|New Polls (July 6-9)*|
|New Hampshire||Zogby Interactive||+3|
|New Jersey||Zogby Interactive||+13|
|New Mexico||Zogby Interactive||+16|
|New York||Zogby Interactive||+21|
|North Carolina||Zogby Interactive||+9|
|South Carolina||Zogby Interactive||+1|
|*All polls from Zogby International. Follow link and click state for poll data.|
The real surprises were the deep red states that have Obama in the lead: Arizona, Arkansas and South Carolina (Yeah, I know South Carolina isn't deep red--really isn't now--but I just can't shake recent and even not so recent history in the Palmetto state.). Arizona is the shocker. I can't imagine that the Grand Canyon state will go against its senior senator in November, but the fact that it is following neighbors, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico into potentially competitive status, can't come as welcome news to the campaign of the presumptive Republican nominee.
On the blue side of the ledger, things remain pretty much the same. Obama is still running strong in the northeast (New Hampshire being the only possible exception. The Granite state's numbers jumped after Obama's clinch but have come back down to earth a bit since. Is that a bounce?) and through that swath of states from Wisconsin over through Michigan and Ohio over to Pennsylvania.
Despite all the new polling, there really isn't that much in the way of change. Ohio, back on June 18 was the last state to shift from one side to the other (red to blue), but since then the map and the average behind have simply been fine-tuning the positions of both candidates in each of the states. We have a good amount of information in most of the states now so that even the polls that appear to be outliers are quickly absorbed without altering the fundamental shape of the race. South Carolina is one of those exceptions. There are only three polls out now from the Palmetto state, but each has been in the single digits. One double digit poll (likely in favor of McCain) would shift things substantially with that limited amount of polling. In this case however, the third poll is one that shows Obama ahead in South Carolina by one point. That techinically isn't an outlier since the one and only poll that we had prior to last month came out in late February and pegged McCain's lead at just three points. What the new poll does do is pull South Carolina back into the toss up category it had been in until last month's Rasmussen poll.
|Changes (July 6-9)|
|New Mexico||Toss Up Obama||Obama lean|
|North Carolina||McCain lean||Toss Up McCain|
|South Carolina||McCain lean||Toss Up McCain|
Beyond South Carolina, though, there were only two other states that switched categories. Both New Mexico and North Carolina moved toward Obama. In each, unlike South Carolina, there has already been a fair amount of polling, the most recent of which have trended toward the Illinois senator. Even with that said, both Zogby margins were a bit beyond what what has been witnessed in the Old North state and the Land of Enchantment. Each serves as an point of punctuation, if not peak, in the recent polling in both states for the Obama campaign.
All that really happened then, was that the electoral vote numbers on both sides were tweaked without shifting any over to the opposition. Obama slid a handful into the lean category while McCain lost some leaners to toss up status on his side. The Arizona senator's strong and lean electoral votes add up to 176; one more than the number Obama currently holds solidly. And with Obama moving to the center--with a good amount of press coverage but no real damage to his campaign--that cannot be good news for the McCain folks. While that doesn't necessarily bode well for McCain, the fact remains that he only trails in this accounting of the electoral college by 58 electoral votes with 13 states and 140 electoral votes up for grabs.
|The Watch List*|
|Alaska||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Arizona||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Florida||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|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|
|Ohio||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Oregon||from Obama lean||to Strong 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.|
Of those 13 states, only four are currently on the Watch List (states that could potentially move given future polling). And all have been trending toward Obama since May with the possible expecption of Nevada. The Silver state just looks close. With North Carolina and Virginia already "giving" McCain 28 of his 240 total electoral votes, that leaves just 25 electoral votes in Nevada and Ohio as the one most immediately up for grabs. That would only cut the margin in the map above by less than half; obviously not enough to put McCain in the White House.
The list did lose Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas while adding Arizona, Oregon and Virginia. Of those Missouri, Virginia and possibly New Mexico are the only competitive ones. The eleven above though are the ones to watch as we head into the weekend.
...and hopefully some increased polling (now that July 4th is over).
[Update]: I should also have mentioned that Bob Barr did really well in these Zogby polls, getting anywhere from 2 to 10% in each. I'll have to look at those averages across all 34 states, but if the former Georgia congressman were to continue pulling 8% in places like Colorado or Iowa, it would make McCain's job of reaching 270 that much more difficult.
Jesse Helms and the Current American Political Climate
The Electoral College Map (7/6/08)