|New Polls (Aug. 24-27)|
(With Leaners/ Without Leaners)
|Florida||Kitchens/Chamber of Commerce||+3|
|North Carolina||Public Policy Polling||+3|
In most cases, these polls confirm what we already know about the state of the races in each. Texas remains comfortably in McCain's column, though perhaps not as comfortably as recent electoral history would lead us to believe. In Rhode Island the story is similar. This is just the fifth poll in the state and the only one since the end of June, It, nonetheless, is in line with where FHQ's weighted average was with the 21 point margin in Brown University's poll.
The real action is in the toss up states, though. Even though there were no shifts -- between candidates or categories -- there was some some rearranging as far as how states were positioned relative to each other. None of these toss up states through these polls really performed outside of what our expectations would be at this point. The possible exceptions are Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania. The five point margin in the Suffolk poll of Colorado is about twice what we have it in our average. And that margin certainly differs from the tightening in the Centennial state that we have seen in recent polling. In Florida and Pennsylvania the story is slightly different. While the 7 point margins in the Strategic Vision and Quinnipiac polls, respectively, show wider margins than our average would otherwise indicate, they are not out of line with other polls in either state. Pennsylvania has been consistently within the mid-single digit range in Obama's favor since he claimed the Democratic nomination. And Florida had shown a similar margin in McCain's favor as recently as the end of June. The Sunshine state has since seemed more competitive, but this result is not as out of whack as the Suffolk poll in Colorado.
The result is that the map retains its 298-240 electoral vote margin, giving Obama a slight lead overall. Most of that margin can be accounted for by the difference in the Strong and Lean tallies on each side. In Democratic strong and lean states, Obama has 222 electoral votes, while McCain, in his strong and lean states has 154 electoral votes. That 68 electoral vote deficit mirrors pretty closely, though not exactly, the 58 electoral vote margin that the map shows today. But that's 222 electoral votes and not 272 for Barack Obama in those strong and lean states. In other words, the toss up states still matter. If any one candidate claims the momentum down the stretch, those 14 states, in whole or in part, could move in the direction of the candidate with the momentum. And as the Electoral College Spectrum below shows, Obama still needs to maintain a lead in three or four of those Obama toss ups to clear the 270 electoral vote barrier. Due to that lead in strong and lean states, though, the Illinois senator still has more paths to victory than does his Republican counterpart from Arizona.
|The Electoral College Spectrum*|
|*Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.|
**The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, McCain won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (all Obama's toss up states, but Michigan), he would have 299 electoral votes. Both candidates numbers are only totaled through their rival's toss up states. In those cases, Obama's number is on the left and McCain's is on the right in italics.
***The line between Colorado and New Hampshire is the where Obama crosses (or McCain would cross) the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election. That line is referred to as the victory line.
Obama maintains the ability to cede some of those toss up state and still win the election. McCain, at this point, does not have that luxury. Even if McCain is able to keep or sway the three most competitive states -- Nevada, Ohio and Virginia -- in his direction, he still falls short of 270 electoral votes. The spectrum does look largely similar to the rankings on Sunday. Florida and Alaska flip-flopped -- Yeah, that means something different in this context, doesn't it? -- positions, but that is the only shift. I will note that Pennsylvania is continuing to move further into the blue. As of now, the Keystone state is close to surpassing Michigan as the final toss up state on Obama's side. Biden effect? Eh, I'll hold off on making that claim for the moment.
|The Watch List*|
|Alaska||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Florida||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Georgia||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Minnesota||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Mississippi||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|New Mexico||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|Ohio||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Virginia||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Washington||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Wisconsin||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
On the Watch List, there isn't much to talk about. Florida's trip off the list was short-lived as it has returned to a position closer to switching to a McCain lean state. But the Sunshine state is still within Obama's reach. Not as close as a state like Virginia though. I suspect Obama will continue to spend in Florida, but some of those resources may be shifted in Virginia's direction at some point. Let's recall that McCain has yet to do any spending in Florida. Obama, then, has made up some ground, but has yet to bring the Sunshine state into his column. The flip side of this is that there is likely a pretty large contingent of Clinton voters in the state that, if won over during this week's convention, could make a difference. Only one act of the unity effort is complete, though. Act two is tonight and act three follows tomorrow night from Invesco Field. Both may tell us something about how successful Obama is at pulling those Clinton folks into the Democratic fold.
The Links (8/27/08)
Some Good One-Liners Tonight at the Democratic Convention
An August Look at the Barr/Nader Effect in 2008