Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Electoral College Map (10/30/08)

NOTE: In the interest of time over these next few days, I'm more inclined to give the daily map updates short shrift unless an definitive change in the dynamic of the race occurs. I am loath to go the "short post" route but I've got some really good stuff I'd like to get out ahead of election day. And no, I don't say that with any sort of arrogance. I've actually got some outside contributions that will add substantially to our home-stretch analysis here at FHQ.
  • As I mentioned in yesterday's update and again in the comments to last night's live blog of the Obama infomercial, I've got a post ready on the potential impact of a November surprise. Scott's done the legwork on that and there are some pretty interesting findings there.
  • Also, after bugging them all semester, Paul Gurian and Damon Cann have graciously given me the exclusive rights to bringing their presidential forecasting model to the blogosphere. Well, that makes it sound as if they were unwilling to share that with me. They weren't. Both have been on board with the concept for a while now; they've just been tweaking things in the model.
I'm going to get both up today at some point, so keep checking in throughout the day. Moving on...
-------------------------------------------------------
Another day, another 31 polls at which to look. Over the last few days, we have led off by talking about the polls in red. Well, if McCain is going to get back in this thing -- at least by our measure -- there are going to have to be some favorable polls for the Arizona senator. Sure, we can talk about Obama's continued lead in the polls throughout most of the toss up states, but that isn't as interesting as trying to strategically devise the ways in which the McCain campaign could make a race of it between now and Tuesday. And that starts with polling at least heading in his direction. On Wednesday, however, there wasn't any real indication that that sort of trend was emerging. There has been some tightening on the national level, but in the states that appear to be the decisive ones in 2008, there is little or no evidence that the national trend has extended or will extend to the state level.

New Polls (Oct. 29)
StatePollMargin
Alabama
Survey USA
+24
Alaska
Rasmussen
+16
Colorado
CNN
+8
Colorado
AP
+9
Delaware
Survey USA
+30
Florida
Quinnipiac
+2
Florida
CNN
+4
Florida
AP
+2
Georgia
CNN
+5
Indiana
Research 2000
0
Kansas
Survey USA
+21
Massachusetts
Survey USA
+17
Michigan
Rasmussen
+10
Minnesota
Rasmussen
+12
Missouri
CNN
+2
Nevada
AP
+12
Nevada
Research 2000
+5
New Hampshire
AP
+18
New Mexico
Rasmussen
+10
New York
Survey USA
+29
North Carolina
AP
+2
Ohio
Quinnipiac
+9
Ohio
CNN
+7
Ohio
Marist
+3
Pennsylvania
Quinnipiac
+12
Pennsylvania
AP
+12
Pennsylvania
Franklin & Marshall
+13
Pennsylvania
Marist
+14
Virginia
AP
+7
Virginia
CNN
+9
Wisconsin
Research 2000
+11

And that is a problem for the McCain campaign. The only poll the Arizona senator can hang his hat on following Wednesday's poll release, is that CNN poll that has him up 2 points in Missouri. And even that is a stretch since the Show-Me state has been hovering in the +/-2 point range for a week or more anyway. That is pretty much the message to take home from this collection of surveys. It is a par for the course day.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

If we focus on the states with two or more polls on Wednesday, then we see a number of states -- Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia -- where Obama's margins are strikingly consistent across polling firms. [It should be noted that the polls above for Florida make it look as though the Sunshine state is narrowing to some extent. That may be, but that may also be a function of the point at which polls were released. If the polls are arranged chronologically, the polls that were in the field most recently show Obama ahead by a four to seven point range.] But there are still other states where the picture isn't as clear. Obama is ahead, but the degree to which he leads hasn't solidified as it has in the former group. We see for example that while Obama is ahead in all five polls in both Nevada and Ohio, there is a difference of opinion as to how much he is actually ahead. Between the two polls in Nevada there is a seven point margin and in Ohio that distance is six points. Again, Obama is ahead, but these are states that may be difficult to read as we head into next Tuesday.

The Electoral College Spectrum*
HI-4
(7)**
ME-4
(157)
NH-4
(264/278)
MT-3
(160)
LA-9
(67)
VT-3
(10)
WA-11
(168)
CO-9***
(273/274)
WV-5
(157)
KY-8
(58)
NY-31
(41)
OR-7
(175)
VA-13
(286/265)
GA-15
(152)
TN-11
(50)
DE-3
(44)
NJ-15
(190)
NV-5
(291/252)
AZ-10
(137)
KS-6
(39)
IL-21
(65)
IA-7
(197)
OH-20
(311/247)
SD-3
(127)
NE-5
(33)
RI-4
(69)
MN-10
(207)
FL-27
(338/227)
MS-6
(124)
AL-9
(28)
MD-10
(79)
PA-21
(228)
MO-11
(349/200)
TX-34
(118)
WY-3
(19)
MA-12
(91)
WI-10
(238)
NC-15
(364/189)
AR-6
(84)
ID-4
(16)
CA-55
(146)
NM-5
(243)
IN-11
(375/174)
AK-3
(78)
OK-7
(12)
CT-7
(153)
MI-17
(260)
ND-3
(163)
SC-8
(75)
UT-5
(5)
*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.

There are some subtle changes to the Electoral College Spectrum -- there usually are -- but there's nothing groundbreaking in there. [Fine, Delaware shot up the far left column after that 30 point Survey USA margin.] And the map remains the same as it was a day ago. Obama still leads in the hypothetical electoral vote tally by a count of 338-200 and is safe in states totalling 286 electoral votes (strong and lean Obama states).

The Watch List*
StateSwitch
Floridafrom Toss Up Obama
to Toss Up McCain
Georgiafrom Strong McCain
to McCain lean
Michigan
from Obama lean
to Strong Obama
Missourifrom Toss Up McCain
to Toss Up Obama
Nevadafrom Toss Up Obama
to Obama lean
New Hampshirefrom Obama lean
to Strong Obama
New Mexicofrom Obama lean
to Strong Obama
Virginiafrom Obama lean
to Toss Up Obama
*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

Shifting to the Watch List, Colorado departs, having moved into a firmer position within the Obama lean category. However, Nevada and New Hampshire have been added to the list. On the strength of several double digit polls recently, New Hampshire is within a point of moving into the strong Obama category. As changes go, that one is a pretty quick shift by FHQ standards. Nevada, too, is new to the list. However, the Silver state is not back on to potentially switch back to the McCain side of the partisan line. Instead, Nevada has moved within a fraction of a point in our averages of moving into the Obama lean category. It should be noted that Ohio is within striking distance of joining Nevada in that distinction as well. So, while it may be difficult to ascertain the extent to which Obama is ahead in each of those states, both are actually inching further and further into Obama territory.

And as always, keep your eyes peeled for new polling from Florida and Missouri. Those are the two states where the potential shift called for in the Watch List would shift electoral votes in the process.


Recent Posts:
Liveblog: The Obama Infomercial

Update(s): The Electoral College from a Different Angle

The Electoral College Map (10/29/08)

3 comments:

Robert said...

The Zogby poll is now opening back up. We have seen in recent days the RCP average tighten some with about a 3-day lag behind Zogby. I predict that the RCP average difference will be level or narrow through Saturday and start increasing again by Sunday. I realize that there are skeptics by regular contributors to this comments section and at 538, but this is my story and I am sticking to it!

Date Zogby RCP
10-23 11.9 7.5
10-24 10.3 7.9
10-25 9.5 8.0
10-26 5.3 7.6
10-27 4.8 7.0
10-28 4.3 6.7
10-29 4.7 6.0
10-30 6.9 ?.?

Zogby is only one poll so its values fluctuate more wildly than the RCP average. As I post this, the RCP average is 6.4, but, if I am right it will be at or below 6.0 at the end of the day.

Robert said...

Josh,

You may need to straighten out my last post as the columns did bnot come out as I had planned.

Has anyone read the Jim Zorn article?

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2008/10/08-reasons-barack-obama-will-win-next-tuesday.html

If you go to this link, make sure you read his previous articles that he wrote as far back as 2005 when he predicted taht Obama would run in 2008 and in 2007 that he would win the nomination. Fascinating!

Josh Putnam said...

Here's that Zorn link from Rob.

I'll see what I can do Rob. Columns just don't render well in actual posts or in the comments section. You can fix it in the post by coding it in HTML, but Blogger doesn't allow for the use of the table tag in the comments. We may be stuck. I can read it on my end.

Oh well, that'll be something to look at between now and 2012.