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.

FINAL US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 47 IND 1 GOP 52

Posted Nov 03, 2014 at 6:23 PM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 47   IND 1  GOP 52

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

 

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Peters (D)

NH: Saheen (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

 

Leans Independent

KS: Orman (I)

 

LEANS GOP

AK: Sullivan (R)

AR: Cotton (R)

GA: Perdue (R)

IA: Ernst (R)

CO: Gardner (R)

KS: Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Cassidy (R)

SD: Rounds (R) 

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 47 TOSS UP 1 IND 1 GOP 51

Posted Nov 01, 2014 at 8:05 PM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 47    TOSS UP 1   IND 1  GOP 51

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

 

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Peters (D)

NH: Saheen (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

 

TOSS UP

 

GA: Open

 

Leans Independent

KS: Orman (I)

 

LEANS GOP

AK: Sullivan (R)

AR: Cotton (R)

IA: Ernst (R)

CO: Gardner (R)

KS: Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Cassidy (R)

SD: Rounds (R) 

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 47 TOSS UP 2 IND 1 GOP: 50

Posted Nov 01, 2014 at 8:36 AM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 47    TOSS UP 2   IND 1  GOP: 50

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

 

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Peters (D)

NH: Saheen (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

 

TOSS UP

 

GA: Open

IA: Open

 

Leans Independent

KS: Orman (I)

 

LEANS GOP

AK: Sullivan (R)

AR: Cotton (R)

CO: Gardner (R)

KS: Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Cassidy (R)

SD: Rounds (R) 

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 47 TOSS UP 3 IND 1 GOP: 49

Posted Oct 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 47    TOSS UP 3   IND 1  GOP: 49

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

 

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Peters (D)

NH: Saheen (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

GA: Open

IA: Open

 

Leans Independent

KS: Orman (I)

 

LEANS GOP

AR: Cotton (R)

CO: Gardner (R)

KS: Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Cassidy (R)

SD: Rounds (R) 

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 48 TOSS UP 2 IND 1 GOP: 49

Posted Oct 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 48    TOSS UP 2   IND 1  GOP: 49

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

GA: Nunn (D)

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Peters (D)

NH: Saheen (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

 IA: Open

 

Leans Independent

KS: Orman (I)

 

LEANS GOP

AR: Cotton (R)

CO: Gardner (R)

KS: Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Cassidy (R)

SD: Rounds (R) 

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 48 TOSS UP 3 IND 1 GOP: 48

Posted Oct 24, 2014 at 1:05 PM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 48    TOSS UP 3   IND 1  GOP: 48

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

GA: Nunn (D)

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Peters (D)

NH: Saheen (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

 

 

IA: Open

 

 

 

SD: Rounds (R)

 

Leans Independent

KS: Orman (I)

 

LEANS GOP

AR: Cotton (R)

CO: Gardner (R)

KS: Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Cassidy (R)

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 45 TOSS UP 8 GOP: 47

Posted Oct 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 45    TOSS UP 8     GOP: 47

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Open

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

CO: Udall (D)

GA: Open

IA: Open

LA: Landrieu (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

NH: Shaheen (D)

SD: Rounds (R)

 

LEANS GOP

AR: Pryor (D)

KS: Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

 

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 45 TOSS UP 10 GOP: 45

Posted Oct 14, 2014 at 12:46 PM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 46    TOSS UP 9     GOP: 45

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Open

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

CO: Udall (D)

GA: Open

IA: Open

KS Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Landrieu (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

NH: Shaheen (D)

SD: Rounds (R)

 

LEANS GOP

AR: Pryor (D)

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 46 TOSS UP 9 GOP: 45

Posted Oct 09, 2014 at 9:03 AM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 46    TOSS UP 9     GOP: 45

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

MN: Franken (D)

MI: Open

NH: Shaheen(D)

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

CO: Udall (D)

GA: Open

IA: Open

KS Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Landrieu (D)

NC: Hagan (D)

SD: Rounds (R)


 

LEANS GOP

AR: Pryor (D)

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 46 TOSS UP 8 GOP: 46

Posted Oct 07, 2014 at 11:41 AM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 46    TOSS UP 8     GOP: 46

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

MN: Franken

MI: Open

NC: Hagan (D)

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

CO: Udall (D)

GA: Open

IA: Open

KS Roberts (R)

KY: McConnell (R)

LA: Landrieu (D)

NH: Shaheen (D)


 

LEANS GOP

AR: Pryor (D)

 

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

US Senate Race Chart: DEM: 46 TOSS UP 7 GOP: 47

Posted Oct 06, 2014 at 10:30 AM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 46    TOSS UP 7     GOP: 47

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

MN: Franken

MI: Open

NC: Hagan (D)

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

CO: Udall (D)

GA: Open

IA: Open

KS Roberts (R)

LA: Landrieu (D)

NH: Shaheen (D)

 

LEANS GOP

AR: Pryor (D)

KY: McConnell (R)

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

NC US Senate: Democrat With Modest Lead

Posted Oct 01, 2014 at 8:46 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by CNN/ORC International in North Carolina reports that incumbent US Sen. Kay Hagan holds a slight lead over GOP challenger Thom Tillis in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 43%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 7%.

2014 U.S. SENATE RACE RATING: DEM 47 GOP 47

Posted Sep 30, 2014 at 10:39 AM by Maurice Berger

DEM: 47    TOSS UP 6     GOP: 47

SAFE DEMOCRATIC

DE, HI, IL, MA, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VA

 

LEANS DEMOCRATIC

MN: Franken

MI: Open

NC: Hagan (D)

NH: Shaheen (D)

 

TOSS UP

AK Begich (D)

CO: Udall (D)

GA: Open

IA: Open

KS Roberts (R)

LA: Landrieu (D)

 

LEANS GOP

AR: Pryor (D)

KY: McConnell (R)

LIKELY GOP

AL, ID, ME, MS, MT, NE, OK, OK, SC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY

 

NC: Democratic Incumbent In The Lead

Posted Sep 25, 2014 at 10:22 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Fox News in North Carolina reports that incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leads GOP challenger Thom Tillis in the race for U.S. Senate, 41% to 36%

Good News For Democrats in NC Senate Race

Posted Sep 15, 2014 at 7:58 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may be good news for Democrats hoping to hold onto the Senate, a new American Insights poll in North Carolina finds incumbent Democratic US Sen. Kay Hagan with a +9% point lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 34%. And a new survey by Elon University poll reports a lead of 4% for Hagan, 45% to 41%

NC US Senate: Democrat Behind

Posted Jun 02, 2014 at 9:44 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Civitas Institute in North Carolina reports that GOP challenger Thom Tillis leads incumbent Kay Hagan in the U.S. Senate race by three points, 39% to 36%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 8%.

NC US Senate: A Virtual Tie

Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Rasmussen in North Carolina reports that GOP challengerThom Tillis now leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in the race for U.S. Senate, 45% to 44%

NY TIMES Poll: Four Southern Senate Race Close

Posted Apr 24, 2014 at 8:35 AM by Maurice Berger

Surveys conducted by The New York Times suggest close US Senate races in three of four southern states:


Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 46%, Tom Cotton (R) 36%

Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) 44%, Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) 43%

Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 42%, Bill Cassidy (R) 18%

 

North Carolina: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) 42%, Thom Tillis (R) 40%

Control of US Senate: A Red Flag For Democrats In NC?

Posted Apr 11, 2014 at 7:48 AM by Maurice Berger

A new SurveyUSA poll in North Carolina reports that Democratic US Sen. Kay Hagan now trails all five possible Republicans she might face in her re-election race this year. In this must win state for Democrats, are Hagan's numbers a red flag?

NC Governor In Trouble With Voters

Posted Sep 19, 2013 at 8:33 AM by Maurice Berger

Is the GOP governor of North Carolina in jeapardy of loosing his 2014 reelection bid? A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina reports that incumbent Gov. Governor Pat McCrory's poll numbers have fallen "to their lowest level ever."  According to the survey, only 35% of voters approve of the job he's doing; 53% disapprove.

Is Rightward Shift Hurting GOP in North Carolina?

Posted Jul 09, 2013 at 10:17 AM by Maurice Berger

A rightward shift in the statehouse may be hurting the Republicans in North Carolina. A new poll by Civitas reports that support for GOP Gov. Pat McCrory has erodes over the past four months. While is viewed favorably by 49% of voters--and unfavorably by 32%--his support has slipped considerably March, when he was viewed favorably by 56% and unfavorably by 25%.

Who Feels Safest In America?

Posted Apr 11, 2013 at 8:58 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by Gallup, "80% of those living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area say they feel safe walking alone at night in the area where they live, the highest percentage among the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Minneapolis is followed closely by Denver, Raleigh, Boston, Salt Lake City, and Austin." Here is Gallup's chart:

Safest Metro Areas Among 50 Largest

Final Race Settled, US House: 234 Republicans, 201 Democrats

Posted Dec 04, 2012 at 9:26 AM by Maurice Berger

With the final US House race decided late last week (North Carolina Democrat Rep. Mike McIntyre won his congressional reelection race), the 113th Congress will be represented by 201 Democrats and 234 Republicans. While the GOP retains control of the House, Democrats gained a total of eight seats overall in 2012.

GOP Faces Demographic Problem In The South

Posted Nov 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM by Maurice Berger

According to the Washington Post, the GOP is facing demographic challenges not just with Hispanic voters, but also the decline of white and the ascendency of black voters in the South: "The South [tells] a newer and more surprising story: The nation’s first black president finished more strongly in the region than any other Democratic nominee in three decades, underscoring a fresh challenge for Republicans who rely on Southern whites as their base of national support . . .

. . . Obama won Virginia and Florida and narrowly missed victory in North Carolina. But he also polled as well in Georgia as any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, grabbed 44 percent of the vote in deep-red South Carolina and just under that in Mississippi — despite doing no substantive campaigning in any of those states . . .

. . . Much of the post-election analysis has focused on the demographic crisis facing Republicans among Hispanic voters, particularly in Texas. But the results across other parts of the South, where Latinos remain a single-digit minority, point to separate trends among blacks and whites that may also have big implications for the GOP’s future."

 

PollTrack Electoral Projection: 275-Obama to 206-Romney

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 11:40 PM by Maurice Berger

Mitt Romney wins North Carolina.  

Is North Carolina A Harbinger?

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 7:35 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Exit Polls in North Carolina, the President and Romney are tied: 49% to 49%. Once again, if Romney does not have a clear lead in GOP-leaning NC, how will he do in states less Republican (like Ohio) or slightly Democratic leaning, such as Iowa and Wisconsin.

President Up In PollTrack's National Poll Average

Posted Oct 20, 2012 at 5:13 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's aggregate of the national polls in the presidential race now reports a (very slightly) increased lead for President Obama. As of 5:00 PM this afternoon, Obama is at 47.6% and Mitt Romney is at 46.5%--for an aggregate lead for the president of +1.1%. As important, across the swing state polls, the president appears to continue to be reversing some, but not all of Romney's gains over the past three weeks, and continues to lead by varying margins in all but three of the swing states, Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado, where Romney leads.

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.

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.

Romney Slightly Ahead in North Carolina

Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:49 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by the Civitas Institute in North Carolina reports that Mitt Romney is slightly ahead of President Obama in the battleground state, 47% to 45%.

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

Will The Presendent's Endorsement of Gay Marriage Change African American Sentiment?

Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:04 AM by Maurice Berger

One significant political question in the wake of the President's endorsement of same-sex marriage is whether this support will translate into a shift in African American public opinion on the subject. A new survey by Public Policy Polling in North Carolina reports that the answer may be yes. The poll finds "a noticeable shift" in the attitudes of African Americans toward rights for gay couples in the wake of President Obama's announcement last week that he supports gay marriage. PPP continues: "our final poll before the primary last week found only 20% of black voters in the state favoring gay marriage, with 63% opposed. Now 27% express support for gay marriage with 59% opposed, for an overall 11 point shift on the margin."

Obama Leads Romney In North Carolina

Posted Apr 13, 2012 at 9:38 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another example of relatively strong numbers for the president's reelection effort, a new survey by Public Policy Polling in North Carolina reports that President Obama leads Mitt Romney by five points, 49% to 44%. PPP notes: "The Republican nomination process has taken a huge toll on Romney's image in North Carolina. In February of 2011 voters in the state were almost evenly divided on him with 37% rating him favorably to 39% who had a negative opinion of him. Now that spread is a dreadful 29/58. His numbers with GOP voters are about where they've been, but he's seen a considerable drop in his appeal to Democrats and independents."

Rasmussen: Obama Ahead In Four Key Swing States

Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 3:02 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by Rasmussen, "President Obama now holds a modest lead over Mitt Romney . . .  in combined polling of key swing states Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. The numbers mark a shift from late February when Obama was tied in the four states. Obama is now ahead of the former Massachusetts governor 46% to 42%. 6% prefer some other candidate in this matchup, and 6% are undecided."

Romney More Electable Against President Obama?

Posted Jan 31, 2012 at 1:36 AM by Maurice Berger

A new USAToday/Gallup survey of the dozen states likely to determine the outcome of November's election--Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin--concludes that Mitt Romney is the "GOP contender with the best chance of denying Obama a second term." The poll reports that "in a head-to-head race, Romney leads Obama by a statistically insignificant percentage point, 48%-47% . . . But Obama leads Gingrich, 54%-40%. The president's standing against him has risen nine points since early December; Gingrich has fallen by eight. Gingrich fares less well than Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who trails Obama by seven points, 50%-43%, and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who also trails by seven points, 51%-44%."

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."

Three States Remain "Too Close To Call": Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina

Posted Nov 05, 2008 at 1:09 AM by Maurice Berger

Of the five states that PollTrack marked as "Too Close To Call," three remain virtually tied this morning: Missouri, Indiana, and North Carolina. At nearly a perfect 50% to 50% it may take a few days to get final results from these states, AFTER absentee and provisional ballots (and in some cases military ballots) are counted. As of 9:00 AM EST, Missouri leans ever so slightly to McCain, Indiana and North Carolina ever so slightly to Obama. The extraordinarily high African-American vote in NC is no doubt a key factor in this decidedly red-leaning state possibly flipping into the Democratic column.

North Carolina: "Too Close To Call" . . .

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 11:34 AM by Maurice Berger

. . . according to NBC news. Could be a red flag for McCain--this is a state he MUST win. Ohio and West Virginia may not be as close, but still lack necessary precinct data to make a call.

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?

Daily Tracking Average: Obama Bumps Up An Additional +1.6%

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 8:48 AM by Maurice Berger

Today's daily tracking poll average indicates a comfortable national aggregate lead of +6.6% for the Democrat, 50.6% to 44%. Still, with Obama up as much as +25% in states with some of the largest populations--such as CA, NY, MA, IL, MI--this national number may not reflect the relativeness closeness of the race in several key battleground states, including OH, NC, and FL. Much of today's polling continues to indicate an unusually large bloc of undecided or still persuadable voters. IBD/TIPP puts the figure at an amazing 9.5% undecided. A just issued CBS News periodic poll indicates a 6% undecided block. And Rasmussen still indicates that 10% of voters remain uncertain, lean to one candidate, or intend to vote for a third party candidate. The large undecided bloc that continues to register in some polls is unusually high the day before a national cycle, particularly one with as much voter enthusiasm as this one. Where will these voters wind up, if and when they vote?

 

Variable #3: The Bradley Factor

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 6:55 AM by Maurice Berger

The so-called "Bradley Factor" in contests with black candidates--in which white voters tell pollsters they are undecided or voting for the African-American candidate out of embarrassment or fear of being judged as racist, only to vote for the white challenger in the privacy of the voting booth--is the greatest variable in this presidential cycle. Since no African-American has ever served as the presidential nominee of a major party, there are no national models on which to gauge and understand the Bradley factor. As of this morning, there are enough very close battleground states--at this stage containing large, even unprecedented blocs of undecided and persuadable voters--to make this effect meaningful (if it were to occur). In Ohio, where a number of polls out this morning report only a +2% lead for Obama, any sharp movement of remaining wavering or undecided voters could throw the state to McCain. Ditto other races that are exceedingly close as of this afternoon: Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, and Indiana (though Obama could lose all five states and still win). The good news for Obama is that his lead in nearly all Kerry-blue and some swing states is by sufficient margins (and over the 50% mark) to offset any potential McCain advantage vis-a-vis the Bradley effect. BUT, there are signs out there that the ghost of Bradley is lurking, exemplified by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's publicly stated fear that PA is not a done deal for Obama (or Democratic Congressman Murtha's impolitic musings on the "racism" of western Pennsylvanians). Even though Obama holds a healthy aggregate lead in PA of +7.6% (a lead that is increasing as of this morning)--requiring at least an 8% swing to reverse the Democrat's numbers--a swing of a far greater magnitude, and with a within a much more liberal voting base, took place in the New Hampshire Democratic primary this January, when Obama entered Election Day with a +8.3% lead, but lost to Hillary Clinton by +2.6%. That a number of battleground states have drawn very close within the past 48 hours may, in fact, suggest that undecided voters (who now are predominantly center-right, older, and demographically disinclined to vote for Obama) may already be breaking for the Republican. If a substantial shift were to occur towards McCain, another question arises: will Obama's enormous advantage in early voting (and new voter registration) offset any of McCain's gains in the now surprisingly large bloc of voters who now call themselves undecided or still persuadable? And has the dramatic tightening in a few key swing states in recent days made the Bradley Effect more of a factor?

Variable #2: The Youth Vote

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 5:07 AM by Maurice Berger

Factor #2: Will one of the voting blocs most favorable to Obama--young voters, 18-29 years old--stay home or come out in record numbers? In early voting across the country--from North Carolina and Ohio to Florida and Nevada--the turnout for these voters has been disappointing. A spike in young voters could swing close battleground states such as NC and FL to Obama and provide him with landslides in others. Over the past half-century, this bloc has been one of the most unreliable in the general electorate: between school work, exams, and other factors, young folks inevitably stay home. In 1972, as in this cycle, enthusiastic young voters provided Democratic candidate George McGovern with an enormous advantage during primary season. By Election Day, the so-called "youth vote" failed to materialize, contributing to the Democrat's devastating lose against incumbent Republican president Richard M. Nixon. Can Obama break this 50 year streak of under-performance?

Variable #1: Party Weighting

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 3:22 AM by Maurice Berger

Throughout the day, PollTrack will be providing analysis about the three hidden variables that could effect both turn out in and outcome of tomorrow's election: [1] Party weighting in polls. [2] The youth vote. [3] The so-called "Bradley Effect." Factor #1: One Thing to keep in mind about the today's final numbers--especially is VERY close races--most public opinion surveys in this cycle have tended to weight the party affiliation of likely voters in a way that skews to the Democrats by an historical degree. NBC/WSJ this morning gives the Democrats a +10% advantage in its national numbers this morning. Such figures suggests an historical realignment of the electorate that is virtually unprecedented over the past fifty years. If the Republican turnout should be greater than these polls suggest--and as a few surveys believe--the race could actually draw closer, especially in states that are already very close at this point, including Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. Will Obama benefit from a record turnout of Democratic voters? If so, he could win an electoral landslide, if not, things could get a bit closer.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Election Day Map: Obama-273 McCain-174 TCTC-91

Posted Oct 28, 2008 at 7:02 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama coming on strong in North Carolina (he now holds a tiny lead in the state), PollTrack's new Election Day Map numbers have shifted once again: Obama-273 McCain-174 TCTC-91.

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.

A Red Flag Out Of The McCain Campaign

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 3:44 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign that republicans may be worried about Obama's inroads into Republican leaning states--such as Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri (where several new polls indicate a modest Democratic lead)--the McCain campaign appears to be giving up on the idea of competing hard in most, if not all, of the states that John Kerry won in 2004. In other words, the Republicans are now plotting a very limited path to victory, one that includes most of the 2004 red states and a handful of blue states not now in play, such as New Hampshire and Pennsylvania: "Confronting an increasingly bleak electoral map," the campaign of Sen. John McCain is "searching for a 'narrow-victory scenario' and [will] focus in the final weeks on a dwindling number of states, using mailings, telephone calls and television advertisements to try to tear away support from Sen. Barack Obama." Barring a dramatic turnaround in McCain's numbers--one that would narrow the national race down to a point or two--the Republican's electoral deficit at this point in the campaign will be very difficult to overcome.

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)?

Could A Narrowing In National Numbers Be Significant?

Posted Oct 16, 2008 at 2:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A reader asks: why is a narrowing in the national polls significant, especially with Obama more than 100 electoral votes ahead of McCain on Today's Map? With nearly twice as many persuadable and undecided voters than at this point in the 2004 election--and 45% of respondents saying that Obama is not qualified to be president (only Michael Dukakis in 1988 had a higher rating in this regard)--any tightening of the race could be meaningful. And if history is any guide, the survey that now shows the race the closest--IBD/TIPP--was also the most accurate in predicting the outcome of the last presidential election. (Given PollTrack's reliance on polling averages, you might want to take this observation with a grain of salt.) National numbers, however, are not the whole story: we elect presidents not through natiowide totals but 51 winner-take-all statewide contests (save for NE and ME, where EVs are split by congressional districts). Ultimately, national advantages often trickle down to the states. As national numbers change, so eventually can the numbers in battleground states. The average lag between national and statewide trends is a week or two. Indeed, today, we're seeing a slight tightening--and improvement in McCain's polling averages--of several states, including North Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, and Colorado. Still, a number of national polls report a wide lead for Obama, so statewide trending could also increase the Democrat's advantage in the battlegrounds.

Rasmussen & Zogby Also Report The Race Tightening

Posted Oct 13, 2008 at 2:26 AM by Maurice Berger

This morning, both the Rasmussen and Zogby daily tracking polls--like Gallup's yesterday--suggest the race is tightening. Rasmussen gives Obama a +5% lead (50% to 45%), down from a high to +8% earlier in the week. Zobgy reports a 4% lead (48% to 44%). The good news for Obama: his base numbers have remained steady over the past two weeks, within a point or two, either way, of 50%, while McCain hovers around the 45% mark. The good news for McCain: despite a succession of bad news cycles for the candidate (and the Republican brand), Obama is not walking away with the election according to these surveys. Still, several periodic polls released over the weekend, report a big advantage for the Democrat: Newsweek--+11%, ABC News/Washington Post: +10%. The latter survey suggests that Obama's lead may be insurmountable: "Though every race is different, no presidential candidate has come back from an October deficit this large in pre-election polls dating to 1936." The same poll, however, also indicates an unusually fluid bloc of voters in the middle, some undecided, others swinging from one candidate to the other.  PollTrack will carefully monitor the daily trackers (as well as periodic surveys) over the next week to get a better sense of the state of the race. Also monitored: the extent to which any changes in the candidates' national numbers, if any, make their way into the battleground states. Generally, state polling lags behind national surveys by a week or two. Are two polls released over the weekend in Ohio and North Carolina--both showing McCain retaking a marginal lead--outliers or trend catchers? Stay tuned.

A Month To Go: Blowout, Modest Win, or Squeaker?

Posted Oct 08, 2008 at 7:22 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama retaking the momentum in Election 2008, he is clearly better situated to win in November. Yet, the coming weeks provide opportunities and perils for both candidates. For Obama, momentum may turn into inevitability: voters may decide that Obama is a winner and that he has wrapped up the election. Thus, undecided voters may fall into line behind him. Inevitability, however, can lead to complacency: as voters sense inevitability, they often lose interest (and sometimes do not turn out on election day). The other good news for Obama is that he's been riding a four-month, albeit modest, wave of support over McCain, broken only by a two week stretch following the conventions, when the Republican took a modest lead. For McCain, opportunity may have less to do with his campaign and more to do with the nation's innate political divisions--the "Red" vs. "Blue" state dichotomy. It's hard to underestimate just how divided the nation is culturally and politically. Thus, the political landscape may be tougher for Obama than it now appears. National cycles in recent years have been sharply divided, riven by cultural, racial, economic, ideological, geographic, and religious considerations, allegiances, and differences. One need only look at recent history to confirm the durability of these divisions: 2000, when the presidency hinged on 500 votes in Florida; 2004, when the presidential race was won by 100,000 votes in Ohio; and 2006, when the Democrats took back the Senate by 3,000 votes in Montana and 8,000 votes in Virginia, in a year when the Republican brand was on life support. As 2008's electoral map slowly migrates back to 2000/2004 divisions--with a few new battlegrounds thrown in (VA, NC and possibly IN)--it's important to be cautious in accessing or predicting the election's outcome. Other issues--from Obama's race to McCain's age--could disrupt expectations and patterns. The next seven days are critical. If Obama can cement his lead, his chances on election day remain strong. If McCain can draw the race closer, the outcome becomes less clear. One important note in this regard: in the three close national cycles of late--2000, 2004, 2006--significant movement occurred in the last few days of the campaign, enough to determine the outcome in each instance. Whether 2008 will be a blowout, a modest win, or a squeaker remains to be seen.

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).

Tomorrow's Map: NC Moves To "Too Close To Call"

Posted Oct 07, 2008 at 9:43 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama actually taking a tiny aggregate lead in the traditionally Republican state, PollTrack moves North Carolina from "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call" on Tomorrow's Map.

Obama's Milestones: At the 50% Mark AND +7% In Daily Tracking Average

Posted Oct 04, 2008 at 12:23 PM by Maurice Berger

The week ends with two major milestones for the Obama campaign: a national lead in most surveys at or near the 50% mark and a statistically significant advantage over his Republican rival. With today's PollTrack national daily tracking poll average showing Obama up +7%, the Democrat is heading into the last month of Election 2008 in a position of strength. Obama's lead is larger than either candidate's thus far (and he is the first to hover at the 50% mark for more than a day or two). The longer Obama can remain at or near the 50% (or surge above it) and maintain a lead beyond the margin of error of most national polls, the harder it will be for McCain to remake the dynamics of the race. Yes, as this morning's post suggests, it's far from over for the Republican. The fortunes of the two candidates have swung dramatically over the past month. But the McCain campaign must act quickly or risk loosing a large bloc of independent and unaffiliated voters, who are growing increasingly comfortable with the idea of an Obama presidency, especially in light of the faltering economy. The two milestones confirmed by today's polls--and Obama's surge over the past week in a number of battleground states, including traditionally Republican ones, like Indiana and North Carolina--suggest that the Republican path to victory has grown narrower and more difficult.

McCain Campaign: Michigan Now Out Of Reach

Posted Oct 02, 2008 at 7:30 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's lead rapidly expanding in Michigan--where a Public Policy Polling issued today gives the Democrat a healthy 10% advantage, 51% to 41%--the New York Times reports this afternoon that McCain will pull his campaign from the state: "John McCain’s decision to cancel a campaign event in Michigan next week was not a matter of scheduling: Mr. McCain is giving up his effort to take the state back into the red column, concluding that economic distress there has simply put the state out of reach, according to Republicans familiar with the decision." This is a big concession (more ominous than the decision of the Obama campaign to abandon the three electoral votes of North Dakota a fews week ago) and a testament to the ever increasing problem the Republican is having holding onto traditionally Republican turf. The move will allow the McCain campaign to redirect time and money to states that are now more competitive, such as the traditional battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida (both went to Bush in 2000 and 2004) and states that are traditionally Republican but are now surprisingly close, such as Indiana and North Carolina.

North Carolina: It's The Economy

Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 11:55 AM by Maurice Berger

A Public Policy Polling survey, released this afternoon, reveals one important reason for Obama's dramatic upswing in North Carolina: the economy. The poll found that, "over the last year there's been a strong relationship between the number of North Carolinians listing the economy as their biggest concern, and Obama's standing in the polls. In January when just 39% of voters said it was their biggest issue John McCain led by 14 points. In August with it up to 48% Obama trailed by just three. Last week with 58% listing it number one the race was tied, and now with the number up to a record 64% Obama has taken a small lead. He is up 55-38 among respondents citing the economy as their main concern."

North Carolina: A Warning Sign For The McCain Campaign?

Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 8:14 AM by Maurice Berger

Obama has pulled ahead in PollTrack's average for North Carolina, albeit by a tiny (and statistically insignificant) lead of +0.7%. What is significant, however, is that McCain's lead in the state two weeks ago was strong enough to fall into the "Safe Republican" category. Last week was, indeed, brutal for the Arizona Senator. NC should be easy Republican turf, so any movement towards the blue zone, even to this very slight degree, is a real warning sign for the McCain campaign.

Tomorrow's Map: New Call For North Carolina

Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 8:26 AM by Maurice Berger

On the basis of the most recent surveys in North Carolina, PollTrack moves the state from "Safe" to "Leaning Republican" 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.

Election Day Map Today

Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 1:51 AM by Maurice Berger

Based on statewide polling over the past month, PollTrack has a number of new calls on Election Day Map Today. In the coming weeks--as trends are established and voter opinion appears to be solidifying--more states will be added to the final tally. Stay tuned . . .

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?

Tomorrow's Map: NC Moves from "Leaning" to "Safe Republican"

Posted Sep 11, 2008 at 2:01 PM by Maurice Berger

On the heels of Palin's nomination and the RNC, North Carolina--once a state the Obama campaign believed it could pick off from the Republicans--is moving in McCain's direction. While it remains "Leaning Republican" on Today's Map, the trend toward red pushes it to "Safe Republican" on Tomorrow's Map.

PollTrack: Close But Trending McCain's Way

Posted Sep 09, 2008 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

Looking at the bulk of national polling completed entirely after the Republican National Convention, PollTrack now sees the race as statistically tied but trending in McCain's direction. It appears that the RNC was successful in erasing Obama's "bounce," increasing voter party identification for the Republicans, and improving McCain's numbers in a range of categories, from his potential as leader and commander in chief to his handling of Iraq and the economy.

The thing to watch: state polls. Are national numbers translated into an improved performance for McCain in battleground states? The earliest signs suggest an up tick in support for McCain in some of these states.

Another thing to watch: the media's vetting of Palin. Will the luster wear-off her candidacy? If so, will races that now favor McCain--Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, all states with significant Evangelical populations--become closer?