|New Polls (Aug. 27-31)|
(With Leaners/ Without Leaners)
|Ohio||University of Akron||0|
There is a lot of blue in the polls on the surface, but there are some interesting quirks in there as well. The CNN poll in Colorado handed McCain a one point edge in the Centennial state, a state that has been favoring Obama throughout, but that was counteracted by a similar, yet opposite, result in Florida, where Obama is up a point. Both are tightening as we enter the traditional kick off to the general election campaign (post-Labor Day). Other than those, there aren't any real surprises. Idaho is a little more strongly McCain in the Greg Smith poll there than it had been in the only other two polls conducted. Both New Mexico and Pennsylvania have favored Obama since he wrapped up the nomination (and before that for that matter), but both had drawn closer in some recent polling. The CNN polls in each then, are running ahead of where we have both states in our weighted averages.
|Changes (Aug. 27-31)|
|Nevada||Toss Up Obama||Tie|
Ohio is tied as is Nevada. Ohio had been drawing attention in these posts of late due to the relative volatility in the polls triggering a back and forth between the Buckeye state favoring Obama or McCain. It has settled into Obama territory, but the margin is still razor thin. The real news is that the tie in Nevada has brought the weight average to a tie in the Silver state. This happened with Ohio earlier in the summer, but that is the only incidence of that having occurred here. Nevada, too, is very close -- obviously -- but this shifts the partisan line in the Electoral College Spectrum below to Nevada instead of between Nevada and Virginia. But I'll get to that shortly.
The map then has a change for the first time since the recent Ohio flip-flop. [Sorry Ohio, I've heard a bit too much John Kerry this week -- at the convention and this morning on This Week on ABC. Flip-flop is fresh in my mind.] The underlying dynamic remains the same though. Obama still has that cushion of strong states, but has lost five electoral votes due to Nevada shifting into the gray area it is currently occupying on the map.
|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 Pennsylvania (all Obama's toss up states, but Michigan), he would have 299 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.
***The line between Colorado and New Hampshire is the 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.
Nevada, Ohio and Virginia remain the states to keep an eye on. Each is tight now, yet together they don't provide McCain with enough electoral votes to surpass 270. Nevada didn't move, but several other states -- states which had polls this week -- did move on the Spectrum. Idaho became even more intensely red while Florida moved in the opposite direction, moving closer to the partisan line -- the point at which states begin favoring the other candidate. On the blue end, New Mexico became bluer, jumping Wisconsin on the weight of that CNN poll while the single digit PPIC California poll pushed the Golden state past New York and closer to the partisan line. California and Idaho aren't going anywhere, but the fact that Florida and New Mexico are moving in Obama's direction is worth noting.
|The Watch List*|
|Alaska||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Georgia||from McCain lean||to Strong McCain|
|Minnesota||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Mississippi||from Strong McCain||to McCain lean|
|Nevada||from Tie||to Toss Up McCain/Obama|
|Ohio||from Toss Up Obama||to Toss Up McCain|
|Virginia||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Washington||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|Wisconsin||from Obama lean||to Toss Up Obama|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
Both move off the Watch List to end August, which brings the list under ten states for the first time since we added it. While this isn't definitive, it is on some level more evidence that the race is settling down and that the true battlegrounds are shaping up. Convention season may do something to shake that up, but we'll settle in again after that as we move further into September and closer to that first debate at the end of the month.
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