Daily Polling Report 9/28
by CA Pol Junkie
No new state polls came out in any competitive state this weekend, but the national tracking polls have shown strong gains for Obama over the last 3 days. The magic spreadsheet softens the swings in the daily tracking polls but is currently predicting a 5.5% margin for Obama. Generally, the November results aren't more than about 2 points different than the polls as of mid-September. This year, the delayed conventions probably upset the calculations a bit, but as we get closer to the election, the voters will get more hardened in their choices. The race could certainly tighten, but Obama is in very good shape right now.
All the electoral college calculators on the web only mean something if the final popular vote margin between the candidates is within about 2%. Beyond that, and one way or another the popular vote winner will take the electoral college as well. The electoral college is cruel to candidates who lose by more than a couple points, as it starts disproportionately favoring the winner. The last couple elections have been close, but here are the popular vote and electoral college votes from the five elections before 2000:
1980: Reagan +9.7% in popular vote, 489-49 in the electoral college
1984: Reagan +18.2% in popular vote, 525-13 in the electoral college
1988: Bush +7.7% in popular vote, 426-111 in the electoral college
1992: Clinton +5.6% in popular vote, 370-168 in the electoral college
1996: Clinton +8.5% in popular vote, 379-159 in the electoral college
If the tracking polls are to be believed, Barack Obama has a national lead somewhere between Clinton's margins in 1992 and 1996. If that comes to fruition on November 4th, Obama will see basically all the swing competitive states falling in his direction.
The current prediction is Obama 375, McCain 163 with Virginia as the state that puts Obama over the top and West Virginia as the closest state. Obama's surge in the national polls kicks Missouri and North Carolina over to the blue side. West Virginia is about the only additional state Obama could win unless the McCain campaign gets even worse. If Obama maintains his current national lead, new state polls will eventually show the shift as well. Tip of the hat to pollster.com for the compendium of links to polls.
Obama Base (202 EV): California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, New Mexico, Iowa, Illinois, DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine
Competitive states, cumulative electoral votes, and new polls:
Wisconsin (Obama +9.5) 212 EV
Michigan (Obama +9.1) 229 EV
Colorado (Obama +8.0) 238 EV
Pennsylvania (Obama +7.8) 259 EV
Minnesota (Obama +7.8) 269 EV
Virginia (Obama +5.2) 282 EV
New Hampshire (Obama +5.1) 286 EV
Nevada (Obama +5.1) 291 EV
Ohio (Obama +4.3) 311 EV
Indiana (Obama +4.2) 322 EV
Florida (Obama +3.2) 349 EV
Missouri (Obama +2.1) 360 EV
North Carolina (Obama +1.9) 375 EV
West Virginia (McCain +1.4) 163 EV
Montana (McCain +6.8) 158 EV
McCain Base (155 EV): Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina
The poll averages are created by a magic spreadsheet. Self-selected (Internet and mail) polls are ignored; no favoritism is done among the remaining pollsters. Polls are adjusted to today's conditions by shifting them by the amount of change in the average of Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls. The weight of polls in the averages decreases geometrically each day such that 7 day old polls have 1/2 weight and 14 day old polls have 1/4 weight. This method is very responsive to recent changes in both state and national polling.