Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

The Most and Least Trusted State Governments?

Posted Apr 07, 2014 at 8:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup poll reports that Illinois tops the list for state residents with the lowest trust in their state government:  “llinois’ position at the bottom of the list … is not surprising, given that its last two governors, Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, were sentenced to jail for crimes committed while in office.” Here is Gallup's chart for the most and least trusted states. 

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2012 US Senate: Are The Democrats In Trouble?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Today's Map: ND Moves From "Leaning Red" to "Too Close To Call"

Posted Oct 18, 2008 at 3:34 AM by Maurice Berger

In a blow to the McCain campaign, yet another red state appears to be faltering. With a third poll in so many days (Research 2000) reporting the race virtually tied in North Dakota, PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call" on Today's Map.

Today's & Tomorrow's Map: ND Moves From "Safe" To "Leaning Republican"

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 5:46 AM by Maurice Berger

With two new polls showing a growing bloc of undecided voters  and a slight lead for Obama in the North Dakota--indicating as much as a 14% swing in the past month--PollTrack moves the state from "Safe" to "Leaning Republican" on Today's and Tomorrow's Map.

What's Up With North Dakota?

Posted Oct 13, 2008 at 8:13 AM by Maurice Berger

With McCain holding a very solid +8.3% lead in North Dakota--50.3% to 42.0%--today's survey from Forum Poll/Minnesota State University is either off-base or an ominous sign for the Republican. The poll has Obama leading by an insignificant +2%, 45% to 43%, with a whopping 12% still undecided. At this point, PollTrack is inclined to treat the poll as an anomaly (given the state's demographics, voting history, and other recent surveys giving McCain, on average, a more than +11% advantage). Polltrack will reevaluate ND pending the next round of statewide polling.

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.

ND Now "Safe Republican" on Today's Map: Is Obama's 50-State Strategy Failing?

Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 3:41 AM by Maurice Berger

With McCain's lead growing dramatically in North Dakota--and word from Associated Press this morning that the Obama campaign has pulled much of its staff from the state and is redistributing workers to former Democratic strongholds MN and WI, where the race has grown extremely close--PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning" to "Safe Republican" on Today's Map. As the electoral landscape draws back to where it was in 2004--with the addition perhaps of VA as a viable new battleground state--is this yet another sign that the Democrat's 50-State strategy is not working?

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

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

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

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: ND Moves from TCTC to "Leaning Republican"

Posted Sep 10, 2008 at 9:35 AM by Maurice Berger

New polling in North Dakota suggests that the state, now "Leaning Republican," is clearly trending Republican. So PollTrack moves North Dakota on Tomorrow's Map from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Republican." It appears that the Republican ticket--now decidedly Western in its make up--is seeing improving numbers in western, Rocky Mountain, and plains states, from New Mexico up through Montana and the Dakotas.

McCain Selects Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) New State Calls: AK, ND, MI

Posted Aug 29, 2008 at 3:19 AM by Maurice Berger

Sources within the Republican Party report that McCain has chosen Gov, Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate. Palin, a fiscal and social conservative, is a favorite of conservative activists. Pro-Life, she may help McCain solidify his standing with religious conservatives who have been slow to warm to his campaign. The second female candidate of either party to run on a national ticket (Dem. Geraldine Ferraro was the first in 1984), Palin could also help win over female voters, including some of Hillary Clinton's older and more conservative die-hard female supporters. Conversely, the freshly minted governor (she's been in office less than two years), may undercut the McCain campaign's argument that Obama is too inexperienced to lead.

As a result of McCain's selection, PollTrack will now make a series of new calls on Today's Map Today:

Alaska: Moves from "Leaning Republican" to "Safe Republican"

North Dakota: Moves from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Republican"

Michigan: Now that McCain has passed over Mitt Romney as his running mate, Michigan may be less in play for the Republicans. With Obama's numbers improving in the state recently, PollTrack moves Michigan from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democratic."