Washington, Nov.3 : It's hard to find a political pro who really believes John McCain can turn the presidential vote around on November 4, 2008.
Though the numbers are tightening in the battleground states, a pragmatic senior McCain strategist gave his boss only a 15 percent chance of pulling it off.
The New York Daily News quoted GOP guru Karl Rove, the architect of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 victories, as saying that McCain faced a "very, very steep, uphill climb".
Recent polls analyzed by RealClearPolitics, however, still have Obama ahead by seven points - normally an insurmountable lead in the final hours before the polls open.
Moreover, McCain hasn't been ahead in Pennsylvania since April 24. Six months and 61 state polls later, he's still trying to break through.
Mathematically, a McCain victory remains possible. But that math is extremely daunting. Despite Democrats' million-vote registration advantage, he must pry Pennsylvania away - and also run the table everywhere else. That's possible, but nearly miraculous.
"We can win Pennsylvania and still lose the election," a top McCain loyalist glumly conceded.
Democrats scoffed at the turnaround scenario. "They think if you tell a lie three times, people believe it is the truth," a veteran party operative told the Daily News. "They think you're suckers. I think it's 6 or 7 points [nationally]."
If so, Obama is headed to a comfortable win. If not, another late night awaits.