|New Polls (Oct. 28)|
|Louisiana||SE LA Univ.||+12.3|
|Mississippi||Univ. of South Alabama||+13|
|New Jersey||Strategic Vision||+15|
And while there is more red among the 25 new polls (in 19 states) out Tuesday, there is certainly more than enough blue to counterbalance it. While the averages are creeping lower on the McCain side of the partisan line, on the Obama side, they are increasing. Well, there are some caveats, of course, but states like Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire and Washington continue to move deeper into the Obama column. Meanwhile Pennsylvania and Wisconsin jumped toward Obama in the wake of the economic crisis but have since receded some, though perhaps not as much as the McCain campaign would prefer. [Both these states came up in the comments section discussion yesterday and I'll have something to add to that a little later today.]
The case is a bit different in Nevada and Ohio, where the results are a bit more muddled. In other words, we're getting conflicting views of just how much Obama is ahead in the Silver and Buckeye states. The Illnois senator continues to hold leads in both but the depth of that lead is something of a question mark. Of the two polls out in each state on Tuesday, one had Obama ahead by 4 and the other had the Illinois senator up by 9 or 10 points. The underlying message to take home, though, is that Obama is ahead in each throughout most of the recent polling. And both states have slipped off the Watch List into a firm position in the Obama toss up category. All that means is that neither state is within a fraction of a point of returning to the McCain side of the partisan line. And both are creeping in the opposite direction at the moment.
|Changes (Oct. 28)|
|Virginia||Toss Up Obama||Obama lean|
Meanwhile, there is Virginia. The Old Dominion looks a lot more like Colorado, Maine and Washington than it does Ohio or Pennsylvania. Unlike Maine or Washington, though, Virginia started out in McCain territory and has since jumped to the Obama side of the partisan line and has sustained those numbers (...as opposed to either a bounce and recession scenario or a mixed results one). Despite that starting point -- a solid Bush state four years ago -- Virginia has now shifted enough to move into the Obama lean category. In the process that vaults Obama into an even more comfortable position ahead of the election next Tuesday. Between the strong and lean categories in the blue, Obama now has 286 electoral votes. Toss up states, then are irrelevant at this point if the goal is surpassing 270 electoral votes. If the discussion shifts to building a coalition of states to claim a mandate, then those toss up states become more consequential.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. McCain is down, but he isn't totally out. Though, there are a decreasing number of scenarios where McCain emerges victorious on November 4. For one, as FHQ showed last week, it would take an above average Bradley effect for McCain to pull out a win. Later today, we'll have a little something up about the effect an October (or at this point pretty much, a November) surprise would potentially have on the election. As things stand now, though, McCain will not only have to sweep the remaining toss up states, but he'll have to stretch into the Obama leans or even a couple of strong Obama states -- like Pennsylvania or Wisconsin -- with favorable conditions (demographics, lack of early voting, etc.). Pulling in one or both of those would negated the need for McCain to "have" to win Colorado, Virginia or New Hampshire. Regardless, the Arizona senator will have to sweep the remaining toss up states.
|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.
Finally, the Watch List loses Montana today on the strength of the Mason-Dixon poll in the Treasure state showing McCain up 4 points. Despite that, the RNC thought the race there to be close enough to drop some cash in the state to protect McCain's position there. Other than Montana, though, there wasn't any movement on the Watch List. Colorado is within a couple hundredths of a point of shifting off the list into a more comfortable position in the Obama lean category and the new poll out this morning from the AP will likely push the Centennial state across that threshold. Colorado, then, is one to watch along with the old stand-bys, Florida and Missouri. Though, it should be said that Florida is tracking toward leaving the list in the way that Nevada and Ohio have recently. Missouri, on the other hand, continues to draw closer.
|The Watch List*|
|Colorado||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|Florida||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Georgia||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Michigan||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Missouri||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|New Mexico||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Virginia||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
NOTE: Please make a note of the Rasmussen North Carolina poll from a day ago. I mistakenly colored it an Obama one point advantage. It was a McCain lead of one point and the table now reflects that reality. The Tar Heel state is still just outside of being added to the Watch List as a potential switch into the Obama toss up category.
The Debate Last Night
The Electoral College Map (10/28/08)