Will Massachusetts turn red in November?

Dave Leip’s Atlas of Presidential Election now has separate maps showing current state-by-state polls for an Obama-McCain matchup and a Clinton-McCain race. For what it’s worth, the aggregate of polls shows McCain now ahead of Clinton 223-169, with states amounting to 146 electoral votes too close to call. McCain leads Obama 252-191, with 92 electoral votes in the toss-up category.

The snapshot of polls suggests that Clinton would win Arkansas and West Virginia but that Obama would lose them; on the other side, Obama would carry Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada but McCain would take those states against Clinton. A Clinton nomination would move Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania from the Republican column to toss-up status — but Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin would move from Democratic to toss-up. As things stand today, an Obama nomination would move Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia from Republican to toss-up, but Massachusetts and New Jersey would shift from Democratic to toss-up.

Could Massachusetts really vote Republican in a closely contested presidential race for the first time since 1916? Rasmussen now has Obama beating McCain 49-42 and Clinton winning 54-35. A few weeks ago, Survey USA put Obama and McCain in a tie (47-47) and Clinton ahead 55-42.

I doubt that Massachusetts will really be up for grabs if the election is at all close. (For that matter, I can’t see Nebraska or North Dakota going Democratic in that situation.) But it’s not totally inconceivable, and one reason can be found in today’s unflattering New York Times story on Gov. Deval Patrick. One has to wonder just how much support Obama would get from the Democratic establishment figures such as House Speaker Sal DiMasi:

Mr. DiMasi, who supports Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York for president, has openly tried to link Mr. Obama to Mr. Patrick’s difficulties, suggesting, along with other critics, that the two are alike in their lack of executive experience. Before the Massachusetts primary in February, Mr. DiMasi said that he did not want a president “in there on a learning process” during his first year in office. (Despite endorsements from Mr. Patrick and Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts, Mr. Obama lost to Mrs. Clinton here by a wide margin.)

Is there a parallel to the 1998 gubernatorial race in Massachusetts? In that year, support for Democratic nominee Scott Harshbarger seemed tepid among Democratic legislators and municipal officials, and Republican nominee Paul Cellucci ultimately prevailed, in large part because he did so well in urban areas. Is there similarly fertile ground for John McCain against Obama in places like Lowell and Brockton?