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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IS PA GOP Governor In Trouble In Reelection Race?

Posted Jan 09, 2014 at 9:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Quinnipiac in Pennsylvania reports that GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has a negative approval rating at 36% to 53% approval rating. With 56% (to 36%) saying that he does not deserve reelection--and the poll showing him trailing seven possible Democratic challengers--Corbett's chances for reelection appear to be diminishing.

Toomey's Approval Up In PA

Posted Apr 29, 2013 at 6:54 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Quinnipiac reports that US Senator Pat Toomey's co-sponsorship of the gun background-check amendment has helped push the Republican's approval rate to 48%, the highest point of his three-plus-year term. 30% disapprove of his performance.

Obama Wins Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 9:42 PM by Maurice Berger

So much for Mitt Romney late strategy of vying for the traditionally Democratic states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, both states now called for President Obama by NBC. (PA was just called by CNN).

Exit Poll: Seniors In PA

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 8:08 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Exit Polls in Pennsylvania, on the question of who would do a better job of handling Medicare, the president holds a slight lead: 49% to 47%. Yet, in a state with a very large share of senior voters, this number may suggest a dampening of support for Romney among a demographic that has formed the backbone of the Republican party. With Exit Polls reporting a +4% lead for Obama in the state, it appear that Romney faces an uphill battle.

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.

Today's Map: PA Moves From Leaning Democratic to Democratic

Posted Sep 17, 2012 at 9:01 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Philadelphia Inquirer poll in Pennsylvania reports that President Obama now leads Mitt Romney by +11% among likely voters, 50% to 39%. PollTrack now sees the state as out of reach for the GOP. It moves PA on Today's Map from Leaning Democratic to Democratic.

Obama With Significant Lead In PA

Posted Aug 28, 2012 at 9:09 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by the Philadelphia Inquirer in Pennsylvania reports that President Obama now holds a significant +9% lead over Mitt Romney--51% to 42%. PollTrack moves the state on Tomorrow's Map from Leaning Democratic to Democratic

Obama Leads In PA, But Romney Gains

Posted Aug 17, 2012 at 8:59 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Franklin & Marshall College reports that President Obama now leads Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania by six points, 44% to 38%. These numbers actually show a gain of +6% for the GOP challenger; Obama led by 12 points in the poll in June.

Obama Above 50% Mark in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania

Posted Aug 02, 2012 at 9:23 AM by Maurice Berger

In another indication that recent news cycles--and heavy advertising by Democrats--has hurt Mitt Romney in key sewing states, a new survey by Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times polls reports that President Obama now leads Mitt Romney in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Just as significantly, Obama breaks the all-important 50% mark in each state:

Florida: Obama 51%, Romney 45%

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 44%

Pennsylvania: Obama 53%, Romney 42%

Is The Race Narrowing in Pennsylvania?

Posted Jul 31, 2012 at 9:16 AM by Maurice Berger

With just about every presidential cycle reporting a narrowing race in Pennsylvania, only to have the state go blue (it has done so reliably for the past twenty years), the question remains: what do polls suggesting a close race in the state mean. The latest Susquehanna Polling & Research survey in Pennsylvania, for example, has President Obama leading Mitt Romney by just three points, 46% to 43%. PollTrack's answer at this point is that the state remains Leaning Democrat. 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.

Obama With Seven-Point Lead In PA

Posted Jul 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM by Maurice Berger

A while the GOP attempts to make Pennsylvania competitive this year, a We Ask America poll in the state reports that President Obama leads Mitt Romney by seven points, 47% to 40%.

Quinnipiac: Obama with Slight Lead in Ohio and PA, Romney Ahead in Florida

Posted May 07, 2012 at 9:14 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest batch of Quinnipiac polls reports a tightening of the presidential race in three key swing states:

Florida: Romney 44%, Obama 43%

Ohio: Obama 44%, Romney 42%

Pennsylvania: Obama 47%, Romney 39%.

Romney Nows Leads In Pennsylvania

Posted Apr 09, 2012 at 9:33 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite the make or break status of Pennsylvania for its former GOP Senator, Rick Santorum, a new Public Policy Polling survey in the state reports that Mitt Romney now now leads Rick Santorum, 42% to 37%, with Ron Paul at 9% and Newt Gingrich at 6%. Last month, Romney was behind in the state, 25% to 42%. Meanwhile Santorum's dropped 6% points from 43% to 37%.

 

Romney Now Ahead In PA

Posted Apr 06, 2012 at 9:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Public Policy Polling in Pennsylvania reports that Mitt Romney is now leading Rick Santorum, 42% to 37%, with Ron Paul at 9% and Newt Gingrich at 6%.

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.

Santorum's Support Drops In Pennsylvania

Posted Mar 29, 2012 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Franklin & Marshall poll in Pennsylvania reports that Rick 's once healthy lead in his home state over Mitt Romney, has diminished to a few percentage points, 30% to 28%.

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%.

Santorum's Support Jumps In PA

Posted Feb 13, 2012 at 12:58 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Tribune-Review/WPXI-TV in Pennsylvania reports that  Rick Santorum's support has more than doubled in his home state, though its primary is more than two months away. Santorum now leads with 30% (six weeks ago he was at 14%), followed by Romney at 29% and Newt Gingrich at 13%.

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: Gingrich Leads In CA, PA, and VA

Posted Dec 20, 2011 at 3:11 AM by Maurice Berger

In case you're wonderful about other GOP primary states, here a breakdown of the standing of the GOP field in several of the larger states. In CA, PA, and VA, at least, Gingrich appears to be in the lead. Given the erosion of Gingrich's support in most recent polling, however, PollTrack suggests that these results should be view with a good degree of skepticism. In any case, Newt Gingrich leads by considerable margins in the key states:

CALIFORNIA (Public Policy Institute): Gingrich 33%, Romney 25%, Paul 9%, Bachmann 7%, Perry 4%, Santorum 4% and Huntsman 2%.

PENNSYLVANIA (Susquehanna Polling and Research):  Gingrich 8%, Bachmann 6%, and Perry 2%.

VIRGINIA (Public Policy Polling survey): Gingrich 41%, Romney 15%, Perry 8%, Bachmann 8%, Santorum 6%, Paul 6% and Huntsman 3%.

 

Election 2012: Obama Lags In Pennsylvania

Posted Sep 07, 2011 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

In numbers that may well bode poorly for the President, a new Franklin & Marshall poll in Pennsylvania reports that his approval rating in the state is just 34%. Since PA is key presidential battleground state, it will be imperative for the Democrat to improve his standing in a state that has gone with the Democrat in every election since 1992.

Election 2012: Obama In Trouble In PA?

Posted Sep 02, 2011 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Muhlenberg College poll suggests that President Obama's reelection effort may be in trouble in Pennsylvania. His approval rate has dropped to 35% in the key swing state. The poll's analysis concludes that there may be room for movement in the poll: "31% of Pennsylvanians say their vote in November 2012 will depend on who the Republican candidate is. And Obama still slightly edges out an anonymous GOP contender 36 percent to 31%." Nevertheless, with the incumbent polling well below that 48% to 50% threshold, the numbers suggest a difficult race for Obama in 2012. 

Election 2012: Is Obama In Trouble In PA?

Posted Jul 13, 2011 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

With Pennsylvania a must win for any Democratic candidate for president, it looks as if President Obama's reelection could be in jeopardy. A just released Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania reports that the state is "looking more and more like it could be a tough hold" for the Democrats in 2012.  PPP continues: "[Obama's] approval rating in the state continues to be under water at 46/48... Obama's poll numbers are worse in Pennsylvania than they are in places like Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and New Mexico, all states that went Republican in 2004 even as Pennsylvania voted Democratic. The President's persistently poor numbers in a state that's gone Democratic in every Presidential election for the last 24 years probably make Pennsylvania the place where Obama should be most concerned about his current standing."

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."

Election 2012: President Obama In Trouble In PA?

Posted Jun 13, 2011 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll reports that President Obama is struggling in his reelection bid in Pennsylvania: "It's no secret that President Obama is on the down-slope politically, and that includes the pivotal state of Pennsylvania. A new poll from Susquehanna Polling and Research says that 48% of Pennsylvanians disapprove of Obama's performance, while 41% approve. Also: Only 43% of registered voters in Pennsylvania say Obama has done well enough to deserve re-election, the poll said; 50% say 'it is time to give a new person a chance.'"

Charlie Cook's Crystal Ball: Congressional Midterm Elections, 2010

Posted Jun 10, 2009 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

The brilliant political analyst Charlie Cook--taking an early look at the electoral landscape for the 2010 congressional midterm election--predicts a split decision, "with Republicans picking up a few House seats but losing a Senate seat or two. The difference is that Democrats have the larger number of vulnerable House districts, while Senate Republicans have more seats that are in serious jeopardy."

Cook on the House: "Having gained 54 House seats over the past two elections, Democrats now represent 49 districts that GOP presidential nominee John McCain won last year. By comparison, Republicans represent 34 districts that Obama won. Simple arithmetic indicates that in the absence of overwhelming hostility toward the Republican Party, the GOP ought to gain a few, maybe even a dozen or so, House seats."

Cook on the Senate: "On the Senate side, the math is a bit different and is not driven directly by the results of the past two elections. In 2010, Republicans will be defending 19 seats, only one more than Democrats will. Originally, Republicans would have had 20 seats to defend versus 15 for the Democrats, but that changed with Joe Biden's election to the vice presidency and Hillary Rodham Clinton's selection as secretary of State. Two Democratic seats that would not have been up again until 2014 and 2012, respectively, will be in 2010. Add in Arlen Specter's party switch, and next year's lineup brings almost complete parity in the parties' exposure."

For more of Cook's fascinating analysis click here.

NBC News: Pennsylvania Called For Obama

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 12:11 PM by Maurice Berger

NBC News has just called Pennsylvania for Obama. If this prediction holds, it may be impossible for McCain to build an electoral majority. Additionally, exit poll demographic data suggests that Obama may be outperforming McCain in Indiana among key groups won handily by Bush in 2004, from older voter to Evangelicals. Both are VERY good news for Barack Obama.

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?

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?

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."

What's Going On With Pennsylvania?

Posted Nov 01, 2008 at 3:36 AM by Maurice Berger

With several new polls showing the race in Pennsylvania drawing closer, the question of the day is why. Rasmussen this morning reports on the narrowing trajectory over the past month: the latest "survey of voters in the state shows Obama with 51% of the vote while McCain picks up 47%. That four-point advantage for Obama is down from a seven-point margin earlier in the week and a 13-point advantage for Obama earlier in the month." First it is important to note that the Democrat does lead, has held this advantage for more than a month, and passes the 50% threshold. The competitiveness of the race, however, may relate to the state's demographics, which tend to be evenly divided among Democrat- and Republican-leaning voters (the old joke about PA: it's New York in the big cities at either end of the state; Alabama in the middle). Kerry won the state very narrowly four years ago. The state has one of the oldest populations in the nation (+65 voters tend to favor McCain), a large and politically active bloc of gun owners, and a large contingent of conservative, working class white voters. Even among Democratic primary voters in April--who trended considerably more progressive than the statewide electorate at large--Hillary Clinton defeated Obama by nearly a +10% margin. Indeed, during the fall campaign, PA has been the one Kerry/Gore blue State that has given Obama the most trouble. PollTrack was the first polling website to note Obama's problem in the state, writing on 11 September: "With three new polls all showing the race in Pennsylvania drawing down to a statistical tie --Obama now leads by an average of just over 2%--PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from 'Leaning Democrat' to 'Too Close to Call.' It is quite possible that the RNC and Palin are helping McCain in the more conservative middle section of the state--an area rich in small towns, Evangelical and Christian conservative voters, and gun owners." (NOTE: the previous passage is a quotation from PollTrack's post in early September: PA remains "Safe Democrat" as of 1 November and until further evaluation on Today's and Tomorrow's Map) If Pennsylvania, and its unique demographics, represents an isolated example of a narrowing race, Obama may hold enough of a structural advantage in the electoral college to win handily on Tuesday. But if PA is a harbinger of a broader national pattern--say, for example, indicating a tendency of white working class and Reagan Democrats to vote for McCain, whether they are admitting this to pollsters or not--certain statewide contests could draw closer as well, particularly Ohio and Missouri.

Obama: Ad War Dominance

Posted Oct 29, 2008 at 6:44 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign of the economic disparity between the two presidential campaigns, Nielsen reports that Obama continues to outspend McCain in the key battleground states: "In Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, Obama placed 155% more ad units (62,022 vs. 24,273) than McCain between October 6 and October 26, 2008... Obama's advertising continues to be heaviest in Florida, where he ran 18,909 ads between October 6 and October 26, outpacing McCain's 5,702 ads by 232%." Over the past few days, Nielsen reports, McCain has closed the gap slightly. More eye-popping, perhaps, is the Republican's newest ad buy: Montana, a state George W. Bush won by nearly twenty points four years ago." Yet, despite this enormous disparity, the race remains close in most of these states, though all, except PA, lean Republican.

Is Pennsylvania Narrowing?

Posted Oct 29, 2008 at 4:32 AM by Maurice Berger

While Obama's polling average lead in Pennsylvania is over +10%, two new polls are actually reporting the race narrowing in the Keystone State. Rasmussen reports that Obama's advantage is down to +7%, 53% to 46%. Strategic Vision also reports a +7% lead, 50% to 43%. Still, the Democrat's lead is these polls suggests they "Lean Democrat," at the very least, though the state continues to be listed as "Safe Democrat" on Today's and Tomorrow's Maps. (The freshest polling from the state--Associated Press/GfK, Quinnipiac, and Franklin and Marshall--this morning also suggests that the fundamentals in the state favor Obama, he leads by +12% in the first two polls, 13% in the latter.) Yet, as the Boston Globe reports, "Obama's repeated visits here--he held rallies in Chester, outside Philadelphia, yesterday, and in Pittsburgh the night before-- suggest that his campaign is worried enough about the state, which he lost handily in the primary to Senator Hillary Clinton, to maintain a major presence this close to Election Day. One of Obama's top surrogates here, Governor Ed Rendell, said yesterday that McCain's heavy campaigning in the state, especially in southwestern counties around Pittsburgh, was whittling away Obama's lead. 'I never thought it was a 10-plus lead to begin with," Rendell said in an interview. "This is still not a given.'" The big question: are the campaigns' internal polls indicating a much closer race, as some suspect, or is the Obama campaign faking out McCain into pouring money, time, and resources into a state he cannot win? Even more dramatically: are the internal numbers in PA early harbingers of a "Bradley effect," in which white voters tell pollsters they are voting for the black candidate out of embarrassment or a sense of duty, even though they intend to vote for his white opponent in the privacy of the voting booth?

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.

McCain's Challenge IV: Money

Posted Oct 25, 2008 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

Another challenge now facing McCain: money. With Obama opting out of public funding, he has virtually unlimited resources in the final ten days of election 2008. The biggest challenge for McCain, then, is getting his message out against a tidal wave of Democratic television advertising. Nielsen's accounting of ad expenditures confirms that over the past week, Obama's outlay for TC spots in seven key battleground states dwarfed McCain's by 150%: "In seven key swing states--Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia--Obama placed 150% more ad units (53,049 v. 21,106) than McCain between October 6 and October 22, 2008. Obama’s advertising has been most prolific in Florida, where he ran 15,887 ads between October 6 and October 22, 2008, outpacing McCain’s 4,662 ads by 240%." The bulk and frequency of TV ads are only one factor in the overall success of a campaign--and electoral history is littered with losers who outspent their opponents--but having this kind of ad advantage no doubt helps Obama in the homestretch of this campaign.

Obama Winning Over Jewish Vote

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 5:36 AM by Maurice Berger

An important marker for success in battleground states with large Jewish populations--like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania--Gallup reports that Obama is winning over the Jewish Vote: "Jewish voters nationwide have grown increasingly comfortable with voting for Barack Obama for president since the Illinois senator secured the Democratic nomination in June. They now favor Obama over John McCain by more than 3 to 1, 74% to 22% . . . Support for Obama among Jewish voters has expanded more gradually, from the low 60% range in June and July to 66% in August, 69% in September, and 74% today." Several other national polls, less exhaustive than Gallup, show the race to be somewhat closer among American Jews.

Obama Holding Steady in Pennsylvania

Posted Oct 23, 2008 at 5:07 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's aggregate lead in Pennsylvania over the 10% threshold--and new polling confirming this lead--PollTrack tends to discount stories reporting that the Democrat's own internal polls show the race at +2 DEM. Unless information comes to light to the contrary, the state remains "Safe Democrat" on Today's Map. UPDATE: Four polls released today all show Obama with leads in the PollTrack "Safe" range in PA: Survey USA (+12 DEM), Big10/battleground (+11), Morning Call (+10 DEM), and Quinnipiac (+13 DEM).

A McCain Surge In Pennsylvania?

Posted Oct 22, 2008 at 8:01 AM by Maurice Berger

Rumors are circulating today of a McCain surge in Pennsylvania. While Obama's statewide lead is more than +10% according to PollTrack's average, sources report that "Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has written two separate memos to the Obama campaign in recent days begging for Sen. Obama to come back and campaign in his state. In the memos, Rendell, a former Hillary Clinton supporter, admits to being 'a little nervous' about Obama's chances in the Keystone state." According to a report on America Online, "Obama's own internal polling shows him with only a two-point lead in the state." Last week, US Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said that the state could prove difficult for Obama because some in western Pennsylvania might be reluctant to vote for a black candidate. Murtha later apologized, but the two stories--coupled the stepped up presence of the Republican ticket in the state in recent days--suggest that something is going on in Pennsylvania. Whether it all adds up to a McCain surge is unclear at this point. UPDATE: The Hill has also just reported that "an internal Barack Obama campaign poll has the Democrat ahead of John McCain by just two percentage points [in PA]. WILK radio host Steve Corbett said Tuesday he obtained an Obama campaign e-mail about the internal poll showing a tight race." Stay tuned. 

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.

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.

Today's & Tomorrow's Map: PA Moves From "Leaning" To "Safe Democrat"

Posted Oct 07, 2008 at 7:23 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's PT average for Pennsylvania at the 50% mark with an aggregate lead of +11, PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning" To "Safe Democrat" on Today's and Tomorrow's Map.

Today's Map: Movement Towards Obama in Pennsylvania

Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 7:31 AM by Maurice Berger

With a slew of recent polls indicating a average lead for Obama of +4.8%, PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on Today's Map.

Tomorrow's Map: PA Moves From "Too Close" to "Leaning Democrat"

Posted Sep 26, 2008 at 7:13 AM by Maurice Berger

With most polls showing Pennsylvania trending back to Obama (to a modest degree), PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" 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.

Is Either Candidate Pulling Ahead?

Posted Sep 13, 2008 at 2:03 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has received a number of E-mails from Democrats concerned about Obama's chances in November. The short answer: no candidate is decisively ahead and the race is fairly even both in national support and electoral votes. It is clear that McCain came out of his convention stronger than Obama. It is also true that the momentum is now with the Republican. But the race is close enough that either candidate can win. By contrast, President Bush came out of his convention in 2004 with a sizable bounce that he maintained throughout much of September. Strong debate performances by Sen. John Kerry allowed the Democrat to narrow the gap considerably, though not entirely close it.

PollTrack suspects that the debates will be an important factor in this election. Since 1960 in presidential races in which debates were held (1960, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004), the debates were usually decisive. Indeed in contested cycles, where an incumbent did not sail to victory--races that include all but 1984 and 1996--the debates were the decisive factor in most instances. Here are a few debate bloopers and  successes that really made a difference: Nixon's listless appearance and five-o'clock shadow in 1960; Ford's gaffe about Poland in 1976; Dukakis' cold and dispassionate response to a question about whether his liberal views about crime and punishment would be shaken if his own wife were raped; Reagan's ability to convince a skeptical nation that he was not an extremist in 1980; and George H. W. Bush caught on camera glancing at his watch while his opponent, Bill Clinton, was addressing dire economic issues in 1992.

In the short term: watch to see if McCain's bounce translates into improvement in the statewide contest for electoral votes. Right now, the answer is a mixed bag: McCain appears to be benefiting form a sizable bounce in Southern states and smaller but marked improvement in number of western, plains and Rocky Mountain states. Obama's numbers remain very strong in New England (save New Hampshire). Numbers for the mid-west, rust belt, and mid-Atlantic states are unclear at this point, though Obama appears to be loosing a little ground in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. New York and California seem solidly behind the Democrat.

Today's Map: PA Moves from "Leaning Democrat" to "Too Close to Call"

Posted Sep 11, 2008 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

With three new polls all showing the race in Pennsylvania drawing down to a statistical tie--Obama now leads by an average of just over 2%--PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from "Leaning Democrat" to "Too Close to Call." It is quite possible that the RNC and Palin are helping McCain in the more conservative middle section of the state--an area rich in small towns, Evangelical and Christian conservative voters, and gun owners. In many ways, the state's population is closely divided, with more liberal cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh anchoring its Democratic base and small cities and towns in the middle trending Republican. Often, it comes down to turnout in these areas as well as how the vote breaks down in the suburbs of the larger cities, a demographic that has been somewhat fluid in previous elections.

Tomorrow's Map Today: New Call--Pennsylvania

Posted Sep 10, 2008 at 5:41 AM by Maurice Berger

New polling over the past few days suggests that the race may be tightening in Pennsylvania. PollTrack continues to rate PA "Leaning Democrat" on Today's Map. But, for now, Pennsylvania moves from "leaning Democrat" to "To Close To Call" on Tomorrow's Map, suggesting possible momentum towards McCain in this key battleground state.

The Palin Effect I: Women

Posted Aug 31, 2008 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

Pollster David Johnson of Strategic Vision reports that in OH, PA, WI, MI--battleground states central to this election--Obama is under-performing other Democratic candidates in recent cycles. According to the organization's president, Obama, in these states, is "only leading John McCain by 2% to 3% among females where traditionally there has been a double digit lead for Democrats." 

Was McCain's choice of Palin, in part, meant to appeal to these women? Over the past few days, PollTrack has noted a tendency among pundits and journalists to distort the attitudes of many of these voters, treating them as a monolithic bloc of feminists disaffected by Hillary Clinton's loss yet unwilling to vote for a candidate who supports gun rights and rejects abortion rights.

The reality on-the-ground is more complicated. Some--if not many--women in these states were Democratic or independent voters who supported Hillary Clinton. And, yes, some remain disgruntled. But many of these women are also, like Palin, pro-life and pro-gun. Thus, she may well be appealing to these voters, spurring McCain's support among women in these battleground states who continue to be disinclined to vote for the Democratic ticket.

 

New Swing State Analysis: FL, IW, MN, MO, OH, PA

Posted Aug 13, 2008 at 3:15 AM by Maurice Berger

Why is it so close? Indeed, since Obama's widely reported overseas trip--and the rush of anti-Obama ads and videos that paint the candidate as elitist and out of touch with most voters--McCain has shown signs of closing the gap further. In a few key swing states, such as Missouri and Florida, McCain is actually pulling ahead by a modest margin. While my polling average for Florida (for the past month) shows the election extremely close (+1.8% REP), the most recent round of polling indicates a modest surge for McCain, thus the state is now "Leaning Republican." In the mother of all swing states, Ohio, McCain has pulled even to an absolute tie (45.3% to 45.3% poll average). And the race has narrowed slightly in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Minnesota, although the Democrat retains his lead in all three states. The candidates' inability to break the 50% mark in any swing state, suggests that neither is walking away with this race.

Terry Madonna, poll director of the Franklin & Marshall organization, says of the narrowing of the race in Pennsylvania: "[Obama's] on third base, but so far he can't seem to find a way to get home. Look at the underlying trends. The economy is a huge issue. Bush's ratings are terrible. But too many voters are concerned about Obama's experience, and don't yet have enough confidence in his ability to lead."