|New Polls (July 27-29)|
|North Carolina||Public Policy Polling||+3|
These numbers don't stray too terribly far from the established averages in North Carolina and Washington. The Pennsylvania result, though it is outside of where our weighted average has the state currently, is within one standard deviation of the average and is consistent with the direction polling has gone in the Keystone state of late. With only three polls, though, the chances of having any change -- significant or otherwise -- to the electoral college map are slim.
And that happens to be the case: there were no changes to the map. However, that gives us an opportunity to unveil a new feature to these posts. Our discussion on Sunday of where South Carolina ranks on Obama's list of states to potentially pick off from McCain (and Paul's response) got us to thinking about ways that we could show the current balance within the electoral college projection. It is one thing to show this on a map, but the goal is differentiate between even the states within one category, not simply across categories. The Watch List gives some indication of this, but the graphic below is logical stepping stone from the map to that list. So, though Obama's 278-260 electoral vote advantage remains unchanged from Sunday we have this new graphic to help us better understand the state of play in the race for the White House.
|The Electoral College State Rankings|
|* Pennsylvania is the state where Obama crosses (or McCain would cross) the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election.|
Let me explain what you see. Basically, this is a fleshed out version of what I posted in response to Paul the other day. The five columns align the states from the most Democratic to the most conservative, working from top to bottom and left to right. Hawaii, in the top left corner, is the state most heavily for Obama at the moment and Utah is its counterpart on the other end of the spectrum, favoring McCain. The color scheme from the map is the same, so we can see that when light blue switches to pink, the states thereafter begin shifting toward McCain, increasing in their intensity of support for the Arizona senator as they move toward that lower right corner. For example then, the color change tells us that Alaska more strongly favors McCain than Florida, but that within the Toss Up category, Florida is a more solid McCain state than North Carolina. You'll also see Pennsylvania is shaded in yellow. Pennsylvania may not have this distinction in the future, but a state shaded yellow denotes the state that puts or would put either of the candidates over the top in the electoral college. The Keystone state is among the 23 states (and the Distict of Columbia -- which is excluded for aesthetic purposes and because it will undoubtedly go for Obama in November.) that comprise Obama's current electoral college coalition. In fact, it ranks 22, which would mean that McCain would have to change his fortures in Nevada and Pennsylvania to get to 270.
|The Watch List*|
|Arizona||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Florida||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Georgia||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Minnesota||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Mississippi||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|New Mexico||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|North Carolina||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Ohio||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Virginia||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Washington||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
The new graphic enhances The Watch List. We can see that, for example, Washington (the only new addition to the list today) is close to potentially shifting from a strong Obama state to merely leaning toward the Illinois senator. But we also know that, in conjunction the two figures add yet another line of gradation to our discussion, between states that are comfortably within one category and those likely to change with new polling. That adds some complexity to our discussions, but at the same time provides everyone with a bit more information on how things are progressing in the race.
Note: You'll notice that I annoyingly referred to the new graphic as "the new graphic" way to many times. Yes, there's a name atop that addition, but I'm not necessarily sold on permanently calling it The Electoral College State Rankings (too long and probably too boring). Obviously the Tipping Point is being used, and even though that isn't proprietary, it has been overused over the years in these sort of analyses (Plus, you never want to seem like a copycat.). So I'm open to suggestions about what to call not only the entire thing, but the state where the 270 threshold is crossed. If you have any thoughts, the comments section awaits.
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