|New Polls (Oct. 21)|
|Florida||Public Policy Polling||+1|
|Indiana||Public Policy Polling||+2|
|North Carolina||Survey USA||0|
|North Carolina||Insider Advantage||+1|
The Moore poll in Alaska is interesting. The tables there tell the tale. Since the Palin selection, McCain's numbers in the Last Frontier have remained virtually unchanged, but there has been a drop in the undecideds total and it is all going to Obama. That isn't enough to put Obama over the top there, but it is an interesting development in light of the state's popular governor being on the GOP ticket. Red state margins were down in South Carolina and South Dakota as well. The effect is more pronounced in South Dakota, where the Mount Rushmore state appears to be following its northern neighbor in the polls. But as was the case with our discussion of Virginia and North Carolina the other day, the starting position for both Dakotas was different. There have been more hints of competitiveness in North Dakota than in South Dakota, but neither would be especially close if the election were held today (...and assuming these averages are accurate). Both would be closer than they have been in quite a while but not close enough for the Democrats.
|Changes (Oct. 21)|
|Indiana||McCain lean||Toss Up McCain|
But what about the toss up states? Well, that group adds one more today. Indiana, after moving into the McCain lean category following the lowering of the lean/toss up threshold last week, is now back in the toss up category. The Public Policy Polling survey of the Hoosier state showed Obama with a slight lead there and pulled Indiana off the line between the two categories and into toss up status. Indiana, like Missouri, is much more likely to move more based on new polling. The two of those states have far fewer polls than is the case in North Carolina. If, then, those +2 margins were to continue for Obama in Indiana, that one could close pretty quickly. However, is that more a typical narrowing effect or a complete switch-over? Given that Obama is ahead -- and yes it is in just one poll -- that indicates the latter. As always, though, we'll need more data from the Hoosier state to tell for sure.
McCain, then, loses 11 electoral votes from his "safer" total (strong plus lean states) and is now over 100 electoral votes down in the comparison of his total (163) to Obama's (273). Overall though, the projection still stands at 338-200 in favor of the Illinois senator. The GOP has argued that the CNN reports that the McCain campaign was pulling out of Colorado, Iowa and New Mexico were false, but all three continue to be uphill climbs for the McCain campaign. If those three are out of the mix then the Arizona senator either has to sweep FHQ's toss up states or pick up any combination of them that along with Pennsylvania would push McCain over 270 electoral votes. Pulling out of Iowa and New Mexico may be wise, as those resources could be used in other areas, but Colorado seems to be an odd choice to back out on -- or even quietly talk about. Seth Masket over at Enik Rising is in Colorado and has a different take on the GOP's potential intent.
|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 Colorado (all Obama's toss up states plus Colorado), he would have 274 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.
Regardless, Colorado appears to be a vital piece to any combination of states that would get McCain an electoral college victory. We haven't discussed Colorado's position as the victory line in a while since the playing field shifted right, giving Obama the Virginia/Nevada/Ohio/Florida cushion, but the Centennial state still holds that distinction. If McCain can sweep the toss up states, he'd still need Colorado to get over the hump. With less than two weeks left in the race though, the options are growing fewer in number and the chances slim. As I argued a week ago when the category thresholds were lowered, three points is a lot to make up over the last two weeks and McCain would have to make up that much ground and more in states like Colorado or Pennsylvania to make the math work to his advantage in the electoral college.
|The Watch List*|
|Colorado||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|Florida||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Indiana||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Minnesota||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Missouri||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|New Mexico||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Ohio||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Pennsylvania||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Virginia||from Toss Up Obama||to Obama lean|
|Wisconsin||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
[On the Watch List, the standard line applies. Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio are still the states to watch most closely when new polls are released. But as you may or may not have noticed, North Carolina is now off the list. The Tar Heel state continues to draw closer and is now far enough into the McCain toss up category that it is no longer imminently vulnerable to a switch into the McCain lean category.]
Now, there could be a Bradley/Wilder effect at work as well, and I'll look at some scenarios later on this afternoon, where that could make a difference in this race. Under what circumstances and to what effect does that phenonmenon bring McCain back into the race in some states and make the race more competitive?
Map Update Coming...
The Electoral College Map (10/21/08)
Early Voting in Forsyth County, GA: Technology at Work