Michael Barone

 My theory: The news media, much of it heavily biased, has been a more effective Bush opponent than Kerry and the Democrats. That's why both Kerry and John Edwards in debates urged voters to remember what they've been seeing on television.

  Continuing violence in Iraq will sink Bush. That could still happen. But almost all the polls show most voters favoring Bush on Iraq as well as the wider war on terrorism.

  This election will be resolved by lawsuits. OK, the fact is that I don't know yet whether this will turn out to be true. It certainly could. But consider this about the 2000 Florida controversy: All the lawyering succeeded in moving only a few hundreds of votes. The problem was that after the first count only about 1,200 votes separated the candidates.

 The Gore campaign could not find a way to challenge Bush's 7,211-vote margin in New Hampshire, whose four electoral votes would have given Gore the election. It's very rare for a decisive state to be as close as Florida. This time, Democrats seem to be preparing to argue that challenged provisional ballots would wipe away Bush margins considerably larger than Florida's. But it's not clear that this will produce prolonged litigation.

  True conventional wisdom. We should remember that not all the political conventional wisdom has been wrong. This does seem to be a very close election, with voters and states standing pretty much where they did in 2000. Polls as this is written suggest Kerry might switch New Hampshire and Ohio from red to blue and that Bush might switch Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico the other way.

 Cultural attitudes still tend to determine presidential vote, and relatively few voters seem to be undecided. But even that conventional wisdom, which still seemed founded with the election more than a week off, may prove to be wrong -- as you may know if you are reading this article after the returns are in.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM