A bit of horserace commentary — Crooked Timber:
"I hear (via a prominent member of the sane Republican faction) that the word on the right side of the street is that the Republican National Committee is about to pull the plug on its joint ads with the McCain campaign, and devote its resources instead to trying to save a couple of the senators who are at serious risk of losing their seats. Now this is gossip, albeit of the high class variety; take it with the requisite pinch of salt. But it points to some real vulnerabilities in the McCain campaign’s finances. McCain’s decision to opt for public funding has meant that he’s had enormous difficulty competing with the Obama money raising machine. He’s been able to partly compensate by co-financing ads with the RNC (this skirts the limits of the legislation that he himself co-wrote but is just about legal). This has kept him competitive in TV advertising, albeit still significantly outgunned. But if the Republicans are as worried as they should be about the impending elections, there will be a lot of calls on that money, and the RNC is going to have to make some tough choices.
Should it keep spending money on the presidential campaign in the hope that McCain will win despite the polls, or should it instead try to minimize the damage of a McCain defeat by doing its best to stop the Democrats from making big gains in the Senate? Decisions, decisions …"
FiveThirtyEight.com: Electoral Projections Done Right: Does McCain Have Cooties?: "There are at least three groups of Republicans that might have an interest in distancing themselves from John McCain. Firstly, purple-state moderates like Coleman and Gordon Smith who don't like the campaign's tone. Secondly, the anti-bailout economic populists in the House who might be looking ahead to 2010 and 2012. And thirdly, true conservatives who never trusted McCain that much to begin with.
Far more so than Obama, McCain is dependent on the goodwill of fellow Republicans. With McCain having opted for public financing, RNC funds are an important part of his advertising budget. Because he's way behind Obama on McCain-branded field offices and ground operatives, he is depending on assistance from state and local party organizations. Republican enthusiasm lags behind that of Democrats, and so volunteer resources are scarcer; conservative activists will need to decide if they're going to make phone calls to support McCain or to help save their local Republican Congressman"