|New Polls (July 16-20)|
|Alaska||Research 2000/Daily Kos||+10|
|New Jersey||Strategic Vision||+9|
Watch List aside--at least for now--each candidate had five polls in his favor. And each acted in a manner as to confirm what we already knew about the race for the White House in each state. McCain holds slim leads in the mid/South-Atlantic states and continues to do well in the heartland. Obama, on the other hand, remains strong in traditionally blue states in the northeast and northwest. And while that may be true, the underlying electoral college numbers remain unchanged. Obama continues to maintain a 298-240 electoral vote advantage over McCain with no states shifting categories in either direction.
As for the Watch List (the list of states most likely to change categories in the event of new polling), Alaska, Oregon and Washigton all come off. Alaska and Oregon became more firmly "lean" states favoring McCain and Obama, respectively while Washigton barely crossed the threshhold to keep it off the list for the time being. Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia just continue to look like toss up states. And that cannot be welcome news for the Arizona senator, since all were carried by Bush four years ago. If just those three states shifted from red to blue with the rest of the 2004 map remaining unchanged, it would be enough to essentially reverse the 286-252 margin that Bush won by over Kerry. Of course, that doesn't include the other Bush 2004 states that are already favoring Obama now.
|The Watch List*|
|Arizona||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Florida||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Minnesota||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Mississippi||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|North Carolina||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|North Dakota||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Ohio||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|South Carolina||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Virginia||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Wisconsin||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
What we know, then, hasn't changed all that much from before. We may be in the midst of a calm before the storm though; a time when everyone is on vacation (at least from the race for the presidency) and not putting too much stock into the race--or less than they did before. So, we have emerged from a period of activity in the polls following Obama's clinching of the Democratic nomination that set the stage for the general election. It will be interesting to track the movement between now and when the conventions kick off following the Olympics. I will be surprised to see any wholesale changes from what has been established up to now prior to that point. There may be some movement on the margins, but nothing earth-shattering.
As I think about this more, I wonder if the excitement surrounding the Democratic nomination race deprived McCain of an opportunity to effectively define Obama in a way that would help him to shift the race in his direction. Some have argued that the Arizona senator missed his chance during late April and through May. At that point, though, it was hard to get a word in a edgewise, much less define the Illinois senator for the fall campaign. Once Obama wrapped things up though, the public--the non-political junkies excluded--largely eschewed the campaign due to fatigue, waiting to pick back up in the fall before the election. If that is the case--that people were wrapped up in the Democratic race and then collectively tired of politics once the nominee had been determined--then we're talking about an environment that, like the other indicators of presidential success, does not favor John McCain. While on the national level, the two are still close, the state level picture gives the edge to Obama currently. And McCain doesn't seem to have a way to reverse this during a typically crucial period (the summer) anytime before the conventions in late August and September.
The Electoral College Map (7/16/08)
The 30/30 Rule: Obama's Chances in Georgia...and across the South
Can the World Position Itself for the Next President Before the Actual Election? In 2008, it won't be easy.