|New Polls (Sept. 20)|
|Idaho||Research 2000/Daily Kos||+29|
|Maine||Research 2000/Daily Kos||+14|
|North Carolina||Public Policy Polling||0|
And the red states? Well, the polls from Idaho, Missouri and Tennessee are right around where we would expect them to be. Like Michigan, Misssouri is a red toss up state that has been resilient to the volatility we've witnessed lately. In the Carolina's, however, there is a lot of action. Above, we discussed states bouncing back from seemingly anomalous polling results. Both North and South Carolina fit well in that discussion. North Carolina has been all over the place in September; from a 20 point McCain advantage immediately following the GOP convention to a tie in the PPP poll released just yesterday. The Tar Heel state is close to being out of reach for Obama, but it is closer to being one of the competitive states than it is a safe McCain state at this point. Is a tie accurate? No, but it is a better indication of the state of play in the Old North state than that bounce-inflated 20 point margin.
|Changes (Sept. 20)|
|South Carolina||Strong McCain||McCain lean|
Just south of North Carolina, the six point margin in yesterday's Rasmussen poll of the Palmetto state is likely below where South Carolina will end up in November, but it is closer to right than the 22 point range in Friday's ARG poll. Again, like Alaska, a lack of overall polling in South Carolina makes the average -- even a weighted average -- more vulnerable to outliers than traditional swing states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, each of which have over 40 polls each during this cycle. The outcome? South Carolina shifts back to a McCain lean state. Will it stay there? My guess is that it won't (Yeah, a big blow to some South Carolina Democrats I know.). South Carolina just feels like one of those 10-12 point margin states for McCain. FHQ typically steers well clear of gut feelings, but this is one I feel fairly confident about. [Keep in mind that this election is one that is tailor made for making such predictions look stupid in a heartbeat. Those same SC Democrats I mentioned above won't let me hear the end of it if I'm wrong, I'm sure.]
So South Carolina, after looking like it was moving with the recent trend line away from Republican "lean" status, appears as if it may be crowding in on West Virginia's place as the "contrary state" of the moment. Caution alert: we'll need more polling in South Carolina to back that assertion up. Just based on my gut feeling above, we would be expected to see South Carolina move closer to McCain than away from him at this point.
|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.
With those 8 electoral votes shifting back into the middle category on the Republican side, the total grows to 19 electoral votes; hardly better than the 11 before hand. That doesn't give FHQ much reason to alter its thinking about this race at the moment. There are three very clear distinctions among the blue states, but only two on the Republican side. Though that is being reiterated again today, it doesn't change that fact that the bottom line remains the same. Obama continues to maintain a slight advantage in the electoral college.
|The Watch List*|
|Alaska||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Delaware||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Georgia||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Nevada||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|New Mexico||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|North Carolina||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Ohio||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|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.|
South Carolina may be physically off the Watch List now for immediately changing categories, but it remains a state to watch simply because of where it is taking up space: the shrinking McCain lean category. But with South Carolina off, the list is down to just ten states and only half of those involve states that could move into or away from toss up status. The gaps in the other states are too great at this point for either candidate to make it interesting. So though Georgia and Texas are on the line close to switching to lean states, that really wouldn't help Obama much. Losing by 7 points in November is the same as losing by 20 or 40 points. [Alright electoral college haters, that's your cue.] With just more than six weeks left, those margins are too wide to make any difference.
The Electoral College Map (9/20/08)
The Electoral College Map (9/19/08)
The Electoral College Map (9/18/08)