|New Polls (Sept. 9)|
(With Leaners/ Without Leaners)
|Florida||Public Policy Polling||+5|
|North Carolina||Survey USA||+20|
But why does Montana shift categories and North Carolina doesn't? Good question. And it has to do with the number of polls conducted since Super Tuesday in each state. North Carolina has nearly eclipsed the 30 poll mark while Montana has had just a handful of surveys done. The result is a small N problem. The state with fewer polls is more susceptible to outliers than the state where the average is more established. That is why Montana jumped North Carolina, trading in toss up pink for McCain lean red in the process. Even though that 20 point margin is larger than the margin in Montana, it is an extreme outlier among the other polls in the Tar Heel state. There has not been a double digit margin in either direction in the state since all the way back in February. North Carolina may end up a McCain state in November, but this poll is out of step with the host of polls conducted thus far in the state.
|Changes (Sept. 9)|
|Montana||Toss Up McCain||McCain lean|
Montana, then, reverts to its roots, handing the Republican candidate a heavier share of support. In the process, McCain augments his "safer" electoral votes by three. Obama still has nearly as many electoral votes stored away in his strong category as McCain does in his strong and lean categories. That hasn't changed. What has changed is that some McCain toss ups are shifting into more comfortable positions for the Arizona senator and all the while -- especially with the addition of Ohio yesterday -- has increased his toss up total as well. McCain's advantage over Obama in projected toss up electoral votes is now almost 50.
What we are witnessing is a subtle shift toward McCain. The Arizona senator and his running mate have shored up some of the traditional Republican states, but other than Ohio, Obama is not yielding any states that are shaded in blue.
|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.
And when the focus shifts to the Electoral College Spectrum, the thing that is striking is that there just isn't that much light blue anymore. Ohio is pink and Nevada remains tied. The real test for Obama, then, appears to be keeping Colorado and New Hampshire on his side of the partisan line. With Montana's shift the Arizona senator has now consolidated the right two columns on the spectrum, but that gets him only to within 110 electoral votes of 270. There are still a number of states in pink, but one has to wonder how long that will be the case. If the new trend is for traditional Republican states to begin shifting toward McCain, then we might expect Indiana and North Dakota to shift toward McCain.
|The Watch List*|
|Georgia||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Minnesota||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Mississippi||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Montana||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Nevada||from Tie||to Toss Up McCain/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|
|Wisconsin||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
With new polling, Montana and North Carolina join the Watch List. I don't know that we've heard the last of Montana as a toss up, but, like Georgia, it could be jettisoned by the Obama campaign in order to focus on Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire, for example. North Carolina is now right up against the line between being a toss up and a lean state. If 20 point margins are the new trend in the Tar Heel state, then it won't take too long for the state to move into McCain lean territory. Given the polling history there, though, that seems a stretch.
As was the case yesterday, though, we are going to have to wait and see how this all plays out for the next week or so.
The Links (9/9/08): Advertising Call and Response
The Electoral College Map (9/9/08)
2008 vs. 2004: Glass is Half Empty/Glass is Half Full