|New Polls (Sept. 23)|
|Colorado||Public Policy Polling||+7|
For McCain, the polls were a ho-hum affair. Arkansas, Kansas and Kentucky are all safe states for the Arizona senator and none of the polls emerging from the three did anything to change that.
The real action in these polls isn't blue or red, though. Those two white cells in the table above indicate ties. Ohio being tied isn't all that surprising, but seeing North Carolina turn in a second consecutive poll knotted in a dead heat is indicative of a potential move within the Tar Heel state. Those three double digit McCain leads in North Carolina in the week following the Republican convention seem not only like distant memories, but like outliers as well in the current environment.
But if the ARG poll in Pennsylvania was a status quo result, this map is as well. Despite all that blue, there just wasn't any shake up on the map. And though states like Colorado, Oregon and Wisconsin moved even more toward Obama that movement doesn't even show up on the Electoral College Spectrum. What we do see there is Minnesota inching past Oregon closer to the toss up category. Minnesota made the switch from a strong Obama state to an Obama lean in mid-August and has since continued to draw closer, sliding nearly two and a half points in the weighted average since that time. That underscores the idea that it takes a series of polls to shift what has become an established electoral vote distribution between the candidates. While Minnesota's trajectory is toward competitiveness, our model treats that cautiously, not reacting quickly to the typical volatility that we see from day to day in the polls.
|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.
Like Minnesota, the ties in North Carolina and Ohio nudge each closer to the partisan line (the point where McCain toss ups shift to Obama toss ups). North Carolina is still very much on the periphery of the toss up category, but if there is continued tight or tied polling that will change. Ohio is among the trio of pink states that is the closest of any of the states on either side of the partisan line. The dead heat in the Insider Advantage poll bumps the Buckeye state ahead of both Virginia and Nevada, but the truth is that all three are on the Watch List, within a fraction of a point of jumping the partisan line and turning blue.
|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.|
Speaking of the Watch List, it remains unchanged from yesterday. Realistically, these ten states can be pared down to six by omitting the four states that are not in any way flirting with moving into or leaving the toss up distinction. And of those six, the states favoring McCain currently are on the verge of potentially moving toward Obama (literally, since the shift would mean those states would become Obama states), while the Obama states border on changes that would make them more competitive. The only exception overall is North Carolina. It is the only state that is favoring one of the candidates yet on the cusp of more intense support for that candidate (in this case McCain). Of course, with more tight results like we've seen the last few days, the Tar Heel state may move away from that distinction.
The Electoral College Map (9/23/08)
The Links (9/23/08): Debates and Nightmares
The Electoral College from a Different Angle