Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Corrected: Latest from Votecastr: Eight for Eight Clinton

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 6:05 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Votecastr, which calculates approximate votes tallies on an ongoing basis through election day, Clinton is leading in eight out of eight key battleground states:

Florida: Clinton 49% Trump 45%

Iowa: Clinton 47% Trump 46% 

Colorado: Clinton 47% Trump 42%

Nevada: Clinton 47% Trump 44%

New Hampshire: Clinton 47% Trump 45%

Ohio: Clinton 46% Trump 45%

Pennsylvania: Clinton 48% Trump 45%

Wisconsin: Clinton 49% Trump 42%

Exit polling is provided by Votecastr (and Edison, which is used by all other media outlets). Their tally updates all day as voting patterns change. The accuracy of their novel methodology is, of course, yet to be proved.

Latest from Votecastr

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 4:43 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Votecastr, which calculates approximate votes tallies on an ongoing basis through election day, Clinton is leading infive  out of seven key battleground states. Over the past few houses, their tallies have shown the race tightening somewhat. It is also unclear whether they have fixed their calculation problem to include all three voter tiers--early, pre-election polling, and election day voting:

Florida: Clinton 48% Trump 45% D+3

Iowa: Trump 46% Clinton 45% R+1

Colorado: Clinton 46% Trump 43% D+3

Nevada: Clinton 46% Trump 45% D+1

Ohio: Clinton 46% Trump 45% R+1

Pennsylvania: Clinton 48% Trump 45% D+3

Wisconsin: Clinton 48% Trump 43% D+5

These numbers are based only on election day voting numbers. So we'll need to wait until they're reconciled with early vote analysis and pre-election polling. Exit polling is provided by Votecastr (and Edison, which is used by all other media outlets). Their tally updates all day as voting patterns change. The accuracy of their novel methodology is, of course, yet to be proved. And complete tallys are not, as yet, available.

CORRECTED: Clinton Leading in Seven of Eight Battlegrounds?

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 2:36 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Votecastr, which calculates approximate votes tallies on an ongoing basis through election day, Clinton is leading in seven out of eight key battleground states:

Florida: Clinton 49% Trump 45%

Iowa: Trump 46% Clinton 45%

Colorado: Clinton 47% Trump 42%

Nevada: Clinton 47% Trump 44%

New Hampshire: Clinton 47% Trump 43%

Ohio: Clinton 46% Trump 45%

Pennsylvania: Clinton 48% Trump 44%

Wisconsin: Clinton 49% Trump 43%

This numbers are based only on election day voting numbers. So we'll need to wait until they're reconciled with early vote analysis and pre-election polling. Exit polling is provided by Votecastr (and Edison, which is used by all other media outlets). Their tally updates all day as voting patterns change. The accuracy of their novel methodology is, of course, yet to be proved. And complete tallys are not, as yet, available.

NV GOP Caucus Prediction

Posted Feb 23, 2016 at 5:43 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack makes the following prediction in tonight's Nevada GOP Caucus.

SC GOP Primary

1. Donald Trump WINNER

2. Marco Rubio

3. Ted Cruz


4. John Kasich

5. Ben Carson


Clinton Win In Nevada?

Posted Feb 20, 2016 at 4:47 PM by Maurice Berger

Early returns, precincts reporting and remaining, and conditions on the ground suggest that Hillary Clinton will win the Nevada Democratic Caucus.

NV Democratic Caucus and SC GOP Primary Predictions

Posted Feb 19, 2016 at 1:11 PM by Maurice Berger


SC GOP Primary

1. Donald Trump WINNER

2. Ted Cruz

3. Marco Rubio

4. Jeb Bush

5. John Kasich

6. Ben Carson


Nevada Democratic Caucus

1. Hillary Clinton WINNER

2. Bernie Sander


Americans Access Congressional Leaders

Posted May 23, 2013 at 6:23 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by Gallup, "the top Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate are a generally unpopular foursome, with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi being the most well-known, but also the least well-liked. 31% of Americans view Pelosi favorably and 48% unfavorably. Her resulting net -17 image score compares with -11 for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, -10 for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, and -8 for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell."

How Did Obama Capaign Gauge The Mood Of The Electorate?

Posted Nov 29, 2012 at 9:24 AM by Maurice Berger

Here is a fascinating analysis of how the Obama campaign gauged its relative strengths and weakness through internal polls. Mark Blumenthal focuses on the Obama campaign polling operation and notes they their view of the state of the race was local rather than national. Rather than taking nation-wide polls, the campaign
limited its surveys to 11 battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin), conducting them at regular intervals throughout the campaign. Campaign manager Jim Messina says this gave him a deeper understanding of "how we were doing, where we were doing it, where we were moving -- which is why I knew that most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous."

PollTrack Electoral Projection: 281-Obama to 206-Romney

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 11:51 PM by Maurice Berger

President Obama wins Nevada. 

Nevada Is Leaning Obama

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 10:30 PM by Maurice Berger

Decidedly. The math continues to suggest a difficult road ahead for Romney.

Obama Holds A Whopping +50% Lead Among Hispanic Voters

Posted Oct 04, 2012 at 9:17 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll has bad news for the Romney campaign: the survey, by NBC News/WSJ/Telemundo, reports that President Obama now leads Romney among Hispanic voters by a whopping +50% margin--70% to 20%. The survey's background analysis continues: "It appears that Romney's comments that 47% of Americans are dependent on government took a toll on his standing with Hispanics. Romney's favorability score has cratered with the group, with his negatives hitting an all-time high. Fifty-three percent now say they have a negative impression of Romney and just 23% say they have a positive one. That 30-point difference is 17 points worse than in August."

Traditionally, it has been extremely difficult in recent years for GOP candidates for president to win without picking off a sizable amount of the Hispanic vote, in the 35% to 45% range. Not only does Romney poor standing hurt him in the national popular vote, it also makes it very difficult to win purple states with large Hispanic populations, most notably Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and Virginia. Stay tuned.

Is The Tide Turning Blue?

Posted Sep 25, 2012 at 10:09 AM by Maurice Berger

With three new polls showing a small but consistent lead by President Obama over Mitt Romney, PollTrack moves North Carolina on Today's Map from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic. This move is significant, indicating a broader shift in recent days away from Romney and towards the president. As swing states that continue to trend modestly Republican--like North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia--now indicate a slight preference for Obama, classic purple states, like Ohio and Colorado, are increasingly showing strength for Obama.

Indeed, PollTrack has tracked another consistent trend: in many recent polls in battleground states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, the president has inched up to (or in a number of cases over) the all-important 50% mark. With the probability fading that the president's convention bounce was merely transient--and the real possibility that these numbers might remain stable for the time being--PollTrack senses that the election may have reached a tipping point.From the perspective of history, such trends are very difficult for challengers to reverse this close to the election. Stay tuned.

Obama Leads In Nevada

Posted Aug 31, 2012 at 9:03 AM by Maurice Berger

While President Obama's lead in Nevada has narrowed since June--according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling Obama leads Romney by +3%, 50% to 47%--PollTrack continues to rate the state Leaning Democratic on Today's Map due to the president's all important reaching of the 50% mark.

NPR Poll: Obama and Romney Tied in 12-Key Battleground States

Posted Jul 25, 2012 at 9:32 AM by Maurice Berger

In another indication of just how close the presidential race may turn out to be--and at this point--a new NPR poll in 12 battleground states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin -- reports that President Obama and Mitt Romney tied at 46% each.

Obama Holds Huge Lead Among Latinos in Swing States

Posted Jul 02, 2012 at 12:16 PM by Maurice Berger

Will the Latino vote provide President Obama with the kind of cushion he needs to assure his reelection. A new Latino Decisions poll suggests that the answer may be yes. Obama is now significantly ahead of Mitt Romney among Latino voters in the key swing states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia. The survey reports that "In Florida, Obama is leading Romney by a margin of 53% to 37%, a slight increase from a 50% to 40% lead Obama held over Romney in a January 2012 Latino Decisions/Univision News poll in Florida. In the five states combined Obama lead Romney 63% to 27%, however in southwestern battlegrounds of Arizona, Colorado and Nevada Obama performed even better. In Arizona Obama received 74% to 18% for Romney, in Colorado he was favored by 70% to 22% and in Nevada 69% to 20%. In Virginia, Obama lead 59% to 28% over Romney among Latino registered voters." These numbers suggest that the even ordinarily red state of Arizona could be in play this year.

Obama Ahead In Nevada

Posted Jun 18, 2012 at 9:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by  Public Policy Polling in Nevada reports that President Obama holds a +6% lead over Mitt Romney, 48% to 42%. PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic.

Marist Poll: Close Race in Three Battleground States

Posted Jun 05, 2012 at 9:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A series of polls in three key battleground states by NBC News-Marist College report an extremely close race between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Iowa: Romney, 44%  Obama, 44%

Colorado: Obama, 46%  Romney, 45%

Nevada: Obama, 48% Romney, 46%

Today's Presidential Map: The Race Draws Closer

Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:33 AM by Maurice Berger

New calls by PollTrack on Today's Map suggest that the presidential race is growing closer. Our new tally (with leaners and safe states factored in):

Obama (D): 255 EVs

Romney (R): 235 EVs

Too-Close-To-Call: 48 EV

Obama Leads By Significant Margin In Battleground States

Posted Apr 04, 2012 at 9:28 AM by Maurice Berger

A new USA Today/Gallup poll in a dozen battleground states finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney, 51% to 42%. The survey finds that the "biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney's support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group."The ten states surveyed were: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina,  Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

More Good News For the President

Posted Feb 16, 2012 at 2:21 AM by Maurice Berger

As PollTrack noted yesterday, the tide appears to be turning in favor of the president's reelection. Two new polls, hypothetical matchups for the fall election, confirm this observation.  A survey by CNN/Opinion Research reports that President Obama bests all of his possible Republican rivals in GOP match ups: Obama leads Romney, 51% to 46%, tops Santorum, 52% to 45%, beats Paul, 52% to 45%, and crushes Gingrich, 55% to 42%.

Another poll, by Fox News, of key battleground states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin -- reports the same: Obama leads Romney, 47% to 39%, tops Santorum, 48% to 38%, beats Paul 48% to 37% and crushes Gingrich, 52% to 32%.

Romney Headed For Big Nevada Victory

Posted Feb 03, 2012 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released survey by Public Policy Polling in Nevada reports that Mitt Romney is headed for a big victory in tomorrow's caucuses. Romney leads Newt Gingrich, 50% to 25%, with Ron Paul at 15% and Rick Santorum at 8%. PPP observes that "the bad news for Gingrich isn't just that's headed for a distant second place finish. Nevada Republicans actively dislike him, with only 41% holding a favorable opinion of him to 49% with a negative one. That's an indication that GOP voters might be starting to sour on him again, sending his numbers back to pre-South Carolina levels."Nevertheless, Nevada does not have a direct primary, so polling may not accurately reflect the make up of tomorrow's participants. Still, PollTrack these numbers--consistent with other recent polls in the state--suggest a Romney win.

GOP Nomination: The Contests In February

Posted Feb 01, 2012 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

Mitt Romney's substantial victory in yesterday's Florida primary may give him a significant advantage in the GOP presidential nomination contest, but many more primaries and caucuses lie ahead for the Republican field. Here's a breakdown for February:


  • Nevada caucuses - February 4
  • Maine caucuses - February 4-11
  • Minnesota caucuses - February 7
  • Missouri primary - February 7
  • Colorado caucuses - February 7
  • Arizona primary - February 28
  • Michigan primary - February 29

PollTrack: Romney No Longer The Clear Favorite To Win GOP Nomination

Posted Nov 30, 2011 at 1:51 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite polls showing Mitt Romney way ahead in New Hampshire, PollTrack's analysis of the early voting states suggests a less clear path to victory for Romney. As one pollster notes in New Hampshire (WMUR/UNH): "Just 16% of . . . likely primary voters say they know who they are voting for. So, while Romney might like his commanding lead right now, there is no telling where 84% of voters will go in the six remaining weeks before the primary." Indeed, the former Massachusetts governor now trails Newt Gingrich in most of the early voting states (or, as in Florida, is locked in a virtual tie with Gingrich). Romney's inability to seal the deal with Republican voters is telling.

Too moderate for the far right wing of the party--especially for Tea Party supporters--and too opportunistic in the eyes of even more moderate Republican voters, Romney appears to be unable to win the trust of a majority of GOP voters (or even a clear plurality). While it is now likely that the GOP primary season will drag on well into the early summer of 2012, it is PollTrack's opinion that Romney is no longer the clear frontrunner. Indeed, with major support now breaking Gingrich's way--and nearly all national surveys of GOP voters showing him in the lead--Gingrich may be breaking away from the pack. And as under-performing ultra-conservative candidates such as Cain, Bachmann, and Santorum begin dropping out of the race, it is far more likely that their votes will go to Gingrich and not Romney. Stay tuned.

Election 2012: Early GOP Voting Calendar Set

Posted Nov 03, 2011 at 3:25 AM by Maurice Berger

For those of you, like PollTrack, interesting in following voter sentiment on the ground, here is the voting schedule of the first five states in the Republican nominating process:

January 3: Iowa

January 10: New Hampshire

January 21: South Carolina

January 31: Florida

February 4: Nevada

Election 2012: Romney Holds Large Lead In Nevada

Posted Oct 27, 2011 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Magellan Strategies in Nevada reports that Mitt Romney holds a significant lead over Herman Cain, 38% to 26%, in the GOP nomination context, with Newt Gingrich in third at 16%, Ron Paul at 7%, Rick Perry at 5%, Michele Bachmann at 2%, Rick Santorum at 1% and Jon Huntsman at 1%.

Election 2012: Romney Leads In Nevada

Posted Oct 20, 2011 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

In another important early voting state, Nevada, Mitt Romney now leads the GOP field with 31%, followed by Herman Cain at 26% and Rick Perry at 12%. According to the survey by Project New West, Newt Gingrich comes in at 7%, Ron Paul at 7%, Michele Bachmann at 4%, Rick Santorum at 2% and Jon Huntsman at 1%.

Election 2012: Unemployment Up in Swing States

Posted Jun 24, 2011 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another problem for the incumbent president, The Fix examines the most recent state-by-state unemployment numbers and reports "that in every one of the 14 swing states heading into 2012 -- Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin -- the unemployment rate has risen since October 2008."

Where Are The Bellwethers: Missouri, Ohio, Nevada?

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 3:56 AM by Maurice Berger

Where are are three bellwethers on election day? Obama is up in Nevada; Missouri and Ohio remain too close to call. Does the status of the latter two--Missouri is virtually tied this morning, with McCain up by +0.7%--suggest a close election? Hard to say. Interestingly, in the Missouri Democratic primary back in February, on "Super Tuesday," Obama won the state by 1.4%; his popular vote lead for all the primaries and caucuses was under 1%, like MO very close indeed. Yet, in the past few cycles, Missouri has actually trended Republican, affording Bush a higher margin of victory than the national totals and in 2000, he won MO but lost the popular vote. Ohio was relatively close in both elections, so the state's demographics trend towards close presidential races. If the numbers in Nevada hold, they could be a harbinger of a modest, but comfortable win for Obama.  Polltrack's nagging historical question: will Missouri pick the eventual winner tonight, as it has done in all but one presidential cycle since 1904? Or will Nevada emerge as the new reliable national bellwether?

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?

As National Lead Narrows Somewhat, Are States Getting Closer, Too?

Posted Nov 02, 2008 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger

While national polling indicates a somewhat narrowed race from a month ago--Obama now has an aggregate lead in our daily tracking average of a little over +6%--this effect carries through only in some states. As of this morning, Obama maintains a commanding, "Safe" lead in almost all of the states won by John  Kerry in 2004 plus Iowa, for a total of 239 "Safe" electoral votes. McCain now safely holds on to 127 electoral votes. These numbers, of course, suggest a strong structural advantage for Obama in the electoral college, especially considering that his average leads in these "Safe" states rise to or well above the 50% mark. But something interesting is going on: in a some of the swing and red-leaning states that went for Bush in 2004, but in which Obama has been leading in recent weeks--Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Missouri--the momentum seems to be with McCain over the past two-three days. The most recent polls indicate that the race may be moving into the two-close-to-call range in all of these states. Additionally, Pennsylvania has narrowed considerably in the last three days of polling--three polls show the race at +4% DEM, another, Morning Call Tracking, which had Obama up by as much as the mid-teens, now reports the race is down to +7% DEM--and thus PollTrack moves the state on Today's and Tomorrow's Map from "Safe Democrat" to "Leaning Democrat." Ohio may be narrowing as well: Obama's PT average has dropped to +4.2%, while one poll out this morning, Mason-Dixon (one of the most accurate pollsters over the past two cycles), reports that McCain has pulled into a very modest +2% lead, 47% to 45%. Additionally, Obama's aggregate top-line in the state has dropped below the 50% mark to 48.8%. While early voting in Ohio should favor Obama in the end, PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from "Leaning Democrat" to "Too Close To Call." An in Indiana, where Obama has drawn the race to a virtual tie, PollTrack moves the state on Tomorrow's Map from "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call."

Today's and Tomorrow's Map: Bellwether Nevada Moves From "Too Close" To "Leaning Democrat"

Posted Oct 31, 2008 at 2:56 AM by Maurice Berger

With several polls indicating a solid rise of support for Obama in Nevada--and crucially an exhaustive survey released yesterday that now confirms both the solidity and enthusiasm of the Hispanic vote in the southwest for the Democrat--PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on both Today's and Tomorrow's Maps. The implications of Obama's advantage with Hispanic voters in the southwest cannot be clearer: McCain is now struggling even in his home state of Arizona, where his PT average lead has dropped well below the +10% mark. Nevada is also one of three bellwether states, so Obama appears to be in very good shape, now leading in Ohio and Nevada. Only Missouri remains too close to call on both maps.

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.

Are New, Hispanic, and Younger Voters Under-performing?

Posted Oct 30, 2008 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis of early voting data in Nevada suggests that in that state, at least, three of Obama's key constituents are under-performing. The Las Vegas Review-Journal writes: "As Nevadans continue to flock to the polls, turnout among those three groups is lagging, at least in the early going. While turnout statewide was nearly 25 percent through Sunday, it was just 20 percent among Hispanic voters, 14 percent among voters under 30 and 15 percent among those who didn't vote in the last three elections, according to an analysis of state early voting records through Sunday prepared by America Votes, an organization that works to mobilize voters." Such under-voting could be a problem for Obama in the most competitive and closely fought swing states, including skewing likely voter models in polls in the direction of voters who may not show up in anticipated numbers. 

Six Days To Go: The Fundamentals Remain Strong For Obama

Posted Oct 29, 2008 at 2:30 AM by Maurice Berger

While most tracking polls showing the race narrowing over the past few days (to within a few points according to IBD/TIPP, GWU/Battleground, Galup (traditional) over the past few days and Rasmussen this morning), the fundamentals of the election still markedly favor Barack Obama. The biggest plus for the Democrat: he now holds "Safe" level leads in states with a total of 255 electoral votes, 259 EVs with New Hampshire, which is trending "Safe." With this potential margin in the electoral college, Obama will need to pick off only one or two more states which now "Lean" to him: a combination of North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, or New Mexico, for example, or even just Ohio or Florida. The only hope for McCain rests on one odd factor in national polling: the large bloc of voters who say they are still persuadable. Rasmussen reports this morning, for example, that among "likely voters" Obama leads by +3%, 50% to 47%. Among voters who are absolutely certain of the decision, the Democrat leads by the same margin, but at 46% to 43%. In the latter numbers, Obama drops well below the 50% mark; just as significant, the pool of decided voters drops to 89%, leaving another 11% who are "leaning," wavering, not sure, undecided, or voting for a third party candidate. Yet, even if McCain were to make up the difference by election day--with a large swing of persuadable voters in his direction--he would still have a major structural disadvantage in the electoral college. If Obama now wins all the states that are now called "Safe Democrat" on Today's Map (a likely scenario if history is any guide), he would only need a few more states to win. With a +6% average in Ohio, +7 in Colorado, +7 in New Mexico, +6.5% in Virginia, +3 in Florida he has a much better shot at squeaking by in enough swing states to cross the finish line. Still if McCain's gains were dramatic--and other factors, such as the "Bradley Effect," which could be skewing polling results towards Obama--were operative, anything is possible. BUT, the opposite outcome may be even more likely: with "Leaners" now skewing slightly to Obama, he could benefit from a swing of persuadables in his direction, movement that could result in an electoral mandate in which true-red states, such as North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana, and red-leaning battlegrounds, such as Missouri, Florida, and Ohio fall into the Democratic column. Stay tuned.

Where Are The Three Bellwethers: Missouri, Ohio, Nevada?

Posted Oct 26, 2008 at 4:25 AM by Maurice Berger

As PollTrack has written (6 October 2008, Nevada: The New Bellwether?), three states have been bellwethers in presidential cycles over the past fifty years: Missouri, Ohio, and  Nevada. Missouri has voted with the winner in every presidential election since 1904 (save 1956), Ohio has picked the eventual victor since 1964 (no Republican has won the presidency without it, and only twice has a Democrat), and Nevada, beginning in 1980, has gone with the national winner, both in close elections (2000 and 2004) and blowouts (Reagan vs. Mondale in 1984). How are the candidates doing in these important indicator of the national mood? In two, Missouri and Nevada, Obama leads by a tiny margin. In Ohio, the state now leans slightly to Obama. So from the perspective of electoral bellwethers, it's now three up, Obama--a good place to be 10 days before a national cycle, though the race remains "Too Close To Call" in MO and NV.

Is McCain Giving Up On New Hampshire and Wisconsin?

Posted Oct 21, 2008 at 6:51 AM by Maurice Berger

The political world is buzzing with another rumor--just up on ABC News--about McCain's on-the-ground operation: that his campaign is giving up on New Hampshire and Wisconsin. If this is true--and so far, such reports have not been entirely accurate--then the Republican playing field has narrowed once again, and perilously for McCain. Both states were won by John Kerry in 2004. Obama now leads in both, in the latter by more than +10% according to PollTrack's average. If McCain withdraws from the two states, he is also effectively withdrawing to the very limited boundaries of the 2004 political map. He now must win nearly all of Bush's states to beat Obama--a difficult proposition since the Democrat leads by a healthy margin in several, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Iowa, and by a slight advantage in a few others, including North Carolina, Nevada, and Missouri.

Obama Ahead In Key Counties

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 10:01 AM by Maurice Berger

According a just released survey by Politico/Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Research, Obama is expanding on recent Democratic gains in three suburban counties crucial to winning their respective states— Pennsylvania’s Bucks County (+6 DEM, 47% to 41%), Missouri’s St. Louis County (which does not include the city of St Louis, +16% DEM, 53% to 37%) and Virginia’s Prince William County (+8 DEM, 50% to 42%). In Ohio’s Franklin County, which covers Columbus and its suburbs, Obama also leads, but by a smaller margin (+%, 45% to 40%). These numbers bode well for the Democrat, who must carry these counties by a healthy margin to assure statewide victory. One note of caution, all four polls still register a large portion of undecided or uncertain voters, numbers that are unusually high at this point in a presidential cycle. Another Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Research poll issued earlier in the week reported Obama leading in three other key counties in battleground states: Washoe County, Nevada, Wake County, North Carolina; and Hillsborough County, Florida. McCain's sole lead is in Jefferson County, Colorado.

Party Weighting: The Great Unknown Of Election 2008

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 2:13 AM by Maurice Berger

One way pollsters process raw data from samples is to filter it through party weighting models. In other words, a model that organizes voters by party and then weights the sample to reflect the percentage of likely voters from each party (as well as independents). With Democrat enthusiasm up this year, most pollsters give the party a considerable edge. In Rasmussen's weighting, for example Democrats outnumber Republicans  39.3% to 33.0%. For Zogby, it's closer: 38% to 36%. This weighting, in part (but several others factors are also at play), is responsible for the large swing in national numbers, from an Obama lead of +2% to +14%. PollTrack wonders: as national results are clearly narrowing, is Republican interest in the election gaining on Democratic? While Obama's campaign has fired up certain demographic groups --African-Americans, single women, young voters, for example--what of the traditional Republican constituencies: the over 65 set, Evangelicals, conservative Christians, and older white men? The latter groups tend to have exceptionally high turn out, literally making the difference for George W. Bush in 2004. There is anecdotal evidence that Evangelical voters, for a range of reasons--from anxiety about Obama to excitement about Sarah Palin--are growing increasingly enthusiastic about the Republican ticket. While some periodic polls (like CBS News/New York Times and Pew) show a very large lead for the Democrat, are these surveys underestimating the potential turn out of groups that--as a rule--vote in consistently and often extraordinarily numbers? Pollster John Zogby notes: "What troubles me is when I see some of my colleagues have 27% of the respondents that are Republicans. That's just not America, period. [Party affiliation fluctuates over time] it doesn't change "day-to-day, and it never fluctuates by eight points in a short time period." Will the 2008 election break the mold--resulting in an unprecedented jump in Democratic turn out--or will Republican and conservative voters also show up in significant numbers, thus drawing the race much closer (especially in battleground states that already tilt Republican, such as MO, NC, FL, NV, CO, and OH)?

Hotline/FD: Obama Way Ahead in The Battleground States

Posted Oct 13, 2008 at 6:23 AM by Maurice Berger

Hotline/FD tracking, this morning, reports that although the national numbers have drawn a bit closer, with Obama up +6%, the Democrat continues to hold a collective double-digit lead in the battleground states--51% to 38%--defined in the survey as Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  The finding may be misleading, however. For one, these states together represent an appreciably smaller sample than the national poll as a whole, thus are subject to greater statistical variations. Also: these numbers do not reflect differences in the intensity of state to state support for the candidates. In other words, while the Democrat, according to most polls, holds a substantial lead in some swing states (PA, NH, MI, WI), the race appears to be considerably tighter in others (OH, FL, VA, NV, CO). The enormous upside for Obama: he is leading (in some cases by significant margins) in all of the states won by John Kerry in 2004, while McCain is struggling in a number of Bush states.

Election Day Map: Obama-273 McCain-220 TCTC-45

Posted Oct 08, 2008 at 8:05 AM by Maurice Berger

With Nevada rapidly dwindling to a tie--and no clear edge for either candidate--the state moves from Republican WIN to "Too Close To Call" on Election Day Map.

Obama Outspending McCain 3 to 1 In Swing States

Posted Oct 08, 2008 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

According to the Washington Post: Obama is outspending McCain "at nearly a three-to-one clip on television time in the final weeks of the presidential election . . . a financial edge that is almost certainly contributing to the momentum for the Illinois senator in key battleground states.. . . The spending edge enjoyed by Obama has been used almost exclusively to hammer McCain as both a clone of the current president and someone who is out of touch on key domestic issues -- most notably the economy." No doubt this edge has helped Obama to get his message out in swing state and thus to significantly improve his numbers in the battleground states, including six that went to Bush in 2000 and 2004 (OH, FL, NC, NV, CO, VA).

Nevada: The New Bellwether?

Posted Oct 06, 2008 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

Since 1904, every victorious presidential candidate has won Missouri, save Eisenhower in 1956. In that cycle, favorite son Harry Truman asked the voters of his beloved state to support Democrat Adlai Stevenson (and show the nation that they still loved Truman, who left office four years earlier, battered in the polls). They did. One other deviation, re: Missouri: Bush won the state in 2000; but Gore won the national popular vote that year. Still, the state voted for the eventual victor in the race. And a caveat: Missouri has been trending Republican in recent cycles, though Democrat Claire McCaskill won its closely fought US Senate race in 2006. Ohio has been a bellwether of sorts for one party: no Republican has won the presidency without it. It has also picked the eventual winner in every election since 1964. The question: are there any new bellwethers on the horizon. Perhaps, one: Nevada. In the last seven presidential cycles, beginning in 1980, the state has gone with the national winner, both in close elections (2000 and 2004) and blowouts (Reagan vs. Mondale in 1984). With its population rapidly expanding--and its demographics shifting accordingly--the Silver State is starting to look more like the rest of America. How does the presidential race look in Nevada these days? All but tied up (+1.8% DEM), with Obama and McCain exchanging leads over the past month. I would keep my eye on Nevada. (Though it might not be a bad idea to keep Missouri and Ohio in your sights, as well.)

Tomorrow's Map: Nevada Moves From "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call"

Posted Oct 02, 2008 at 1:20 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama taking a razor thin lead in Nevada, PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call" on Tomorrow's Map.

It's Still Very, Very Tight

Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

A bunch of new statewide polls suggest the race for electoral votes is as tight as the national contest. (For nearly a week, Rasmussen's daily tracker, like most others, has reported a dead heat, with Obama holding a razor-thin +1% lead. Battleground has McCain up by 1% this morning.) A Suffolk University survey in Nevada shows McCain just one point ahead of Obama (his overall PT average is + 1.7%). Alarming for the Democrats is Pennsylvania, where Obama's lead has whittled down to 2% in the latest NBC News/Mason-Dixon poll. (PollTrack saw this coming twelve days ago, when most analysts continued to call the state blue.) And Rasmussen has McCain ahead in North Carolina  by only 3%, but the Republican's PT average in the state continues to be a healthy +8%. Stay tuned. PollTrack suggests that the debates may be even more important in this election. A poor or stellar performance by one of the contenders or a major gaffe could be the tie breaker (or might confirm underlying perceptions about a candidate and thus swing wavering voters). Or the race could stay close to the end, reflecting the sharp divisions that have polarized the nation in the past four cycles.

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?

How Close is Close?

Posted Aug 14, 2008 at 4:26 AM by Maurice Berger

While Pew and most other recent surveys call the race a statistical tie--based on the closeness of the numbers and the polls' margin of error--the consistency of these results suggest that Barack Obama does maintain a modest national lead, despite losing ground since June.  All but a few national polls (the exception: Zogby and several Rasmussen Daily Tracking results) give Obama, on average, a 2-4% advantage nationally. 

The problem for both candidates: neither crosses the 50% mark, suggesting a large undecided block as well as support for neither or for third party candidates. Of course, the importance of this threshold declines in relation to third party support (now at around 5% on average for Nader and Barr combined). If these numbers increase considerably--as they did in 1992 for Ross Perot, who wound up with 19% of the vote--then, of course, it is likely that neither Obama nor McCain will win a majority of the electorate in a relatively close race. (In 1992, Clinton's margin of victory was 5.5%, but he won with only 43% of the vote).

But, of course, American presidential elections are not won on the basis of the national popular vote. Thus the literal tie seen in the poll averages of a number of key swing states--Ohio, Virginia, and Nevada, for example--may indeed suggest a race that will go down to the wire.