|New Polls (Sept. 21)|
|Alabama||Univ. South Alabama||+27|
|Florida||Miami Herald/St. Pete Times||+2|
|Ohio||University of Cinncinati||+6|
But Minnesota still has not budged too terribly much on the map or on the Electoral College Spectrum. In fact, the map is unchanged since yesterday's South Carolina shift. Obama maintains his eight electoral vote edge over McCain due in large part to the fact that the five state block from Colorado through Virginia is stationary through the addition of these nine polls. If there is any change to the electoral vote tally, it will be triggered most likely by the movement of one of those five states. And only Nevada and Ohio are currently on the Watch List below.
Though Minnesota does not shift again, despite yet another close poll, it is within a fraction of a point of jumping Oregon and closer to a toss up distinction. But the North Star state isn't there yet. Of the five polls released since the beginning of September in Minnesota, all have been within three points with the exception of the CNN poll that was conducted in the time between the two conventions. So while the FHQ average is not yet yielding a result in line with this recent trend, it has shifted by almost two points. Four polls, after all, is just more than one-sixth of the number of surveys conducted in the state. We have a trend and the average is following that trend, but cautiously.
|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. Both states are currently favoring Obama, thus the blue text in those two cells.
Finally, the Watch List from yesterday remains intact. These ten states plus the McCain lean states are still the ones to keep our eyes on. Are those medium red states moving toward competitiveness or toward McCain? And will and other states -- such as New Mexico or Wisconsin -- shift to toss ups?
|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.|
Since we have a status quo post here, let me take an opportunity to pose a question to our readers in the hopes of jumpstarting a discussion. I have had several discussions lately about the changing definition of what a toss up state is. In other words, is a state that was a toss up at five points in June or July, still a toss up with the same five point margin today? So the definition of a toss up is something of a moving target, shrinking as the campaign draws toward its culminating point on election day. Now that the system has calmed down to some degree after the convention bounces, I think it may be the best time to move that line, especially with the next series of shocks set to commence on Friday with the first debate. What do you think?
Let's look at a couple of examples, so those wishing to comment can make as informed a decision as possible.
If the line is moved from a five point margin to a four point margin...
...McCain gains just Missouri and North Carolina.
...Obama's list of states holds steady.
...the total number of toss up states drops from 12 to 10.
If the line between lean and toss up is downgraded to the 3 point mark...
...McCain shifts Florida and Montana into his lean category.
...Obama adds Michigan as a lean state.
...the total number of toss up states decreases from 12 to seven.
The likelihood of the five states in question switching sides is diminishing, but I don't know whether the window is completely shut either. The question, then, is is this a good time/the best time to make this move with the debates coming up? It is a nice line of demarcation in the events on the ground, but it may not offer the best time for such a transition. Thoughts?
I should add that I'm inclined to go ahead and move the line down to three and leave it there for the duration of the race. If any of these states are going to be toss ups they'll likely move in that direction anyway.
The Electoral College Map (9/21/08)
The Electoral College Map (9/20/08)