|New Polls (July 2-5)|
|Rhode Island||Rhode Island College||+24|
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island made up the states where those seven polls were conducted and all but one of those polls gave Obama an edge over McCain of more than 20 points. But since each is already rated a "Strong Obama" state, none of this comes as too much of a surprise. The real news comes out of the only two red states that were polled in this late week window. Insider Advantage turned in yet another close result in Georgia and Rasmussen produced the mirror image of the Montana poll the service conducted three months ago showing a 5 point McCain lead.
|Changes (July 2-5)|
|Georgia||Strong McCain||McCain lean|
|Montana||McCain lean||Toss Up McCain|
It is those two polls that triggered the only changes we witness in our weekend map, and both are red states shifting in Obama's direction. Georgia continues to jump back and forth between being Strong McCain and a McCain lean. The Peach state, however, remains a state that is on Obama's board, but only barely so. It has fairly consistently hovered around that 10 percent point in FHQ's average for a few weeks now. While Georgia may still be an Obama target, it isn't as likely a potential pick off as Bush 2004 states like Colorado, Ohio or Virginia. And that brings us to Montana. The Treasure state has been polled far less than many other states and as such is more susceptible to the volatility one outlier can produce. Having said that though, none of McCain's leads in the previous 3 polls in the state exceeded single digits. So, while the five point edge the current Rasmussen poll in Montana gives Obama is an aberation in the face of past polling in the state, it only pulls the average into Toss Up McCain status on the map below (and past the point of being placed on The Watch List further down).
Obama's electoral college numbers remain stationary as all the blue states polled already favored him (and heavily at that). The electoral college breakdown shifts on right end of the spectrum, though. McCain's strong and lean states make up nearly 200 electoral votes, but overall the toss up states still favor Obama and three other McCain lean states (Alaska, Florida and North Carolina, 45 electoral votes) could slip into Toss Up status. That increases the Arizona senator's pool of Toss Up states, but at his own expense; dropping his number of safer states. The message? As it was during June, Obama currently holds a distinct advantage in the electoral college breakdown here as McCain holds to a decreasing number of electoral votes (with more trending toward being more competitive).
|The Watch List*|
|Alaska||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Florida||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Massachusetts||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Minnesota||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Mississippi||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Missouri||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|New Mexico||from Toss Up Obama||to Obama lean|
|North Carolina||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Ohio||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Texas||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Wisconsin||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|Washington||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
Oh, but it isn't all bad for McCain. The new poll in Washington pulls the Evergreen state onto The Watch List (on the line between being a Strong Obama state and an Obama lean). Like Georgia for Obama, though, Washington appears to be a bit beyond McCain's reach at the moment. It is one thing to pull to within single digits, but the real work seems to be putting a dent in that last layer of support that make the difference between a state being truly competitive or merely coming to rest in the gray area between being close and comfortable.
Note: I'll go ahead and post, but I've given Montana two more electoral votes in the map tally than it actually has. I'll correct that and re-post shortly.
Note: Fixed. Montana with 5 electoral votes? Yeah, I don't think so. McCain may wish for a couple more there and and a few more in many other states if these numbers don't change (and they will...we just don't know where) before November.
Note: Fixed. I'm sad to admit that Idaho has been mistakenly tagged with 3 electoral votes since we shifted to the new map at the conclusion of primary season. The map above, as well as all the past maps, have been altered to reflect the reality on the ground in Idaho. Thanks to Anonymous (whoever you are) for the correction. I'd be nothing but a fool on the internet without my readers.
Note: Fixed. Well, I found where that Idaho electoral vote went: Kansas. Thanks to Anton P. in the comments for the 7/2 map for pointing out that Kansas was incorrectly tagged with 8 electoral votes instead of 6. That is now correct on all the maps.
Happy 4th of July!!!!
The Electoral College Map (7/2/08)