In what he characterized "a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play," Politico's Jonathan Martin this afternoon reported that John McCain is effectively ceding the state of Michigan to rival Barack Obama.
Martin, citing two Republicans, wrote that the McCain campaign would stop running ads and mailing out appeals in the state and would send his staff there elsewhere.
CBS News has confirmed that the McCain campaign will take down most of its advertising in Michigan, though the Republican National Committee continues advertising in the state. Most of the campaign's Michigan staff will remain in place, however, according to a McCain advisor.
"The move away from Michigan reflects the abandonment of any pretense that McCain can spend freely to expand the map for Republicans this year, and it's a sign that the campaign recognizes how the past two weeks have erased nearly all of McCain's gains since August," writes CBS News chief political consultant Marc Ambinder.
A Selzer & Co. poll of Michigan likely voters taken between Sept. 22nd and 24th showed Obama leading McCain 51 percent to 38 percent. A CNN/Time/ORC survey taken around the same time showed a tighter race in the state, with Obama leading 51 percent to 46 percent. Seventeen electoral votes are up for grabs in the state.