Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Another Poll Shows Gingrich In The Lead Nationally

Posted Nov 22, 2011 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

Another poll, this one by Reuters/Ipsos, reports that Newt Gingrich now leads the Republican presidential field nationally with 24%, followed by Mitt Romney at 22%, Herman Cain at 12% and Rick Perry at 10%.

Voters Evenly Divided On Obama Reelection

Posted Aug 16, 2011 at 1:26 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by McClatchy-Marist reports that Americans are evenly divided over the question of whether President Obama deserves re-election: 40% say they will definitely vote for the president next year; 40% say they will not. The remaining 20% are unsure. Still, the poll detects an inherent edge for the president: when matched against specific Republican challengers Obama edges out every one, a possible indication of the weakness of the GOP field as well as the general likeability of the president.


How Close is Close?

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

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

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

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