Here’s an analysis of the latest NYT poll numbers, favorable to Obama, that gets down to the question I raised yesterday about the early vote.

Will there be an influx of first-time voters as as result of either the big registration drives or enthusiasm for Obama’s candidacy? If there is, the outlook is good. If not …

Recent polls in swing states North Carolina and Missouri show rural voters favoring McCain in big numbers, enough to offset urban votes and put McCain neck-and-neck with Obama in those states. (Of course, North Carolina was supposed to be a GOP runaway at one time.) But new voters and a better-than-expected minority turnout will affect these numbers.