Even though polls show the Arizona senator and his probable Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., neck-and-neck at this point, the scholars say McCain, in fact, faces long odds partly because the GOP is at the bottom of a cyclical popularity trough, the Politico.com Web site reported Sunday.
"This should be an overwhelming Democratic victory," American University historian Allan Lichtman told the Web site.
Lichtman, whose forecasting model has correctly predicted the last six presidential elections, added, "Republicans face what have always been insurmountable historical odds."
"McCain shouldn't win it," presidential historian Joan Hoff said, saying his chances resemble those of Hubert Humphrey in 1968, who lost to Richard Nixon because of the unpopularity of a sitting president of the same party, in Humphrey's case, Lyndon Johnson.
And Alan Abramowitz, a presidential scholar at Emory University, told Politico.com that this year represents one of the worst political environments for the incumbent party since World War II.
"It would be a pretty stunning upset if McCain won," Abramowitz said.