|New Polls (Oct. 9)|
|Alabama||Capital Survey Research Center||+19.5|
|Virginia||Public Policy Polling||+8|
In total, Thursday brought 20 polls from 17 states. And once again, the list it chock full of blue. However, the list is not without notable red. The series of ARG polls had McCain striking back with a lead in Missouri to counter a couple of Obama leads in the Show-Me state in the last few days. The Arizona senator also got something good out of Indiana, where Rasmussen shows McCain up 7. But in Georgia and Montana things got tighter. The Peach state still seems far enough beyond Obama's grasp at this point for McCain, but the ARG poll of Montana offered a mixed tale. On the one hand, it counterintuitively increased from the post-convention poll the firm had done. But on the other hand, that 5 point margin is smaller than the trio of polls that followed throughout the rest of September.
|Changes (Oct. 9)|
|New Hampshire||Toss Up Obama||Obama lean|
|West Virginia||McCain lean||Toss Up McCain|
There isn't anything out of the newly established, post-Lehman ordinary in the blue states today. Well, other than West Virginia*, which isn't really blue, but got a heck of a lot closer today by moving fairly deeply into the toss up McCain category toward Obama. Now the charge has been leveled against ARG that that poll is or will be an outlier. Much of that has centered on the 55/35 Democratic/Republican party identification breakdown of their sample. Is that steep? Actually, it isn't as one of our great readers/commenters, Jack, discovered this afternoon. That 55% number for the Democrats in West Virginia is actually slightly below where voter registration was in the state for both the 2006 midterm elections and the primaries earlier this year. Is that a successful rebuttal to the outlier argument? No, but it does remove the party ID of the sample as a culprit.
Also, like Pennsylvania and Michigan before it, New Hampshire, has slipped into the Obama lean category. And that means that the lean states for Obama stretch all the way to the victory line of Colorado on the Electoral College Spectrum. And though the 311-227 electoral vote tally is the same as it was a day ago, McCain is down to but one lean state, Montana, and is now defending a group of toss up states totalling 69 electoral votes. The Obama toss up category is now down to the trio of states which had been the closest -- Virginia, Nevada and Ohio -- along with Colorado. The Illinois senator is now relatively safe in states totalling 264 electoral votes, just six shy of the number needed to win the race.
|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 New Hampshire (all Obama's toss up states), he would have 278 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.
***Colorado is the state 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. It is currently favoring Obama, thus the blue text in that cell.
But back to Virginia, Nevada and Ohio for a moment. Over the last week Virginia has moved into the blue and has gotten closer and closer to Colorado on the Spectrum and behind the scenes, statistically speaking. But the Old Dominion has been supplanted on the list of the three closest states by Florida. And that means that Virginia is now off of the Watch List; it is not vulnerable to an imminent move into McCain territory with the addition of new polling. Florida, Nevada and Ohio certainly are though. And it is Florida that would be next on the list of states to switch sides of the partisan line if the Obama push continues in the polling ahead.
|The Watch List*|
|Florida||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Indiana||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Iowa||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Michigan||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|New Hampshire||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|New Jersey||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|North Dakota||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Ohio||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Oregon||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Washington||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
Virginia is joined by North Carolina as states now off the Watch List. And while those two peripheral South states leave, Indiana now comes on board, switching places with North Carolina. What that means is that if this was next week when the toss up/lean line is dropped to three points, Indiana would be a McCain lean and North Carolina would be a McCain toss up. Both, however, would be on the Watch List to potentially change categories with new polling. Those two states along with Missouri are all tightly grouped at the moment, but while Missouri and Indiana have had contradicting results lately, North Carolina appears to be moving toward Obama and the partisan line. The fact that McCain is having to defend those state period speaks volumes about the state of this race. Missouri is understandable. The Show-Me state has been close in the past, but Indiana and North Carolina have not been Democrat-friendly states on the presidential level for a long time.
*I should make a note on West Virginia. It shot up the list today and is now in line behind only Florida as a toss up on the McCain side of the partisan line. The methodological shift earlier in the week has a lot to do with that though. So you have to take that positioning with a grain of salt. The most recent poll is given the most weight and all the other past polls are discounted in our average. When the most recent poll is a potential outlier it can cause a fairly large shift. That is doubly true when there are as few polls as there are in West Virginia. As we discussed yesterday, West Virginia is a possibility for Obama in the case of a landslide, but this poll and the effect it had on the average may be overstating things a bit.
Open Thread: An Obama Landslide: How Far Could It Go?
The Electoral College Map (10/9/08)
Update: The Electoral College from a Different Angle