|New Polls (Oct. 23)|
|Arkansas||University of Arkansas||+15|
|Florida||St. Pete Times/Miami Herald||+7|
|Illinois||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+29|
|Indiana||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+10|
|Iowa||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+13|
|Michigan||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+22|
|Minnesota||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+19|
|Montana||Montana State Univ.||+4|
|Ohio||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+12|
|Pennsylvania||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+11|
|Wisconsin||Big Ten/Univ. of Wisc.||+13|
There was also a lot made of the BigTen polls that came out of states in which the BigTen athletics conference schools are in. This was the set of polls that had that 10 point Obama margin in Indiana. That one along with the Ohio poll seemed extreme -- especially given how close this set of polls was just a month ago -- but I'm in agreement with Jack on this one. Other than those two, though, the rest just don't seem to be extreme outliers. And with Friday's Insider Advantage poll of Ohio also showing a double digit margin for Obama, the BigTen and Quinnipiac polls don't appear to be all that out of whack. On election day they may prove to have been off, but for this moment in time, that doesn't seem to be the case. First of all, we'll, as I often suggest, need more information to confirm or disprove the margins in these polls. [Strategic Vision, for example, disagrees with these three polls showing just a three point
|Changes (Oct. 23)|
|Pennsylvania||Obama lean||Strong Obama|
Now that the FHQ electoral college methodology public service announcement is over, we can focus on the actual data. So what changed after all those polls, volatile or otherwise? Well, not too much on the map. Pennsylvania moved into the strong Obama category and the Keystone state's shift is the culmination of several weeks worth of polling that has pushed the state's average closer and closer to the double digit mark. Pennsylvania's position as the state for the McCain folks to target seems a bit misplaced in this context. And the reported -- and apparently falsely so -- move on the part of the McCain campaign to pull out of Colorado (and Iowa and New Mexico) really looks strange in light of Pennsylvania's current polling. As I said when Florida turned blue last week, it means something when a state moves here -- typically that it is a lasting move that will be difficult to reverse.
...especially with just eleven days left in the campaign.
And while Pennsylvania is the only move of the day, it does increase the proportion of his electoral votes in that category to over 70%. [For the record, McCain's strong states make up 76% of the electoral vote share he has on the map above.] If Obama is safe in states with 238 electoral votes then the Illinois senator needs but 32 more to cross the 270 threshold. And the four Obama lean state do that without even factoring in which toss up states may or may not favor Obama.
|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.
But since we're on the topic of toss up states, we may as well discuss them. The list of them remains the same, but some of the ordering on the Electoral College Spectrum (above) has changed. On the weight of a couple of (super-) favorable polls in Ohio, Obama's average lead in the Buckeye state is now above the one point mark. We discussed Nevada nearly making that distinction yesterday and Virginia has already passed that point, but now Ohio has joined them. The Buckeye state is now off the Watch List and is moving even more toward Obama.
Indiana was also a fairly big mover on Thursday. [Just to note, there is a difference in what we're talking about here in terms of the word move. In the Pennsylvania discussion, move meant changing categories, but in this context it refers to the repositioning on the Spectrum's rankings. Pennsylvania changed categories, but didn't actually move on the Spectrum. Indiana, however, didn't change categories but did shift in the rankings.] Sure, it just jumped North Carolina, but it went from being on the Watch List for a potential move into the McCain lean category to very nearly being on the list as a possibility to turn blue (It is only one one-thousandth of a point away from that distinction.). In our averages, that's a pretty big shift. But why did it jump North Carolina? The Tar Heel state has had a bunch of pro-Obama polls lately and has not really gone anywhere. Well, we spoke about how well our model did earlier, and here's where we talk about one of the drawbacks. The discrepancy in the number of polls between Indiana and North Carolina means that a state with fewer polls (Indiana) is more susceptible to bigger shifts given new and decidedly different polling information. The flip side is that North Carolina is being polled quite heavily right now and that if the current trajectory continues, the Tar Heel state will continue to move closer and closer to a tie (or to turning blue).
If Indiana has fewer polls than North Carolina, Montana has fewer polls than Indiana. The four point margin the Montana State poll gave Obama in the Treasure state pulled Montana onto the Watch List for a potential switch into the toss up McCain category. And though it was a pretty big shift within the average, Montana didn't change categories, but it did move from the upper end of the lean category to the lower end in a hurry.
|The Watch List*|
|Colorado||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|Florida||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Michigan||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Missouri||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Montana||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Nevada||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|New Mexico||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Virginia||from Toss Up Obama||to Obama lean|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
The striking thing is that Montana is really the lone red state represented on the Watch List. Every other state is operating within the toss up McCain to Strong Obama categories. Sure, there are three states and 52 electoral votes that could shift into that McCain toss up category, but even that looks tough for McCain given how the momentum in the race is moving. And even though there is something of a mixed message from the polling out so far today, it doesn't really seem to be shifting wholesale toward McCain, at least not in a way that is going to move enough electoral votes to push him over 270.
While You Wait for the New Map, Here's a...Map
The Electoral College Map (10/23/08)
What the Bradley Effect Might Look Like