thought Dan Boren whould have been able to know what's going on in his home state before making a blanket statement about Obama's supposed unwillingness to work in a bipartisan fashion.
So, you're okay with meeting without preconditions. Just that you don't want to have the President meet with someone unless there's something to show for it.
And what's the drawback with meeting with them and at the end of the day, we say there's nothing we agree on? Someone gets a photo op (probably with a frowning Obama) and a press conference where we state we did all we could but the other side wasn't accomodating. Assuming we did the talking in good faith, I think that puts us in a better position than we were when we started.
What conditions do you think have to be in place before we start talking? Iran's not going to give something up unless they expect something in return. And the only way you'll know if that is an acceptable bargin is to talk.