Having said that, let's use the information gleaned from the Zogby polls to open up a discussion about Bob Barr's presence in the presidential race as the Libertarian candidate. First let's revisit the table from yesterday's post and include the Barr numbers in each of the 34 states polled.
|New Polls w/Barr (July 6-9)*|
|New Hampshire||Zogby Interactive||+3||10|
|New Jersey||Zogby Interactive||+13||3|
|New Mexico||Zogby Interactive||+16||9|
|New York||Zogby Interactive||+21||4|
|North Carolina||Zogby Interactive||+9||4|
|South Carolina||Zogby Interactive||+1||6|
|*All polls from Zogby International. Follow link and click state for poll data.|
Across all 34 states, Barr averages exactly 6%. [Just for fun, I drew the median and mode from the data as well. The median was also 6% while both 5 and 6 were the most frequently occurring values; each showing up in the data seven times.] What do we see (and where do we see it) above the midpoint of 6? Though we may discount the Zogby numbers, it still may be beneficial to examine the Barr patterns we see in this data just as a crude baseline of comparison. [That baseline may need to be tweaked moving forward as we here at FHQ begin to take notice of his numbers in other polls.] Here are the states where Barr received more than 6% support in the recent round of Zogby Interactive polls:
Once the first one on the list (Arizona) and the last two (Oklahoma and Tennessee) are removed, what's left is a fairly centralized group of states. Arizona, though it has been trending ever so slightly in Obama's direction lately, just isn't going to happen for the Illinois senator (and if it does, we are looking at a substantial victory for Obama and the Democrats). Similarly, both the Sooner and Volunteer states are too far gone (even at this point) to go any way other than for McCain. The other nine states, though, are among the two regions we have been discussing as toss up states. On the one hand, you have the western group of states, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. And on the other, there are the midwestern states of Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. Once you throw in ever-independent New Hampshire and Barr's home state of Georgia, you have a pretty interesting group of states. So if you're the McCain campaign, and if these polls provide an indication of where Barr is doing well (even if overstated), you cannot be too terribly encouraged about Barr polling well in swing states. As I said about Colorado and Iowa specifically yesterday (and can be broadened to include these other seven states), Barr's success directly and negatively affects McCain's ability to compete with Obama in many of these states. Barr takes enough Republican support away from McCain in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada and Ohio to bring Obama to within varying levels of striking distance (Georgia is the only state among these not considered a toss up right now by FHQ.). And in Iowa and Minnesota, two states often mentioned as toss ups, Barr potentially eats into McCain's support enough to provide Obama with a comfortable lead.
Even if Barr's support is exaggerated in these polls, if they are anywhere close to being indications of where the former Georgia congressman is performing well, then McCain may very well find it extremely difficult to cobble together enough states to add up to 270 electoral votes. One thing is for sure, I'll be keeping an eye on how Barr is doing in these and other swing states to get a sense of how (and how much) he may be affecting the race between McCain and Obama.
The Electoral College Map (7/9/08) [Update]
Jesse Helms and the Current American Political Climate