|New Polls (June 18-21)|
Alaska surprisingly (or not) remains within Obama's reach following a new Rasmussen poll there. The two new polls out of New Hampshire also paint the race in the Granite state as less competitive than it has appeared recently. Two double digit poll margins will typically help. Both have pulled New Hampshire off the Watch List (below) and though the state is still rated as a toss up favoring Obama, it is trending toward a stronger Obama lean. Among the other states polled, not much is different than before: Virginia is still close, but trending toward Obama, California is still favoring the Democrat and well, not many McCain strongholds were polled this week. In the previous electoral college breakdown, new polling had moved Ohio into the Toss Up Obama category, but evidence of how tenuous that lead was came when the new Rasmussen poll favoring McCain brought the weighted average down to zero. But that shift was the only one other than the shocking poll out of Georgia that showed McCain with only a one point lead in the Peach state. That poll is an outlier, given that most of the polling there had hovered around 10 points. However, with Bob Barr's inclusion in the poll, the margin between McCain and Obama was lower and brought the average just under the 10% line dividing strong McCain states from McCain lean states.
|Changes (June 18-21)|
|Georgia||Strong McCain||Lean McCain|
|Ohio||Toss Up Obama||Tied|
With those changes the map shifts very little, but Ohio's 20 electoral votes are now withheld from either candidate due to the tie in the Buckeye state. Even then, Obama holds a 38 electoral vote advantage and could withstand the loss of Ohio and still take an electoral college victory.
On the whole, the momentum remains behind the senator from Illinois. Last week, Michigan and New Hampshire switched from toss ups favoring McCain to toss ups trending toward Obama. And with Ohio's shift earlier this week, Obama took a commanding lead in the electoral college projection. McCain maintains a hold on 202 electoral votes combined in the strong and leaning categories, but with Georgia's switch, that leaning category is growing. Meanwhile, the states on the Obama side are becoming more secure. The strong category grew with the addition of Washington and the toss up category has been augmented by the addition of states that had formerly been toss ups toward McCain.
|The Watch List*|
|Georgia||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Massachusetts||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Michigan||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Mississippi||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|North Carolina||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Ohio||from Tied||to Toss Up Dem. or GOP|
|Texas||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Wisconsin||from Toss Up Obama||to Obama lean|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
That trend is echoed by the potential movement of states on the lines between categories (The Watch List). Of those nine states, five of them are close to moving into categories closer to Obama. Three others (Michigan, Nevada and Ohio) are so close to the tipping point between candidates that patterns are difficult to determine, though they likely hinge on any new polling that emerges from those states. Georgia is the only state that is on a line that could favor McCain with a move.
The one piece of the puzzle that we don't have a sufficient answer to at this point (following Obama's crossing the Democratic delegate barrier) is how things look in some of the strongly partisan states. It is a more interesting question when posed in relation to those solid McCain states. Is the supposed "Obama bounce" being felt in those states as well? Increased polling will help to answer that question.
FHQ has obviously rolled out a new look for this post in an effort to deliver a clearer picture of what we project to be happening in the chase for electoral college votes. Love it? Hate it? The comments section awaits.
2008 Primary and Caucus Final Grade Sheet
Insult to Injury: Obama and His Money
The Electoral College Map (6/18/08)