Well, what were the results (...of these now week and half old polls)?
|Zogby Interactive -- Wave Three (Sept. 9-12)|
|New Hampshire||Zogby Interactive||+6.3|
|New Mexico||Zogby Interactive||+1.5|
|North Carolina||Zogby Interactive||+1.5|
There is a lot of red on that list and surprisingly that red stretches into a trio of states, Colorado, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, that are currently among the group of Obama toss ups. North Carolina, once again, has a result contrary to what has been witnessed throughout other polling recently. That has been the mark of Zogby's efforts in the state across the three iterations of surveys, though. Finally, Michigan of all states is apparently immune to the red drift in many of these states, turning in a solidly blue 5.7 point margin for Obama.
That's all well and good, but what effect did these poll have on the electoral college map? Nothing really. Not one of these states changed categories and that can be attributed largely to the number of polls that have been done in all these toss up states and New Mexico over the entire campaign. With an increasing amount of polling activity in the most competitive states, outliers are absorbed into the backend of the weighted average with little, or in this case no, effect. But while the electoral college was left unchanged, the assessment of the bounce the McCain-Palin ticket got out of the GOP convention did not. The picture without these polls from Zogby was a bit mixed. McCain gained, especially in traditionally Republian states that had been closer than history would indicate prior to the convention. However, his momentum in FHQ's toss up states was less pronounced. The Arizona senator had the averages moving in his direction in seven of the 11 toss up state, but Obama still had New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Indiana moving toward him since the pre-convention baseline was set on August 24.
But New Hampshire and Pennsylvania were among the Zogby polls that showed a McCain lead. They were and both those polls had the effect of shifting the averages in the Arizona senator's direction. In Nevada and Ohio the bounces increased as well, moving from the "barely moved" range into the middle category of movement -- a one to two point change in the average over the convention period and its aftermath. All was not lost for Obama, however. Based on the strength of Zogby Michigan poll, the trend in the Wolverine state began to favor the Illinois senator. And the surprising Obama lead in North Carolina helped mute the effect McCain got out of his convention in North Carolina.
Given that we see such volatile changes based on a series of polls that may not be all that representative, why include them at all? A valid question. One that I'll answer with another question: What happens to the weighted averages when we back out all three waves of Zogby polling? If the effect is minimal, no harm, no foul, right? But if there is a decided shift toward one of the candidates, then the idea of the polls' inclusion may need to be revisited. Since the first two waves were seen as favorable to Obama, it could be hypothesized that McCain would stand to benefit from those polls being omitted.
Here is the electoral map from today:
And here is how the map would look tomorrow if the Zogby polling were dropped from the averages (Huh? Tomorrow? How does that square with the map for today? This gives you a sneak peek for tomorrow's update. It includes the polling released today, all 18 polls from 15 states.):
Yeah, that's it. North Carolina is the only state that changes categories based on the three waves of Zogby polling being dropped. But as we have seen, changing the color on one state on a map doesn't really provide us with the full picture.
|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 and New Mexico), 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. Both states are currently favoring Obama, thus the blue text in those two cells.
As we look at how the Electoral College Spectrum and Watch List would look with today's polls included, but the Zogby polls omitted, what we see is that there are not that many changes, but what changes there are, are almost wholly within Obama's coalition of states. Maine, Maryland and Massachusetts all saw decreases in their respective averages. Not enough, to warrant any worry from the Democrats or joy from Republicans, but noticeable changes for states that have remained largely unchanged over the summer. The biggest shake up is among the Obama lean states. Of those, only Washington kept its same position, close to being a strong Obama state. Iowa came out stronger without the Zogby polls in the equation, jumping New Jersey, Oregon and Minnesota. Without the June Zogby poll, Minnesota also inches even closer toward being competitive as measured by FHQ's weighted average.
|The Watch List*|
|Alaska||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Delaware||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Massachusetts||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Nevada||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|New Mexico||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|North Carolina||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Ohio||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|South Carolina||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Texas||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Washington||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Wisconsin||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
And the Watch List? Virginia will be back on the list tomorrow -- with the Zogby polling included -- but without the Zogby date, the Old Dominion would be back off the list. Ohio is very close to sliding off the list without those polls as well. Georgia will come off the list tomorrow with or without these polls and South Carolina is slightly safer for McCain with that 1 point Obama lead in their June poll dropped from consideration. Finally, Massachusetts reenters the list as well after a prolonged absence. Well, the Bay state would be back on if the Zogby poll there weren't propping the state's average up to some degree.
In the end, the biggest surprise was that South Carolina didn't shift into safer McCain territory. North Carolina's shift was expected, but even that move was muted. The lesson here is that, yeah, Zogby adds some noise, but the overall effect is not that severe. Should we keep them, should we drop them? That, my friends, is certainly up for discussion.
The Electoral College Map (9/22/08)
The Electoral College Map (9/21/08)