Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Virginia: Democratic Counties Are Slow To Report

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 8:41 PM by Maurice Berger

Trump is now ahead in Virginia. But the vast majority of uncounted votes are in vastly Democratic counties. Once again, the large urban and suburban counties tend to process votes more slowly, given the vast number of ballots that need to be counted.

VA US Senate: Warner Holds Huge Lead

Posted Jun 26, 2014 at 2:18 PM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Rasmussen in Virginia reports that incumbent Democratic US Sen. Mark Warner holds a huge lead over GOP challenger Ed Gillespie (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 53% to 36%.

VA US Senate: Democrat Way Ahead

Posted Apr 02, 2014 at 9:26 AM by Maurice Berger

Democrats can take comfort in this year's US Senate race in Virginia. A new poll by Quinnipiac reports that the incumbent Mark Warner leads Republican Ed Gillespie by double-digits, 46% to 31%, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis at 6%.

VA US Senate: Democrat Way Ahead

Posted Jan 30, 2014 at 8:24 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Christopher Newport University in Virginia reports that U.S. Sen. Mark Warner(leads GOP challenger Ed Gillespie by 20 points, 50% to 30%. With a 63% job approval rating, Warner is in an excellent position for reelection.

VA Governor: Race Tightens Slightly

Posted Nov 01, 2013 at 8:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A recent spate of polls in the Virginia gubernatorial race, suggest that the space between the candidates has grown a bit tighter. A new Hampton University poll, for example, reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe now leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli by six points, 42% to 36%, with independent Robert Sarvis at 12%. Nonetheless no poll issued in the past few months has shown the Republican in the lead.

VA Governor: Democratic Lead Is Stable

Posted Oct 29, 2013 at 12:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Washington Post-Abt SRBI in Virginia reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe maintains a considerable and stable +12% lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, 51% to 39% among likely voters in next Tuesday's gubernatorial election. Libertarian Robert Sarvis is at 8%. The poll also indicates a huge gender gap: while the candidates are running even among men--with Cuccinelli at 45 percent and McAuliffe at 44 percent--the Democrat holds a huge lead among women, 58 percent to 34 percent."

VA Governor: Democrat Jumps To A Significant Lead

Posted Oct 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Rasmussen in Virgina reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe has jumped to a +17% lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the gubernatorial race, 50% to 33%. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is at 8%.

VA Governor: Republican Decline Continues

Posted Oct 21, 2013 at 8:54 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by NBC4/NBC News/Mariat reports that Republican Ken Cuccinelli is falling further behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for Virginia governor, 46% to 38% among likely voters;   Libertarian Robert Sarvis is at 9% in the survey. McAuliffe's lead has increased by +3% from month ago when he led 43% to 38%.

VA Governor: Is Voter Opinion Hardening?

Posted Oct 11, 2013 at 8:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Quinnipiac poll suggests that voter opinion in the Virginia governor's race may be hardening in favor of the Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who now leads by +8%--47% to 39%, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis at 8%.

VA Governor: Democrat Holds Solid Lead

Posted Oct 09, 2013 at 7:11 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Politico poll in reports that Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the race for governor by +10%, 52% to 42%. A poll by the Wason Center Reports that McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli by nine points among likely voters in the race for governor, 47% to 38%, with Robert Sarvis at 8%.

VA Governor: Three Polls Show Democrat In Lead

Posted Oct 08, 2013 at 9:21 AM by Maurice Berger

Three surveys all report a lead for Democrat Terry McAuliffe over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the upcoming Virginia governor's race: Emerson College: McAuliffe leads Cuccineli, 43% to 38%, with independent Robert Sarvis at 11%; University of Mary Washington reports a McAuliffe lead, 42% to 35%; and Hampton University has McAuliffe up 43% to 38% with Sarvis at 11%.

VA Governor: Democrat Expands Lead

Posted Sep 25, 2013 at 7:52 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by the Washington Post poll in Virginia reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe has expanded his lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the race for governor, 47% to 39%. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is at 10%.

Democrat With Tiny Lead For VA Governor

Posted Sep 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Roanoke College in Virginia reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe edges Republican Ken Cuccinelli by two points in the race for governor, 35% to 33%; Libertarian Robert Sarvis is at 8%.      

Democrat Leads In VA Governor's Race

Posted Sep 17, 2013 at 9:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Purple Strategies in Virginia reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli by +5% in the race for governor, 43% to 38%. The poll notes, however: "With many voters undecided -- and two disliked candidates -- this race is unpredictable."

Gay Marriage Has Majority Support In Virginia

Posted Jul 18, 2013 at 8:14 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by the Human Rights Campaign in Virginia reports that 55% of voters in the state now favor same-sex marriage; 41% are opposed to it. The HRC writes that the survey shows how sentiment about same-sex marriage has "shifted in its favor seven years after voters easily passed an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman."

Democrat Ahead In In VA Governor's Race

Posted Jun 04, 2013 at 9:51 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Public Policy Polling in Virginia reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the race for goverrnor, 42% to 37%.

Republican Leads In VA Governor's Race

Posted May 09, 2013 at 8:16 AM by Maurice Berger

For decades, the Virginia gubernatorial election has been a bellwether of sorts: the candidate from the opposing party of the president of the United States wins. Will 2013 be an exception. Possibly not. According to a new poll from the Washington Post, Republican Ken Cuccinelli holds an early lead over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in their race for governor, 46% to 41% among all voters and 51% to 41% among those voters most likely to cast a ballot.

Democrat Incumbent Ahead In VA US Senate Race

Posted Apr 02, 2013 at 9:49 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by the University of Mary Washington in Virginia reports that Democratoc US Sen. Mark Warner lead GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell In a hypothetical 2014 match up for U.S. Senate, 51% to 35%.

VA Gubernatorial Race A Tie

Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 8:16 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Quinnipiac in Virginia reports that Republican Ken Cuccinelli just edges Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for governor, 40% to 38%. Will the state live up to its longstanding record of electing governors from a party different from the US president? Stay tuned. 

Obama's National Lead Grows

Posted Dec 03, 2012 at 9:45 AM by Maurice Berger

As of late last week, President Obama's national lead over Mitt Romney rose to 50.9% to 47.4%.  As NBC First Read notes: "That's a bigger (and more decisive) margin that Bush's victory over John Kerry in 2004 (which was Bush 50.7% and Kerry 48.2%). What's more, the president's lead has grown to close to 3 points in Ohio, 4 points in Virginia and 6 points in Colorado. One doesn't win Colorado by six points without winning swing voters; there isn't a big-enough Democratic base to make that argument."

How Did Obama Capaign Gauge The Mood Of The Electorate?

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

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

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 2013 Election Coverage: New Jersey Governor

Posted Nov 20, 2012 at 9:39 AM by Maurice Berger

One hot election that PollTrack will be analyzing next year: The New Jersey gubernatorial race. The race may be both lively and consequential, pitting two of the state's most popular politicians against each other, incumbent GOP governor, Chris Christie and Democratic Newark Mayor Corey Booker. Here a teaser from the New Republic: "That perhaps the two most compelling politicians in America hail from the same state is dramatic enough. Now consider that soon they may be running against each other. . . . Visions of a Booker-Christie match-up make political junkies weak at the knees... There are no nationwide campaigns next year, and just two gubernatorial seats are up for grabs, so this race--hypothetical though it remains--would have America's attention. Money would flow: Both are beloved by Wall Street and, having campaigned on other candidates' behalf, are loaded with IOUs from political fundraisers around the country. Coverage would be nonstop: Both are extraordinarily talented at handling the microphone and delivering social media-optimized sound bites. And the stakes would be high: Both have designs on the presidency, and are aware of the benefits of handing the other a premature political death." PollTrack adds that the race may also serve as an early moratorium on President Obama's second term much as this year's other big race: Governor of Virginia.

PollTrack Electoral Projection: 303-Obama to 206-Romney

Posted Nov 07, 2012 at 12:31 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama is now projected to win in Virginia.

Another Close State: Virginia

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 8:35 PM by Maurice Berger

With Romney doing better than McCain in key GOP-leaning precincts and Obama matching his 2008 totals in Democratic precincts--not to mention a first-wave of exit polling that reports that race at 49% to 49%--Virginia promises to be close. We're keeping a watchful eye on these numbers. Like Florida, a must-win state for Romney but not for Obama.

A Slight Edge For Obama In Virginia?

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 7:48 PM by Maurice Berger

A sampling of several key precincts in Virginia suggest that President Obama maintains similar totals to his 2008 numbers--a possible ominous sign for Romney in a must-win state for him.

Is Virginia A Problem For Romney?

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 7:11 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has a question about Virginia: if the exit polls are right--and it is 49% to 49% in the state--how will Mitt Romney fair in states that are far less GOP-leaning, like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and, even, Ohio?

Edge for Obama in Virginia?

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 7:00 PM by Maurice Berger

Exit Polling in Virginia suggests a possible slight edge for President Obama, especially with regard to the racial makeup of the electorate in the state, attitudes about the administration, and the sharp drop in evangelical Christian voters, from 28% in 2008 to 21% now. Stay Tuned.

Ecomonic Perceptions More Positive in VA and OH

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 6:25 PM by Maurice Berger

In both VA (63%) and OH (66%), a majority of voters, according to exit polls, see the economy as better or the same. Does this help the president?

Exit Polls in VA and OH: Voters Are Evenly Divided In Their Opinion Of President

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 6:22 PM by Maurice Berger

Exit Polls: In both Virginia and Ohio voters are fairly evenly divided in their opinion of the Obama administration: In Ohio, 50% are dissatisfied or angry, 48% enthusiastic or satisfied. In Virginia, 50% are enthusiastic or satisfied, 48% dissatisfied or angry. If this hews closely to voter's presidential choice, the race may be close in both states.

Virginia: Drop Off In Evagelical Voters

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 5:56 PM by Maurice Berger

One Exit Poll tidbit in Virginia: In 2008, 28% of voters described themselves as evangelical Christians. In 2012, it's down to 21%. Since Obama won the state by a decent margin four years ago, this number suggests that his road to wining the state may have grown steeper. Stay tuned.

Today's Map: Virginia Moves from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic

Posted Nov 03, 2012 at 5:15 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has moved Virginia on Today's Map from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic, for an Obama Electoral College lead of 303 EVS to Romney's 206. Florida remains undecided on Today's Map at 29 EVs.

Today's Map: FL Moves From Leaning Republican to TCTC

Posted Oct 31, 2012 at 8:50 AM by Maurice Berger

With half of this weeks polls in Florida showing President Obama slightly head--and the PollTrack average now a virtual tie--the state moves on Today's Map from Leaning Republican to To-Close-To-Call. PollTrack notes that Mitt Romney's electoral math just got a lot harder. A close race in states like North Carolina and Virginia, and with Obama holding firm in Ohio, it appears that in the Electoral College, at least, the president's path to victory has grown modestly, but clearly, stronger. Stay tuned.

National Polling Average: Obama-47.7% and Romney-46.9%

Posted Oct 29, 2012 at 8:56 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's aggregate of the national polls in the presidential race as of 9:30 AM EDT this morning continues to suggest a slight improvement for the president as well as a modest degree of momentum. President Obama now stands at 47.7% and Mitt Romney at 46.9%--for a lead for Obama of +0.8%.

In the all-important race for Electoral Votes, the president maintains an advantage. Right now, PollTrack's aggregate poll numbers on Today's Map suggests a lead for Obama of 290 to Romney's 235. Virginia remains Too-Close-To-Call at 13 EVs.

Colorado Now Leaning Democratic

Posted Oct 26, 2012 at 4:17 PM by Maurice Berger

With a number of polls out over the past few days in Colorado, PollTrack moves the state from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic. Obama now leads in 290 Electoral Votes, Romney in 235, and 13 EVs (Virginia) remain Too-Close-To-Call (VA moved back from Leaning Democratic to TCTC late last night based on two days of polling suggesting that the race is virtually tied in the state).

National Average: Obama-47.6% to Romney 47.4%

Posted Oct 24, 2012 at 5:01 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's aggregate of the national polls in the presidential race continues to report a virtual tie. As of 5:00 PM EDT, President Obama now stands at 47.6% and Mitt Romney at 47.4%--for a nominal lead for Obama of +0.2%.

Today's Map reports an improved standing for President Obama in the race for Electoral Votes. With PollTrack's moving of Virginia from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic on Today's Map, Obama's count inched up to 294 EVs. Romney is holding steady at 235. Colorado remains the one state that is Too-Close-To-Call.



Virginia Moves From Too-Close-To-Call To Leaning Democratic

Posted Oct 24, 2012 at 1:36 PM by Maurice Berger

Based on analysis of recent voting patterns in the state and two new polls that report that President Obama is now leading in Virginia--Obama 50%, Romney 43%, according to Old Dominion University; Obama 49%, Romney 46% in a new (Newsmax/Zogby survey--PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic.

The Election Draws Close, With Obama Holding A Slight Advantage

Posted Oct 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM by Maurice Berger

With a new crop of polls in Ohio suggesting that President Obama is the slight favorite there--and polls in traditional Democratic states like Wisconsin and New Hampshire reporting a much closer race, but with a Democratic advantage--PollTrack believes that the fundamentals of the presidential race still point to an Obama victory. But with other swings states drawing very close, e.g. Colorado, Virginia, and Florida, where some polls now show Mitt Romney in the lead, PollTrack also believes that the race has grown, much close, volatile, and less predictable. In other words, the final month of Election 2012 begins with uncertainty rather than clarity.

The forthcoming debates--and the possibility of events in forthcoming news cycles helping or hurting either candidate--will determine whether the race will be won by Obama or Romney by a comfortable margin or a razor thin one. Still, the president continues to maintain a larger base of electoral votes than Romney. On the other hand, a wave of support towards the GOP candidate--with so many swing states now virtually tied--could tip the balance in his favor. Or, of course, the opposite might come to pass. Stay tuned, loyal readers. This is going to get interesting.

Florida Leaning GOP and Virginia Now Too-Close-To-Call on Today's Map

Posted Oct 10, 2012 at 8:39 AM by Maurice Berger

With polls consistently reporting that the race in Virginia and Florida are tightening considerably, PollTrack moves Virginia on Today's Map from Leaning Democratic to Too-Close-To-Call and Florida from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning GOP.

Tightening National Race?

Posted Oct 09, 2012 at 8:02 AM by Maurice Berger

Based on national polling out today--a full 5-days after the first presidential debate--PollTrack is seeing a discernible tightening of the race. We are waiting for additional polling in the swing states (due over the next few days) to better understand whether the tightening of the race is statistical noise (or simple fall out of the first debate) or a genuine drop in the president's support and/or an increase in Mitt Romney's support. PollTrack suspects at this point that the tightening may be real, and possibly durable. As such, tightening of swing state polls has resulted in substantive race ratings in Colorado, Iowa, Florida and Virginia, now rated as Too-Close-To-Call on Today's  Map--a dynamic swing from a week ago when all were rated Leaning Democratic.

Obama Holds A Whopping +50% Lead Among Hispanic Voters

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

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

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

Virginia Continues To Lean Democratic On Today's Map

Posted Oct 03, 2012 at 8:59 AM by Maurice Berger

Several polls in Virginia report that President Obama continues to lead his GOP challenger Mitt Romney, but by varying margins. One poll, by Roanoke College, for example, reports a significant Democratic advantage, Obama 47%, Romney 39. Another, by ARG, reports only a modest lead of +2%, 49% to 47% (though it has Obama near the 50% mark). PollTrack continues to rate the state on Today's Map Leaning Democratic

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.

Virginia Leaning Democratic

Posted Sep 21, 2012 at 8:20 AM by Maurice Berger

Within the pat few days, the following polls in the presidential race have been released for the state of Virginia:


Quinnipiac/CBS News/NYT: Obama 50%, Romney 46%

We Ask America: Obama 49%, Romney 46%

Fox News: Obama 50%, Romney 43%


With the president leading by as much as seven points--and hovering at or near the all-important 50% mark, the state appears to favor Obama. PollTrack continues to rate Virgina on Today's Map Leaning Democratic.

Obama Pulls Ahead In Three Swing States

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

Three new polls from Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist report that President Obama's lead over Mitt Romney in Ohio, Florida and Virginia has increased among likely voters. That the president is near or at the 50% mark in all three states suggests a problem for his GOP challenger.

Florida: Obama 49%, Romney 44%

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 43%

Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 44%

Virginia: Moves From Leaning Democratic To Too-Close-To-Call

Posted Sep 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by  Gravis Marketing in Virgina reports that Mitt Romney now leads President Obama by +5%--49% to 44%. As a result of this and other polling and historical models, PollTrack moves the state from Leaning Democratic to Too-Close-To-Call on Today's Map.

Obama Ahead In Wisconsin and Virginia, Romney In Colorado

Posted Aug 08, 2012 at 10:11 AM by Maurice Berger

According to the latest Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News polls in selected key battleground states, President Obama now holds leads (just below or above the 50% mark) in Wisconsin and Virginia, and Mitt Romney is ahead at at 50% in Colorado:

Wisconsin: Obama 51%, Romney 45%

Colorado: Romney 50%, Obama 45%

Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 45%

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

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

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

Obama Holds Modest Lead Across Four Swing States

Posted Jul 17, 2012 at 9:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Purple Strategies poll conducted across four battleground states -- Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia -- finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by modest +2%, 47% to 45%. An earlier poll in June rracked an identical +2% lead. 

Obama Holds Huge Lead Among Latinos in Swing States

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

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

Obama With Modest Lead in FL, OH, VA

Posted May 25, 2012 at 7:08 AM by Maurice Berger

Three new surveys by NBC/Marist report that President Obama maintains a narrow lead over Mitt Romney in three key  battleground states: Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

Florida: Obama 48%, Romney 44%

Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 42%

Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 44%

Obama Ahead In Virginia

Posted May 04, 2012 at 9:34 AM by Maurice Berger

In another dramatic indication of the changing demographics of the American electorate, a new poll by the Washington Post in Virginia reports that President Obama leads Mitt Romney by +7%--51% to 44%. The post analysis concludes that "Virginia voters are equally split on Obama's major initiatives, including his signature health care reform law, and remain deeply pessimistic about the way things are going in the country. But the president has a key advantage in his bid for reelection: The coalition of Virginians that propelled him to victory in 2008 -- young voters, suburban Washingtonians, women and African Americans -- is largely intact."

Purple Poll: Race Close In Four Key Swing States

Posted May 01, 2012 at 9:42 AM by Maurice Berger

Purple Poll surveys four key swing states and finds an extremely close presidential race: President Obama is ahead of Mitt Romney in Ohio 49% to 44%, and holds a slight lead in Virginia, 48% to 46%. The candidates are tied in Colorado, 47% to 47%. Romney holds a slight lead in Florida, 47% to 45%.

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.

VA GOP Govenor's Approval Sinks

Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Quinnipiac reports that GOP Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's approval rating now stands at 53% to 32%--a drop of 13 points in his approval number since last month. Political Wire notes that "the change is almost entirely the result of a shift by women that occurred during the state legislature's debate over a new law that requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound examination."

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."

More Good News For the President

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

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

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

Romney 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: 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."

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."

Election 2009: Did Obama's Base Hold?

Posted Nov 05, 2009 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

Another problem for the Democrats in Tuesday's election: parts of the Obama coalition--responsible for his easy victory last year--did not hold. As MSNBC notes: "Obama’s Base Is No Longer Fired Up And Ready To Go . . . According to the exit polls, just 10% of the voters in Virginia were under the age of 30, down from 21% last year. What’s more, McDonnell won 18-29 year olds, 54%-44%. Also in Virginia yesterday, African Americans made up 16% of the vote, down from 20% last year. And then there’s this: 51% of yesterday’s voters in Virginia said they voted for McCain, while just 43% said they voted for Obama. Folks, Obama won this state last year by a nearly 53%-46% margin."

Some Perspective On The National Implications Of NY-20

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 5:30 AM by Maurice Berger

The esteemed polytical anaylast Charlie Cook--one of the very best in the business--cautions political observers to be cautious about the results of today special election in New York's 20th Congressional District to fill the seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand: “Assuming that the margin in this upstate contest to fill the seat of newly-appointed Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is three or four points or less, my advice is to respond ‘that’s nice,’ then yawn, and walk away… What is more important is if there is a uniform direction to several odd-year elections. If, for example, Republicans were to win tonight and knock off Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey in November, and pick up the open governor seat in Virginia, then it is fair to say that they will have exorcised the demons of 2006 and 2008 . . . If Democrats hold NY-20 as well as New Jersey and Virginia, they can enter 2010 knowing that even if the wind isn’t at their backs, there also isn’t a headwind.” PollTrack agrees with Cook. Is is doubtful that the outcome of NY-20 will serve as a bellwether. Rather it could hint at an impending problem for one of the national parties, at best.

States NOT Called: Could Just Be Unavailable Data

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 11:05 AM by Maurice Berger

Be Careful not to read too much into the states NOT called: GA, IN, SC, VA. They may be close . . . or actual precinct numbers may not be available to back up exit poll data.

Waiting For The First State Closings . . .

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 10:18 AM by Maurice Berger

Nothing to report for the next hour or so. At 7:00 we will have three crucial poll closings (and potential deal breaker for McCain): Georgia, Virginia and Indiana.

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"

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.

Today's Map: Virginia Moves From "Leaning Democrat" to "Too Close To Call"

Posted Nov 02, 2008 at 8:57 AM by Maurice Berger

Obama's aggregate lead in Virginia has dropped this afternoon to under + 4% to 3.8%. Additionally, Survey USA reports signs of momentum for McCain in the state: "Compared to [our] poll 1 week ago, McCain is up 3, Obama is down 2. Among voters age 35 to 49, McCain leads today for the first time in 7 weeks. Immediately after the GOP convention, McCain led by 22 points among white Virginians. That narrowed to a 9-point McCain lead when the stock market fell. Now, at the wire, McCain is back up to a 17 point advantage among whites. In the Shenandoah, McCain moves ahead of Obama. In the DC suburbs, McCain slices into Obama's lead." PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning Democrat" to "Too Close To Call."

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.

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.

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.

Two Weeks Out: The Fundamentals Favor Obama

Posted Oct 20, 2008 at 2:35 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama leading in all of the states won by John Kerry in 2004--and McCain behind or struggling in a number won by George W. Bush--the fundamentals of the election still favor the Democrat. Perhaps the most positive sign for Obama is the stability of the national numbers over the cycle. Although there is evidence that these numbers are drawing closer (PT's polling average is inching below the 5% mark), the baseline number for each candidate has remained the same for all but a few weeks in September: Obama in the upper forties, McCain in the mid 40s. Only Obama has been able to register above the 50% mark for more than a few days (indeed, all of the daily trackers have placed him at or above 50% at some point during the past three weeks). The durability of these numbers suggests an underlying dynamic that tilts decidedly blue at this point. Having said this, even a durable and longstanding wave of support can break down in the waning days of an election. Indeed, Al Gore--facing an Republican opponent who rode a yearlong wave of support--made up a 10% deficit in the final month of the 2000 campaign. The other issue (all too relevant to 2000): the popular vote may not reflect McCain's ultimate strength on the electoral map. As Obama wracks up enormous leads in many of the blue states (including many of the blue battlegrounds such as Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan)--far out-pacing either Gore or Kerry--his leads in a number of battlegrounds are tenuous at best. McCain has drawn Ohio down to a tie. His numbers are perking up in West Virginia and Florida. Indeed, if McCain can solidify or win back support in Republican leading states--in other words if the electoral map returns to its traditional divisions--the election could come down to two states with dramatic voter registration shifts in recent years: Colorado and Virginia, both traditionally Republican but increasingly hospitable to Democrats. With Obama ahead in the three 2000/2004 "swing" states (New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Iowa swung between the two parties in the last two close elections), however, McCain's route to victory is nevertheless far narrower and more difficult than his opponent.

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.

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

Posted Oct 15, 2008 at 8:41 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama above the 50% mark in Virginia--and holding an average lead of 8.6%--PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on Today's Map.

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.

Tomorrow's Map: Virginia Moves From "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat"

Posted Oct 09, 2008 at 9:24 AM by Maurice Berger

With recent polls continuing to show gains by Obama in Virginia, PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on Tomorrow's Map.

Obama Outspending McCain 3 to 1 In Swing States

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

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

Virginia: Another Red Flag For McCain

Posted Sep 30, 2008 at 1:09 AM by Maurice Berger

In another sign that McCain may be having trouble holding onto to traditional Republican territory, the PollTrack average for Virginia now shows Obama with a tiny lead of +1.4%. Though very small, the Democrat's advantage means something in a state that has voted Republican in every presidential cycle since 1964 (Lyndon Johnson won the state that year in an electoral landslide against Republican Barry Goldwater).

Dueling Poll Results: Are The Voters or The Polls in Flux?

Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 7:43 AM by Maurice Berger

With Survey USA showing Obama up by 4% in Virginia and Siena reporting today that the Democrat's once commanding lead in New York has shrunk to 5%, it's time to take a deep breath. Both polls contradict most other surveys in the two states. PollTrack suspects that statistical irregularities, conflicting models, and margins of error are only part of the problem. Also in play: voter attitudes are in flux. After Labor Day the electorate traditionally begins to pay attention. Yet, never before have voters been bombarded with more and more varied news sources--from broadcast TV and cable news and newspapers to myriad political and news websites and news magazines. Like the polls, voter sentiment itself may be volatile because news cycles now turn over in a matters of hours rather than days or even weeks.

Obama's 50-State Strategy: Is It Working?

Posted Sep 12, 2008 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack observes that the so-called 50-state strategy of the Obama campaign--the idea that the electoral map can be realigned to flip into the Democratic column traditional Republican strongholds such Alaska, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia--may not be working. With the Republican party unified--and Sarah Palin firing up the party's most faithful voters--most of these states are now out of reach. Over the past week, McCain's numbers are improved dramatically in these states, in some cases tilting them into the "Safe" column (indeed all of the above states, save VA, where McCain has moved into a tiny lead, are growing redder). Is the Obama campaign squandering its resources in states it cannot win, thus diluting its power in states that have traditionally been close but winnable for the Democrats?

The good news for Obama--but one that brings the 50-state strategy into question--is that the candidate is holding his own in nearly all of the states that John Kerry won in 2004, leading in many by significant margins. Still, in order to reach the magic number of 270, Obama will need to pick off a few states that either are inevitably Republican (but have shifting demographics that favor the Democrats, like VA, which has gone red in every presidential cycle since 1964) or have a demographic that gives the Dems a fighting chance to flip the state (CO, NV, NM, FL). Will competing in states that are not winnable make it more difficult for the Obama campaign to pick off states that are?

How Close is Close?

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

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

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

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