The Liberal Crab’s Poll of “Poll of Polls” – 29 October 2008

Popular Vote

Obama – 50.4% +6.1%

McCain – 44.4%

Electoral College

Obama – 360

McCain – 178

Very bizarre night.  I couldn’t get my polling numbers until after midnight, then my computer lost my data file, and the editor for the blog is acting funky.  Anyway, on to the analysis.

This was Obama’s third worst polling day and tied for his worst day-over-day drop (.7%).  On the surface it looks like there isn’t a lot of good news for Obama.  Any good news, probably not?  But, the ‘ok’ news is two fold.  First, this is the third day in a row where McCain’s support has been flat.  That is never a good sign when you are trying to make up ground with so few days left.   Second, Obama’s drop did not correlate with a McCain gain.  What does that mean?  It means Obama lost some support but it wasn’t picked up by McCain.  These voters are still considering Obama and may constitute some of his ‘soft’ support – similar to what we’ve talked about with McCain.  He is still .2% above his lowest number over the last 17 days.  McCain now has five campaigning days left to gain 6 points.  That’s 1.2% per day.  Since the polls started tightening over the weekend, he’s only gained about .36% per day.  If there is closing, though, this rate will probably accelerate as undecideds start making their decision.  But still, 1% each day may be tough.  Additionally, these trackers are either 3 or 5 days worth of polling.  Which means each day is worth about 1/3 of the poll numbers.  Most polls were flat today and some of Obama’s strongest numbers from early in the weekend have dropped off.  What that means is that we’ll probably see no change in the polls tomorrow or a slight uptick for Obama – I’ll leave all the math reasoning out, for now.  If that premise is right, McCain will have not made an impact for yet another day.

The Electoral College tells a whole different story.  We *still* see no tightening in the state polls.  I have professed the ‘lag’ theory in state polling, which means it takes some times for national poll tightening to occur at the state level.  That has changed a bit as we reach the final stretch of the election.  There were 45 new state polls out today.  This is different from a couple of weeks ago when there might be 4-5 per day.  Polling is much more real-time now.  The point?  Have confidence that the race is about where the Electoral College says it currently stands.  As my graph shows, it really hasn’t changed in 17 days.  I still maintain you will see a drop to the 340’s sometime in the next few days.  I believe North Carolina and Missouri will probably drop out of Obama’s column.

Looking at the individual state polls, the news is nearly all good for Obama.  He is growing his leads in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.  He seems to be growing a decent lead in Ohio and gaining more ground in Florida.  Pennsylvania’s new polls shows double digit leads for Obama.  Virginia continues to remain a solid high single digit lead for Obama.

So how can the national polls differ from the story in the Electoral College?  Well, the most common theory is that the red states are getting more red.  Obama’s support is enthusiastic and strong.  He is already over 50% and his base is strongly with him and planning to vote.  McCain is reacquiring his ‘soft’ support.  Much of this is in ‘red’ states.  I suspect if you had polls out in Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma, you’d see his leads getting stronger.  Somewhat offsetting that is Obama’s small, but improving, positive position in key battleground states.  That’s why Obama’s numbers remain stable, while McCain’s improve.

Here’s the warm fuzzy picture:  Obama will win all Kerry states – 253 Electoral Votes.  He will also pick-up Iowa – 260 Electoral Votes. At that point, he needs ten more.  He can take Virginia, where leads about 7.  He can take a combination of (two of three) Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico – where he leads all by about 7 points.  He can take Ohio where he leads by about 6 or Florida where he leads about 4.  He could also still take Missouri or Indiana – both basically toss-ups.  Or, he can come from slightly behind in North Carolina.  The moral of the story is that if he holds Pennsylvania (which is about a ten point lead), he will win.

I am just not sure how McCain can come back in the Electoral College in five days.  However, it is politics and anything can happen.  Finally, if there is any ‘bump’ (and I think there will be one) from tonight’s Obamamercial, we won’t see any real effects until Friday and won’t fully be in the numbers until Sunday.


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