|New Polls (Sept. 30)|
|Florida||Public Policy Polling||+3|
With that said, McCain seems to have wrapped up his home state of Arizona; not that it was ever really in doubt. There was a stretch over the summer where there were a series of upper single digit polls from the Grand Canyon state, but that was never meant to be. But that wasn't really where the news of the day came from. In the crucial states of Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, McCain received some well needed polling, sweeping the four polls but with margins still within the margin of error. The bad news is that Florida continues to tighten and Pennsylvania keeps slipping away. McCain cannot, in most cases, lose Florida and still win. There are scenarios out there, but their likelihood is near zero at this point -- especially with Michigan and Pennsylvania moving toward Obama. And though, the Arizona senator can win by keeping the red states and winning Colorado, adding Pennsylvania sure would be helpful to him. But if Muhlenberg keeps churning out 7 and 8 point margins in their daily tracking poll of the Keystone state, that just isn't going to happen.
[Obviously, those tracking polls are something we should address. This is similar to the situation over the summer when Rasmussen was the overwhelming leader in providing polling information. The question then was, what if there is some bias in those polls? It would throw everything off. Well, Pennsylvania is in a similar situation now with these Muhlenberg polls beginning to pile up. Those polls seem to be in line with other emerging from Pennsylvania at the moment, though. As long as there are other polls echoing the Muhlenberg results it isn't a problem. If those polls start to diverge from the other polling in the state though, FHQ may have to revisit the decision to include them. We try for some modicum of transparency around here, so I'll keep you posted on that development.]
The worst news for McCain is from Virginia, though.* Yes, Virginia was among the ARG series of polls in which the Arizona senator held a slim lead, but that was counteracted (and then some) by the Insider Advantage poll in the Old Dominion that showed Obama up by six points there. Combined, the two polls have the effect of drawing Virginia even closer to a dead heat. In fact, Virginia is now the closest state on the Spectrum, surpassing Nevada for that distinction. McCain could lose Nevada to Obama and still tie by picking off Colorado or win by swinging Colorado and New Hampshire. But if he were to lose Virginia, Michigan or Pennsylvania would have to be a part of his electoral math at that point. And for reasons we have already discussed, that is looking less and less likely.
|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. Both states are currently favoring Obama, thus the blue text in those two cells.
Virginia, then, swaps places with Nevada on the Electoral College Spectrum and now appears to be the most likely Obama pick up of those states in pink. Arizona, too, swaps places with one of its neighbors on the Spectrum, changing spots with Louisiana for the second time in the last three days. Other than that, though, there was no other movement in the rankings. As bad as it seems for McCain, if he is able to hold on to those pinks states -- and that's a pretty big if right now -- he would have only to swing Colorado to pull out a win in the electoral college. Will that happen? I don't know. That's why they play the game. Time is running out, though, as are strategies.
|The Watch List*|
|Florida||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Indiana||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Michigan||from Toss Up Obama||to Obama lean|
|Missouri||from Toss Up McCain||to McCain lean|
|Nevada||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|North Carolina||from McCain lean||to Toss Up McCain|
|Ohio||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Oregon||from Obama lean||to Strong Obama|
|Pennsylvania||from Toss Up Obama||to Obama lean|
|Virginia||from Toss Up McCain||to Toss Up Obama|
|Washington||from Strong Obama||to Obama lean|
|*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.|
The Watch List remains the same as it was a day ago and as we have highlighted over and over again recently, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia are still the states to watch most closely. But you have to watch for polls in those states with the understanding that there are now many polls in each state (Nevada potentially excluded). The more polls there are the more difficult it becomes to alter FHQ's weighted average in the state. For instance, Virginia just became the closest state in our rankings tonight. However, it would take a poll showing Obama ahead by 10 to immediately shift the average over to the Illinois senator. And even that is outside of the what we would expect of polls from Virginia in the post-economic crisis period. But three consecutive polls showing Obama up five seems much more realistic and that would be enough to shift the average over to Obama. That, though, is a story for another day. Tomorrow perhaps.
*Ohio was a close runner up here due to the Insider Advantage poll, but since it came out after I had already written much of this, it kind of get short shrift. Plus it more equally counteracts the Survey USA poll out today as well, unlike in the Virginia case.
The Electoral College Map (9/30/08)
The Electoral College Map (9/29/08)
Is McCain Right? Does a Tie Go to the Runner?