Monday, October 20, 2008

Morning Polls

Don't be deceived. The trackers are moving in some different directions this morning but I think things look good and I'll explain below. Gallup (Likely Voter Model II) moves from Obama +7 to Obama +9 and Obama is now at 52% in that model. In fact, he expands his lead in all three of Gallup's models (RV, LV I, and LV II). Rasmussen moves from Obama +6 to Obama +4 though at least some of that narrowing was to be expected as Thursday night's strong night of polling for Obama dropped out of their sample this morning but Obama remains at the critical 50% threshold. Hotline moves from Obama +7 to Obama +5. R2000 moves from Obama +7 to Obama +8. CNN has a national poll out this morning that has Obama up by 5 and at 51%.

At the state level, some good, some great, and some just weird:

Ohio (Suffolk) - Obama +9
Missouri (Suffolk) - McCain +1
New Hampshire (Concord Monitor) - Obama +7
Minnesota (SurveyUSA) - Obama +6
North Carolina (PPP) - Obama +7
Virginia (Rasmussen) - Obama +10

Now, let's start by putting it this way. IF all these polls were right, Obama would be winning in the Electoral College with about 350-370 Electoral Votes. The Missouri result is a little disappointing as a couple of polls last week had Obama up by 6-8 points there. But I don't know exactly what to make of Suffolk's polls. This particular reading in Ohio seems like an outlier. Mason Dixon had McCain up by 1 in Ohio in a poll released yesterday but Mason Dixon has a slight Republican lean this cycle. So my best guess is that Obama is probably slightly ahead in Ohio (2 points maybe) but not by 9. In Minnesota, I suspect Obama leads by more than 6 but remember that SurveyUSA's last Minnesota poll (two weeks ago) had McCain up by 1 point. Regardless of the actual number, Obama is clearly leading in Minnesota and it is not a state I'm particularly concerned about. The really, really bad news for McCain in this group is the Rasmussen poll in Virginia and the PPP poll in North Carolina. Rasmussen is good at what they do and they might even have a slight Republican lean. They have now had Obama ahead in Virginia for 5 straight polls going back about a month and Obama has been at 50% or higher in every one of those 5 polls. McCain really cannot win without winning Virginia and the problem for him is that even though he considers some parts of Virginia to be "real" and other parts to be "unreal," all the parts of Virginia get to vote. The PPP poll in North Carolina confirms and extends the Virginia story. North Carolina is a lot like Virginia demographically except a little less hospitable to a Democrat. Relative to one another, these polls are about where they should be and, while the absolute numbers may or may not be right on the mark, they're awful for McCain even if they overstate Obama's lead by 5 points!

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