Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Morning Polls

13 days to go and the bottom line is this: Whatever tightening McCain got in the last couple of weeks has been disappearing in the last few days. Gallup (Likely Voter Model II) moves from Obama +10 to Obama +8. But Rasmussen bounces back from Obama +4 to Obama +6. I estimate an 83% likelihood that Nate Silver will use the phrase "regression to the mean" to describe this in his polling update today. Hotline moves from Obama +6 to Obama +5. R2000 moves from Obama +8 to Obama +10 and, for the first time in about a week, has one of those overnight samples (Obama +12) we had been seeing almost every night for a few weeks. Fox News has a national poll out that has Obama up by 9 points. Relative to their poll almost two weeks ago, that is a net gain of 3 points for Obama. Where is all this tightening everyone is talking about?

A bunch of state polls are out this morning:

Virginia (Mason Dixon) - Obama +2
Florida (Mason Dixon) - McCain +1
Maine (SurveyUSA) - Obama +15
Maine (Pan Atlantic SMS) - Obama +12
Pennsylvania (Muhlenberg) - Obama +11
Alaska (Ivan Moore) - McCain +11
Washington (Elway) - Obama +19
Wisconsin (WPR) - Obama +13

The best number in this group for McCain is the Virginia number. But, there are two things about that number that are deceptive. First, Mason Dixon has a slight GOP lean this cycle. Second, and most important, Mason Dixon had McCain ahead by 3 points in Virginia two weeks ago. So, as a relative matter, this poll suggests Obama has improved his position by 5 points in the last couple of weeks there. In Florida, Mason Dixon has McCain up by 1 and that is an improvement for him in this poll from 2 weeks ago (Obama was up by 2 then).

The Pennsylvania tracker (Muhlenberg) moves from Obama +10 to Obama +11 overnight so that is good news for Obama in a state the McCain campaign seems to be moving a lot of its chips into. The two polls in Maine show Obama with a bigger lead than he had a couple of weeks ago and that is only important in the sense that McCain had hoped to pick up an electoral vote in the second congressional district there and that looks unlikely now. Finally, just as an "oh, by the way" comment, the Ivan Moore poll in Alaska has narrowed considerably in the last 2 weeks (from McCain +17 to Obama +11). I think McCain may need to drop that "Palin is the most popular Governor in America" tagline from his stump speech pretty soon.

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