|New Polls (Sept. 22)|
|New Hampshire||Univ. of New Hampshire||+2|
|New Mexico||Public Policy Polling||+11|
For McCain, the good is that Florida and Ohio are like Wisconsin is to Obama: stuck in a close, but advantageous position for the Arizona senator. New Hampshire is also turning into a bright spot for the McCain campaign. A string of recent polling in the Granite state has shown the McCain-Palin ticket ahead. It is still within the margin of error, but the trend is a change from the narrow leads the state had given Obama up until this recent period. On the other hand, the margins in the peripheral South are narrowing. Both North Carolina and Virginia are seeing Obama make inroads in recent polling with Virginia offering some alarming numbers for the GOP. The commonwealth continues to favor McCain, but only barely. [For transparency's sake, one note that should be made is that I'm using the registered voters number from the ABC/WaPo poll. Please see the notes on upcoming changes at the end of the post for more.*] Nevada has been as close as any state with the exceptions of Ohio and sometimes Virginia, but the series of solid polling that McCain was able to put together following the Republican convention, has been replaced a much closer race according to the Suffolk survey of the Silver state.
But we have all those polls and there's no change to the map. Obama maintains a tenuous 273-265 lead over McCain. And that's a lead that's slight enough to underscore the importance of the Illinois senator defending Pennsylvania from the McCain campaign's efforts in the state. Without the Keystone state, Obama is staring at a Kerry-like deficit in the electoral college. In fact, if McCain is able to pick off Pennsylvania and win all the states in shades of red, he'll win by the same 286-252 electoral vote margin that George W. Bush won by four years ago. Talk about a "the more things change the more they stay the same" sort of scenario. Even if Obama were to win Virginia while McCain wins Pennsylvania, all that would do is reverse the tallies we have on the map above. If Florida and Ohio are cementing themselves as McCain states -- and there is some indication of that in today's Rasmussen polls in each state -- losing Pennsylvania means Obama would have to swing two of those other pink states not including Montana.
|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.
For now, however, Pennsylvania, while becoming more competitive, is still within Obama's coalition of states. There has been some shuffling among the swing states on both sides recently, but the volatility in the Obama lean state polls has triggered a constant shake up among those states. [And that is likely to continue for tonight's update. Several of those lean states are experiencing a simultaneous move toward Obama in the polls out so far today. But I wouldn't hint at anything to get you to come back later. No, that's not in my nature.] I've done a lot of talking about the near disappearance of the McCain lean states, but all the while the Obama lean states have been far more interesting. Across the board, those states have seen tighter polls in the post-convention environment.
|The Watch List*|
|Alaska||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Delaware||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 Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Ohio||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Texas||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Virginia||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|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.|
On the Watch List, we gain one, we lose one. Georgia is off the list and likely for good. A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the Obama campaign pulling resources out of the state to focus on more competitive states and that shift has been borne out in the polling coming out of Georgia since the conventions. Now we are seeing something similar in North Dakota. With the competition heating up in nearby Minnesota and Wisconsin, that is a move that makes sense for the Obama campaign. The side effect, though, is that North Dakota will likely continue to inch closer to safe territory for McCain and the internals in the Obama campaign likely show that already. On the strength of a couple of solid results in Virginia, the Old Dominion is back on the watch. This really isn't that much of a surprise. Those results are canceling out the larger margins McCain enjoyed in the state in the immediate aftermath of his convention in St. Paul.
Anyway, those are the states to watch for today. We already have a Quinnipiac survey from Wisconsin. So that's a start.
*Three switches that will be made this weekend following the first debate:
1) Dropping the Zogby Interactive data.
2) Lowering the Toss Up/Lean line (Lean/Strong line change still pending -- likely this weekend sometime)
3) Full time switch to "likely" voter poll results over registered voter data.
The Links (9/23/08): Debates and Nightmares
The Electoral College from a Different Angle
About Those Zogby Interactive Polls...(The McCain Bounce Revisited)