Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Corrected: Latest from Votecastr: Eight for Eight Clinton

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 6:05 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Votecastr, which calculates approximate votes tallies on an ongoing basis through election day, Clinton is leading in eight out of eight key battleground states:

Florida: Clinton 49% Trump 45%

Iowa: Clinton 47% Trump 46% 

Colorado: Clinton 47% Trump 42%

Nevada: Clinton 47% Trump 44%

New Hampshire: Clinton 47% Trump 45%

Ohio: Clinton 46% Trump 45%

Pennsylvania: Clinton 48% Trump 45%

Wisconsin: Clinton 49% Trump 42%

Exit polling is provided by Votecastr (and Edison, which is used by all other media outlets). Their tally updates all day as voting patterns change. The accuracy of their novel methodology is, of course, yet to be proved.

Latest from Votecastr

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 4:43 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Votecastr, which calculates approximate votes tallies on an ongoing basis through election day, Clinton is leading infive  out of seven key battleground states. Over the past few houses, their tallies have shown the race tightening somewhat. It is also unclear whether they have fixed their calculation problem to include all three voter tiers--early, pre-election polling, and election day voting:

Florida: Clinton 48% Trump 45% D+3

Iowa: Trump 46% Clinton 45% R+1

Colorado: Clinton 46% Trump 43% D+3

Nevada: Clinton 46% Trump 45% D+1

Ohio: Clinton 46% Trump 45% R+1

Pennsylvania: Clinton 48% Trump 45% D+3

Wisconsin: Clinton 48% Trump 43% D+5

These numbers are based only on election day voting numbers. So we'll need to wait until they're reconciled with early vote analysis and pre-election polling. Exit polling is provided by Votecastr (and Edison, which is used by all other media outlets). Their tally updates all day as voting patterns change. The accuracy of their novel methodology is, of course, yet to be proved. And complete tallys are not, as yet, available.

CORRECTED: Clinton Leading in Seven of Eight Battlegrounds?

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 2:36 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Votecastr, which calculates approximate votes tallies on an ongoing basis through election day, Clinton is leading in seven out of eight key battleground states:

Florida: Clinton 49% Trump 45%

Iowa: Trump 46% Clinton 45%

Colorado: Clinton 47% Trump 42%

Nevada: Clinton 47% Trump 44%

New Hampshire: Clinton 47% Trump 43%

Ohio: Clinton 46% Trump 45%

Pennsylvania: Clinton 48% Trump 44%

Wisconsin: Clinton 49% Trump 43%

This numbers are based only on election day voting numbers. So we'll need to wait until they're reconciled with early vote analysis and pre-election polling. Exit polling is provided by Votecastr (and Edison, which is used by all other media outlets). Their tally updates all day as voting patterns change. The accuracy of their novel methodology is, of course, yet to be proved. And complete tallys are not, as yet, available.

Wisconsin Final Prediction: GOP Primary

Posted Apr 05, 2016 at 10:29 AM by Maurice Berger

Looking at last minute polling, PollTrack predicts that Ted Cruz will prevail in the Wisconsin GOP Primary.

Wisconsin Final Prediction: Democratic Primary

Posted Apr 05, 2016 at 10:27 AM by Maurice Berger

Looking at last minute polling, PollTrack now gives the edge in a close race in the Wisconsin Democratic primary to Bernie Sanders.

Wisconsin: Momentum With Hillary?

Posted Apr 04, 2016 at 11:36 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack now rates the Democratic primary in Wisconsin as very close, but with the momentum now perhaps with Hillary Clinton.

Wisconsin Democratic Presidential Primary

Posted Apr 04, 2016 at 12:36 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack now rates the Democratic primary in Wisconsin a toss-up, with perhaps a very slight edge to Bernie Sanders.

Cruz Holding Steady In Wisconsin Primary

Posted Apr 04, 2016 at 12:34 PM by Maurice Berger

With just a day to go, it it appears the Ted Cruz is holding onto his lead in Wisconsin. PollTrack confirms its prediction that Cruz will prevail in the state over Donald Trump (now in second place) and John Kasich.

Wisconsin GOP Primary: Prediction

Posted Apr 01, 2016 at 9:50 AM by Maurice Berger

Here is PollTrack's prediction for the up coming Wisconsin GOP Primary:

1. Ted Cruz WINNER

2. Donald Trump

3. John Kasich

Wisconsin Democratic Primary: Prediction

Posted Apr 01, 2016 at 9:49 AM by Maurice Berger

Here is PollTrack's prediction for the up coming Wisconsin Democratic Primary:

1. Bernie Sanders WINNER

2. Hillary Clinton

WI Gov: Walker In Tight Reelection Race

Posted Aug 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Rasmussen in Wisconsin reports that incumbent GOP Gov. Scott Walker is now virtually deadlocked in his reelection race Democratic challenger Mary Burke, 48% to 47%.


WI Governor: Incumbent Republican Ahead

Posted Apr 03, 2014 at 9:27 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a poll by new Marquette Law School in Wisconsin, incumbent GOP Gov. Scott Walker leads Democratic challenger Mary Burke in the race for governor, 48% to 41%.

WI Governor: Walker Ahead

Posted Mar 26, 2014 at 7:02 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Gravis Marketing in Wisconsin reports that incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker leads Democraticchallenger Mary Burke in the race for governor, 49% to 44%.

Will Nate Silver's Predictions Influence Elections

Posted Feb 26, 2013 at 8:36 AM by Maurice Berger

In an interview withStudent Life, Nate Silver suggests that he might end his election forecasting after the 2014 or 2016 elections should his projections "actually influence the elections' outcome." Silver continues: "The polls can certainly affect elections at times. I hope people don't take the forecasts too seriously. You'd rather have an experiment where you record it off from the actual voters, in a sense, but we'll see. If it gets really weird in 2014, in 2016, then maybe I'll stop doing it. I don't want to influence the democratic process in a negative way."

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."

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).

Why Michigan Matters

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 9:09 PM by Maurice Berger

That Michigan wall called quickly--suggesting a substantial lead in the state for Obama--matters. Given the voting pattern of neighboring states, each reflective of a regional wave of demographics, voting patterns, and history, a big win in Michigan bodes well for Obama in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and even, to an extent, Ohio. This is the first sign that the president's "Midwest firewall" may, in fact, be holding.

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.

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.

PollTrack: Wisconsin Not In Play

Posted Sep 20, 2012 at 1:00 AM by Maurice Berger

Two just released polls in Wisconsin--Quinnipiac/CBS News/NYT which shows the race at Obama 51%, Romney 45% and Marquette Law School, with Obama 54%, Romney at 40%--suggest that recent reports that the state is in play may have been exaggerated. Based on recent polling data, demographics, and historical models, PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from Too-Close-To-Call to Leaning Democratic. On Tomorrow's Map, the state moves from Leaning Democratic to Democratic.

A Bounce For Romney In Wisconsin?

Posted Aug 23, 2012 at 9:54 AM by Maurice Berger

The one possible vice-presidential bounce for Mitt Romney may be evident in Rep. Paul Ryan's home state of Wisconsin. A new Marquette Law School poll reports that President Obama leads Mitt in Wisconsin by three points, 49% to 46%. An earlier poll by Marquette had the president up by +5%. Several other polls in the state over the past week report a similar improvement in Romney's numbers. PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from leaning Democratic to Too-Close-To-Call.

Wisconsin: Still Leans Democratic

Posted Aug 20, 2012 at 8:57 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite the addition of Wisconsin US Rep. Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket, A new CNN/Opinion Research survey in Wisconsin shows President Obama still leading Mitt Romney, 49% to 45%. PollTrack rates the rate on Today's Map Leaning Democratic.

Wisconsin vs Ohio: Another Note About Paul Ryan

Posted Aug 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM by Maurice Berger

Some commentators have pointed out that the selection of Paul Ryan as Romney's VP candidate may help the GOP team win Wisconsin. While this may be true, the current polling in the state suggests that Ryan may indeed give Romney a modest boost in the state, but not enough to hand the state to the Republicans. Stay tuned to see if future polling suggests a change in this dynamic.

PollTrack has another observation, however: Romney can win election 2012 without Wisconsin (Bush won both the 2000 and 2004 cycles without the state). But is it almost inconceivable according to PollTrack's calculation, that Romney-Ryan can emerge victorious without Ohio (not Republican in modern times has won the presidency without it). With this in mind, would Rob Portman have been a better choice for the Romney campaign  political figure who remains very popular in his home state?

 

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 Ahead In Wisconsin

Posted Jul 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll by Public Policy Polling in Wisconsin finds President Obama now holds a modest +6% lead over Mitt Romney by six points, 50% to 44%. More important for the president: he is at the 50% mark, suggesting that the state may be difficult for the GOP this year (as it has been in the past seven presidential elections).

Obama Ahead In Wisconsin

Posted Jun 29, 2012 at 2:48 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Marquette Law School in Wisconsin reports that President Obama is leading Mitt Romney by +6%, 49% to 43%.

Romney Leading In Wisconsin?

Posted Jun 20, 2012 at 9:21 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Rasmussen in Wisconsin reports that Mitt Romney leads President Obama, 47% to 44%. All other recent polls in the state continue to report leads for President Obama in the traditionally blue state, ranging from slight to comfortable.

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.

Romney Ahead In Wisconsin Primary

Posted Apr 02, 2012 at 2:04 AM by Maurice Berger

Mitt Romney holds a significant lead over Rick Santorumin tomorrow's Wisconsin GOP primary according to a new Rasmussen survey. The poll reports that Romney leads Santorum, 44% to 34%, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each at 7%.

Romney Way Up In Wisconsin

Posted Mar 27, 2012 at 2:40 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Rasmussen in Wisconsin finds Mitt Romney with a huge lead over Rick Santorum in the 3 April Republican presidential primary, 46% to 33%, followed by Ron Paul at 8% and Newt Gingrich at 7%.

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: 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."

Wisonsin US Senate 2012: Russ Feingold To The Rescue?

Posted May 26, 2011 at 1:21 AM by Maurice Berger

Can Wisconsin Democrats save the US Senate seat being vacated in 2012 with the retirement of Herb Kohl? A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin suggests that one strong Democratic candidate may be former US Sen. Russ Feingold, defeated in late year's GOP wipe-out. In hypothetical match ups, Feingold leads Tommy Thompson (R), 52% to 42%, Mark Neumann (R), 53% to 41%, JB Van Hollen (R), 53% to 38%, and Jeff Fitzgerald (R), 54% to 39%.

Americans Support Unions Over GOP Governors

Posted Apr 04, 2011 at 12:39 AM by Maurice Berger

By and large, Americans support unions in their present-day squabbles with Republican governors. A new Gallup poll reports that 48% of Americans "agree more with the unions in state disputes over collective bargaining for public employees, while 39% agree more with the governors."

Strong National Opposition To Wisconsin's Collective Bargaining Initiative

Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

Both within the state of Wisconsin--and now, Gallup confirms, in the nation at large--much opposition exists towards the governor's union busting plans. A just released USA Today/Gallup poll reports  strong public opposition to laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles: 61% would oppose a law in their state similar; 33% who would favor such a law.

Today's Map: MN, MI, WI, ME All Move To "Safe Democrat"

Posted Oct 23, 2008 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

With polling averages around the +10% mark and recent polling suggesting a surge for Obama in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Maine, PollTrack moves all four states from "Leaning" to "Safe Democrat."

Is McCain Giving Up On New Hampshire and Wisconsin?

Posted Oct 21, 2008 at 6:51 AM by Maurice Berger

The political world is buzzing with another rumor--just up on ABC News--about McCain's on-the-ground operation: that his campaign is giving up on New Hampshire and Wisconsin. If this is true--and so far, such reports have not been entirely accurate--then the Republican playing field has narrowed once again, and perilously for McCain. Both states were won by John Kerry in 2004. Obama now leads in both, in the latter by more than +10% according to PollTrack's average. If McCain withdraws from the two states, he is also effectively withdrawing to the very limited boundaries of the 2004 political map. He now must win nearly all of Bush's states to beat Obama--a difficult proposition since the Democrat leads by a healthy margin in several, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Iowa, and by a slight advantage in a few others, including North Carolina, Nevada, and Missouri.

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.

Tomorrow's Map: Wisconsin Moves From "Leaning" To "Safe Democrat"

Posted Oct 14, 2008 at 9:10 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's lead grazing the +10% mark in Wisconsin, PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning" To "Safe Democrat" on Tomorrow'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: Wisconsin Moves From "Too Close" To "Leaning Democrat"

Posted Oct 02, 2008 at 9:13 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama holding onto a +5% lead in Wisconsin, PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on Tomorrow's Map.

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

Posted Sep 17, 2008 at 8:46 AM by Maurice Berger

Due to the dramatic narrowing of the polls in Wisconsin and the extreme closeness of the margins of victory in the last two presidential cycles, PollTrack moves the state on Today's Map from "Leaning Democratic" to "Too Close To Call"

Can Either Candidate Break The Tie?

Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

Although the Republican base is fired up and McCain claims a  significant lead among independents, Democratic party identification and voter enthusiasm is also way up (Rasmussen gives the Democrats a 5% advantage). Thus, neither candidate is walking away with the election at this point. Even a cursory glance at the electoral map suggests conditions far similar to the razor close count of 2000 and not 1988 or 1992, where one party gained lasting momentum and was able to pick off enough swing states to capture a solid electoral majority. If Obama were poised to do this, he would need to win a bunch of states that have gone Republican in the last two cycles but were also won by Bill Clinton in 1992 and/or 1996: Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana, Georgia, Florida. All these states are now moving solidly into the Republican column. Similarly, McCain is behind in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Michigan (though by smaller margins than Obama in TN, KY, MN, GA, WV), states he would need for a big win.

Unless dramatic on-the-ground events (perhaps spurred by this weekend's Wall Street meltdown) or a striking under-performance or major league blooper in the debates throws off one of the candidates, it's conceivable that the election will remain close to the very end. Then it will be up to voter enthusiasm and turnout to propel one or the other over the victory line.

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.

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.