Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Montana US Senate: Republican With Double-Digit Lead

Posted Mar 27, 2014 at 9:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Rasmussen in Montana repors that Republican Steve Daines has a double-digit lead over Democratic incumbent of John Walsh in the race for U.S. Senate, 51% to 37%.

2012 US Senate: Are The Democrats In Trouble?

Posted Feb 02, 2011 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis by Politico suggests that the GOP may have an inherent advantage in the 2012 US Senate races, and may well be poised to take over from the Democrats: "Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg will challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2012, giving Republicans their first-choice candidate for the race and putting yet another incumbent in serious jeopardy. . . .  [An] Opinion Diagnostics survey of 400 likely Montana voters showed 49 percent backing Rehberg compared to 43 percent for Tester and 8 percent undecided . . . Rehberg’s announcement will mean Republicans have high-profile, formally announced challengers in four states where Democrats are up for reelection: Montana, Missouri (former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman), Nebraska (state Attorney General Jon Bruning) and Virginia (former Sen. George Allen). That’s not to mention the open Senate seat in North Dakota, where Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad’s retirement gives Republicans a strong pickup opportunity, and Florida, where several solid candidates are circling the race against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Some of these candidates are facing competitive primaries, but the big picture is this: Senate Republicans have already put a sizable list of Democratic seats in play and they only need to net four to hit the 51-seat mark."

Morning Report: Obama Well Over The Mark, 291 to 163, with 84 TCTC

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 1:41 AM by Maurice Berger

On election morning, it is clear to PollTrack that the fundamentals of the race decidedly favor Obama. He has wracked up significant margins in early voting according to nearly all polls, though in a few states, preeminently Florida, its unclear who has the edge and by how much. He maintains "Safe" leads in virtually all of the Kerry-blue states from 2004, and robust leads in a few Bush states as well (Iowa and New Mexico). Additionally, he holds a modest, but statistically significant, advantage in another two: Colorado and, amazingly in a state that hasn't gone Republican since 1964, Virginia. McCain, on the other hand, maintains 127 "Safe" electoral voters, and 32 "Leaners," one comfortably (West Virginia), and three by a very slim margin, helped by red-leaning statewide demographics (Montana, North Dakota, and Georgia). The Republican, unlike Obama, leads in NO Kerry-blue states (though his campaign insists it has a chance in PA) and is struggling in several states won by Bush: Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, all three virtually tied and thus remain too close to call. And the two candidates have drawn the mother of all battleground states, Florida and Ohio, to a tie. Indeed, of the 12 true swing states in 2004, Obama now leads in all but these two states. If Obama simply maintains most of the states he now takes on PollTrack's map, he wins. McCain, on the other hand, would have to run the Bush-red deck now on the map, including all red-safe and red-leaning states, the five that are now too close to call, AND pick off a Kerry-blue state or two from Obama. In the end, turnout means everything in this--and all--elections. And the "wave" matters, too. If momentum remains sharply with Obama--e.g., voters are comfortable with him and angry about what they see as Republican mismanagement of the economy--the Democrat will win an electoral landslide. If McCain's newfound "momentum" turns out to be real and more than moderate--indeed, in most statewide surveys, voters who have already cast their ballots favor Obama by a significant margin, those who plan to vote today, lean to McCain, to varying degrees--the race could end closer. In this regard, Obama has another structural advantage in many states: with voting going on since early October in some places--a time when the Democrat was riding high in the polls--he comes into today's contest with a real edge. Yet, if turnout is unprecedented then the make-up of the electorate could determine the outcome of close states. This explains the near impossibility of predicting the outcome of states are now virtually or literally tied--MO, IN, FL, OH, and NC--simply from present-day polling, historical voting models, and demographics. Will this show of voter enthusiasm merely underscore Obama's longstanding popularity and the intensity of his supporters, or might Republicans, Evangelicals, and center-right white working class voters come home to McCain in larger than expected numbers?

Today's Map: Changes To MT, ND, GA, and VA

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 11:11 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack redesignates the following states, all "Too Close To Call," on Today's Map: Virginia: "Leaning Democrat"; Montana, North Dakota, and Georgia: "Leaning Republican"

Morning Report: The Fundamentals Remain Strong For Obama

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 1:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A close examination of polling out this morning suggests that while a few states have drawn very close--Florida, North Carolina, Montana, and Missouri in particular--the race is appearing to stabilize for Obama. Ohio and Virginia, though having drawn much closer over the past three days--and remain "Too Close To Call" on Today's Map--appear to lean to the Democrat as of this morning. Several states now appear to be leaning to McCain--West Virginia and Indiana. The great news for Obama: all nine states were won by George W. Bush in 2004. The Democrat holds a solid, unusually commanding lead in nearly all of the states won by Kerry, except Pennsylvania (and according to the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll this morning, Minnesota, where the race has drawn down to 49% to 46% for Obama). The slight bit of good news for McCain, enough voters remain undecided or are persuadable in enough states to produce a few surprises. (This result would imply that these voters, now mostly white and center-right, would trend towards their demographic--as undecided voters often do--and thus would favor McCain by a considerable margin.) But with Obama at or above the 50% mark in many of these battleground states, McCain would also have to pick off a fairly large bloc of voters who now say they are committed to the Democrat. Obama's overall structural advantage in the Kerry-blue states of 2004 also leaves him in much better shape than McCain: the Democrat's lead in "Safe" electoral votes--in which a candidate has a demographic advantage in a state, leads beyond the margin of error, and has a top-line of 50% or more-- now stands at more than 100, 238 to 127. (Obama's number here could drop to 228 if more polls corroborate a narrowing race in Minnesota.) As of this morning, the map solidly favors Obama. PollTrack expects an enormous amount of fresh polling throughout the day, so stay tuned for updates.

Today's Map: Montana Moves From "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call"

Posted Nov 02, 2008 at 9:10 AM by Maurice Berger

With McCain's PT average falling below 4% in Montana to 3.8%--and Democrats making significant inroads in statewide races in recent years--PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call" on Today's Map.

Daily Tracking Poll: Obama Up Again

Posted Nov 01, 2008 at 9:29 AM by Maurice Berger

Today's PollTrack daily tracking poll average shows Obama up +6.3%, 50.2% to 43.9%. This is a slight uptick from yesterday, though one poll--GWU/Battleground which has shown the race at around +4% DEM all week--does not issue trackers over the weekend. Several things to note: IBD/TIPP today reports the undecided block at +8.7%. Zogby, one of this cycle's more erratic pollsters, writes this morning that the McCain "made solid gains in Friday's single day of polling," pulling into a lead on that single day, 48% to 47%. And AP/Yahoo yesterday reported a staggering 14% of voters who say they are undecided or still persuadable and thus could change their mind by Election Day. Is this volatility real? Hard to say. The good news for Obama: he leads in all national surveys, has a near lock on almost every state won by John Kerry in 2004, has McCain struggling in a number of true-red states (NC, VA, IN, ND, MT), and has a considerable structural advantage in many battleground states --from early voting that favors him to a top-line above the 50% mark on average in many of these contests. The possible good news for McCain: most of the undecided and much of persuadable bloc is made up of voters who demographically trend Republican. Most undecided voters, if they actually vote, usually break towards their demographic. (Many polls actually indicate a very high degree of enthusiasm among uncertain voters, a sign that they may show up in the end.) A large bloc of undecided voters--if it is true that this bloc hovers around the 8-10% mark nationally--moving lockstep in one direction or another could still significantly impact the race. 

Obama Owns the 50% Mark: Another Important Structural Advantage

Posted Oct 30, 2008 at 4:47 AM by Maurice Berger

One significant, though unreported, structural advantage for Obama on the electoral map: of the 255 EVs he now leads "safely" (according to PollTrack's averages), he reaches or exceeds the 50% mark in all. In other words, he not only maintains a +10% advantage in these states, but rises above the 50% threshold, thus making it all the more difficult for McCain to catch up, especially considering that third party candidates are drawing at least a few percentage points in many of these states. Additionally in all of the remaining 51 EVs that now "lean" to Obama on Today's Map, but not by a "Safe" margin--Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, and New Mexico--he still rises above the 50% mark. And in one state, still "Too Close To Call" on Today's Map, Nevada, he has just inched up to the 50% mark. So the Democrat now reaches or exceeds the magic threshold in 270 EVs. McCain by contrast is "Safe" in 127 EVs, reaching or exceeding the 50% mark in all. He leans in an additional four states, but reaches the 50% threshold only in two, West Virginia and Georgia. Incredibly, in his home state of Arizona (as well as Montana) he fails to hit 50%. In the remaining states that are now rated "Too Close To Call"--Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota--Obama holds a very slight lead in all but IN, but does not hit the 50% mark in any. Nevertheless, even with polls reporting that McCain is narrowing the gap in some battleground states, these numbers add up to a map that fundamentally favors Obama.

Tomorrow's Map: Montana Moves From "Safe" To "Leaning Republican"

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 3:15 AM by Maurice Berger

With one survey (Montana State University) showing Obama up +4% in Montana, and three others giving McCain a slight lead, PollTrack moves the state from "Safe" to "Leaning Republican" on Tomorrow's Map.

Today's Map: Montana Moves From "Safe" To "Leaning Republican"

Posted Oct 20, 2008 at 6:42 AM by Maurice Berger

With McCain's average lead in Montana dipping well below the 10% mark, PollTrack moves the state from "Safe" to "Leaning Republican" on Today's Map.

Today's Map: Montana Moves From "Leaning" to "Safe Republican"

Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

On the basis of McCain's overall strength in Montana--and its voting patterns in presidential cycles (save for 1992, when Ross Perot's third party bid handed the state to Bill Clinton, its gone Republican in every election since 1964)--PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning" to "Safe Republican" on Today's Map.

Tomorrow's Map: ND and MT Move From "Leaning" to "Safe Republican"

Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 1:06 AM by Maurice Berger

With the latest polls in Montana and North Dakota indicating that McCain has taken a comfortable lead, PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning" to "Safe Republican" on Tomorrow's Map.

Can Either Candidate Break The Tie?

Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

Although the Republican base is fired up and McCain claims a  significant lead among independents, Democratic party identification and voter enthusiasm is also way up (Rasmussen gives the Democrats a 5% advantage). Thus, neither candidate is walking away with the election at this point. Even a cursory glance at the electoral map suggests conditions far similar to the razor close count of 2000 and not 1988 or 1992, where one party gained lasting momentum and was able to pick off enough swing states to capture a solid electoral majority. If Obama were poised to do this, he would need to win a bunch of states that have gone Republican in the last two cycles but were also won by Bill Clinton in 1992 and/or 1996: Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana, Georgia, Florida. All these states are now moving solidly into the Republican column. Similarly, McCain is behind in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Michigan (though by smaller margins than Obama in TN, KY, MN, GA, WV), states he would need for a big win.

Unless dramatic on-the-ground events (perhaps spurred by this weekend's Wall Street meltdown) or a striking under-performance or major league blooper in the debates throws off one of the candidates, it's conceivable that the election will remain close to the very end. Then it will be up to voter enthusiasm and turnout to propel one or the other over the victory line.

Obama's 50-State Strategy: Is It Working?

Posted Sep 12, 2008 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack observes that the so-called 50-state strategy of the Obama campaign--the idea that the electoral map can be realigned to flip into the Democratic column traditional Republican strongholds such Alaska, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia--may not be working. With the Republican party unified--and Sarah Palin firing up the party's most faithful voters--most of these states are now out of reach. Over the past week, McCain's numbers are improved dramatically in these states, in some cases tilting them into the "Safe" column (indeed all of the above states, save VA, where McCain has moved into a tiny lead, are growing redder). Is the Obama campaign squandering its resources in states it cannot win, thus diluting its power in states that have traditionally been close but winnable for the Democrats?

The good news for Obama--but one that brings the 50-state strategy into question--is that the candidate is holding his own in nearly all of the states that John Kerry won in 2004, leading in many by significant margins. Still, in order to reach the magic number of 270, Obama will need to pick off a few states that either are inevitably Republican (but have shifting demographics that favor the Democrats, like VA, which has gone red in every presidential cycle since 1964) or have a demographic that gives the Dems a fighting chance to flip the state (CO, NV, NM, FL). Will competing in states that are not winnable make it more difficult for the Obama campaign to pick off states that are?

Today's Map: Montana Moves from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Republican"

Posted Sep 09, 2008 at 8:21 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack just had a sneak preview of new polling numbers from Montana. It appears that the RNC and Sarah Palin are, at least for now, significantly improving McCain's numbers in a state that usually votes Republican in presidential cycles (though Bill clinton won the state in 1992, in part because independent candidate Ross Perot siphoned off a considerable number of Republican and libertarian voters unhappy with incumbent George H. W. Bush but unwilling to support the Democrat).

PollTrack now moves Montana from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Republican"