Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

FINAL Daily Tracking Poll Average: Obama, +6.1%, 51.6% to 45.5%

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 4:29 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's FINAL election day daily tracking poll average puts Obama in the lead by +6.1%--51.6% to 45.5%. One poll indicates that undecided voters have moved sharply in McCain's direction (GWU/Battleground-Tarrance model), another indicates a big shift of undecided and persuadable voters for Obama (IBD/TIPP). One thing to consider: with Obama racking up enormous margins in many of the nation's most populous states (CA, NY, IL, MA, for example), leads as high as +25% or more, as well as many of the Kerry-blue states--and McCain taking a number of red states by very modest margins--this final tracking number may not reflect the relative closeness in a number of the remaining swing and battleground states.

Daily Tracking Average: Obama Bumps Up An Additional +1.6%

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 8:48 AM by Maurice Berger

Today's daily tracking poll average indicates a comfortable national aggregate lead of +6.6% for the Democrat, 50.6% to 44%. Still, with Obama up as much as +25% in states with some of the largest populations--such as CA, NY, MA, IL, MI--this national number may not reflect the relativeness closeness of the race in several key battleground states, including OH, NC, and FL. Much of today's polling continues to indicate an unusually large bloc of undecided or still persuadable voters. IBD/TIPP puts the figure at an amazing 9.5% undecided. A just issued CBS News periodic poll indicates a 6% undecided block. And Rasmussen still indicates that 10% of voters remain uncertain, lean to one candidate, or intend to vote for a third party candidate. The large undecided bloc that continues to register in some polls is unusually high the day before a national cycle, particularly one with as much voter enthusiasm as this one. Where will these voters wind up, if and when they vote?


Final Daily Tracking Average and Final TOMORROW'S MAP Will Be Issued Tomorrow Morning

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 2:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Since a number of pollsters will be gathering and analyzing samples throughout today (and well into the evening) our final Daily Tracking Poll Average and final Tomorrow's Map will be issued tomorrow morning, on Election Day.

Daily Tracking Poll Average: National Average Tightens Overnight

Posted Nov 02, 2008 at 5:31 AM by Maurice Berger

This afternoon, four of five tracking polls out today report that the race has tightening over the past 24 hours (except for the erratic Zobgy survey). Today's PollTrack daily tracking poll average indicates that Obama's lead is down -1.3% from yesterday to 49.8% to 44.8%, for an aggregate advantage of +5% DEM. One poll, TIPP, the most accurate in 2004, reports a dramatic tightening of the race (Obama by +2%, 47% to 45%): "The race tightened again Sunday as independents who'd been leaning to Obama shifted to McCain to leave that key group a toss-up. McCain also pulled even in the Midwest, moved back into the lead with men, padded his gains among Protestants and Catholics, and is favored for the first time by high school graduates." One other thing to consider, with Obama's national lead down to 5%--and his lead in high-population Kerry-blue states such as NY, IL, CA, MA, and NJ ballooning to 15-25% in most--the shrinking national total might also suggest that the races in more highly competitive battleground states may be drawing closer. Stay tuned.

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. 

Daily Tacking Poll Average: Obama Now Up +5.7%

Posted Oct 31, 2008 at 7:06 AM by Maurice Berger

For the second day, Obama's daily tracking poll national average lead has inched upward. As of today, has holds a +5.7% advantage, 48.2% to 43.8%. Interestingly, the IBD/TIPP tracking survey (the most accurate national pollster in 2004) this afternoon reports that a whopping 13% of independent voters still say they are undecided, a scant four days before the election. This, combined with the large number of "persuadable" voters that register in many of these surveys, suggests a bit of volatility in the race.

Uptick For Obama In Today's PollTrack Daily Tracker Average

Posted Oct 30, 2008 at 8:08 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's average of today's daily tracker shows improvement for Obama over yesterday's results. He now leads 49.3% to 44.3%, for an aggregate advantage of +5.0%, a full +1% gain in 24 hours.

Daily Tracking Average: Obama's Lead Narrows, Yet Again

Posted Oct 29, 2008 at 8:44 AM by Maurice Berger

With four out of six daily tracking polls reporting only a +3% national lead for Obama (Gallup-traditional, IBD/TIPP, Rasmussen, and GWU/Battleground) and two others indicating a narrowing of the Democrat's lead over the past week, Obama's daily tracking poll average advantage has fallen to +4% DEM, 48.8% to 44.8%. This is the fourth straight day of decline for Obama and a three-point drop from the +7% lead reported on Saturday. There seems to be some evidence that undecided and persuadable voters are breaking, at least modestly, for McCain. Republican party sources are also reporting that some key statewide races are tightening as well. In Florida, where Obama had moved into a slight lead , tracking polls, according to party sources, are indicating a spike in support for McCain, who has moved into a 3-5% lead in the state. PollTrack will be watching these numbers very closely over the next few days.

Daily Tracking Poll Average: Some Erosion of Obama's National Lead

Posted Oct 28, 2008 at 8:48 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's daily tracking average lead jumping to +7% four days ago, it is noteworthy that today's tracker average indicates a further narrowing of the race (a trend that started on Sunday). Obama now leads McCain 49.3% to 45.0%, for an overall average of +4.3% DEM. (Gallup's traditional model for likely voters shows the race nearly tied, with Obama ahead, 49% to 47%.) PollTrack will keep a close eye on these numbers over the next few days.

Daily Tracking Poll Average: The Race Is Narrowing A Bit

Posted Oct 27, 2008 at 8:42 AM by Maurice Berger

With one poll showing Obama's lead slipping to 2.8% (IBD/TIPP, the most accurate pollster in 2004), and all of the other daily trackers reporting a tightening of the race to one degree or another, PollTrack wonders if the race could get closer before next Tuesday. Today's numbers favor Obama, 49.5% to 44.7%, for a lead of 4.8%. Obama's average lead just two days ago was 7.0%.

The Persuadables: Still A Factor

Posted Oct 27, 2008 at 2:25 AM by Maurice Berger

A St. Cloud State University poll released yesterday in Minnesota shows the presidential race tight, with Obama ahead--42% to 37%. (The poll, significantly, also includes cell phone users.) Yesterday's national tracking poll by IBD/TIPP also shows Obama ahead by a modest margin, 47% to 43%. While both polls may spell good news for Obama, both nationally and in an important battleground, they contain one potential red flag for the Democrat and sliver of opportunity for McCain: the large bloc of voters who still say they could change their minds or are undecided. Indeed, in polls that include leaners--voters who favor one candidate or another but say they're not sure--Obama tends to come out ahead nationally and in a number of the battleground states. Take these voters out of the mix by limiting the results to voters who are virtually certain of their choice: Obama leads in most of these surveys as well, but with enough fluidity among the remaining bloc of voters to really mix things up. Take this morning's Rasmussen's daily tracker. Among "certain" respondents, Obama leads, 46% to 41%. This result still leaves a large block that is either leaning, undecided or not entirely certain of their choice. With an enthusiasm level that greatly favors Obama, it's not surprising that he continues to hold an advantage among certain voters who are most committed to their choice. But an appreciable shift among the voters who remain could skew the outcome of election 2008. If those who are now leaning or wavering break for Obama by a large margin, he has the potential of a blow out. If these voters breat even, Obama will win by a modest margin. If they break dramatically for McCain, a much closer race. While Obama's lead in many of the swing states may make it very difficult for the Republican to reach the magic number of 270 (255 Electoral votes are rated "Safe Democrat," for now, on PollTrack's map), a truly historic, last-minute shift of these undecided and persuadable voters could change the dynamics of the race in its final week.

Daily Tracking Average: Obama's Lead Narrows Slightly

Posted Oct 26, 2008 at 8:56 AM by Maurice Berger

The PollTrack average of today daily tracking comes gives Obama a +5.8% lead, 49.5% to 43.8%. This figure represents a +1.2% drop for the Democrat from yesterday's numbers. Several individual polls suggest a tightening; a few others a slight uptick for Obama.

Daily Tracking Poll Average: Obama Now Up +7%

Posted Oct 25, 2008 at 7:42 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's average of today's daily trackers indicates a +1% jump for Obama. The Democrat now leads, 50% to 43%, +7.0% DEM. Excluding the erratic Zogby survey, Obama's lead drops slightly to +6.5%. GWU/Battleground, which has shown the race close in recent days, does not release polling on Saturday and Sunday.

Daily Tracking Poll Average: Uptick For Obama

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 9:25 AM by Maurice Berger

With all of today's daily tracking polls indicating a slight uptick in Obama's numbers (save the erratic Zogby survey), the Democrat now has a +5.9% average lead in PollTrack's daily calculation, 49.6% to 43.6%. (Without Zogby, Obama's lead drops to 5.1%.)

Daily Trackers: Obama at +5.5%, But With Odd Anomalies

Posted Oct 23, 2008 at 7:27 AM by Maurice Berger

Is John McCain gaining traction in the waning days of election 2008? Yesterday, AP/GfK and GWU/Battleground, contradicting most other polling, showed the race drawing to a virtual tie, with Obama leading by 1% and 2% respectively. Today's PT average of the Daily trackers gives Obama a +5.5% lead, 49.3% to 43.8% (the same as yesterday. If we drop out the Zogby survey--polling that has been erratic and out of sync with most other organizations--Obama's lead drops to 4.2%, 48.8% to 44.6%. Odder still, are the results of the IBD/TIPP daily tracking poll (worthy of notice, because TIPP was the most accurate pollster in 2004, predicting the outcome within a fraction of a percentage point): they show the race virtually dead even nationally. IBD/TIPP writes: "McCain has cut into Obama's lead for a second day and is now just 1.1 points behind. The spread was 3.7 Wednesday and 6.0 Tuesday. The Republican is making headway with middle- and working- class voters, and has surged 10 points in two days among those earning between $30,000 and $75,000. He has also gone from an 11-point deficit to a 9-point lead among Catholics."

Daily Trackers: It's Still Only A 5% Race

Posted Oct 22, 2008 at 6:16 AM by Maurice Berger

Today's PollTrack average of the daily tracking polls shows a slight uptick for Obama: 49.1% to 43.6%, +5.5%. What is interesting about this averaging is that the distance between McCain and Obama narrows even more when the Zogby survey results--which have been extremely erratic over the past few weeks--are dropped: 48.5 % to  44%, giving Obama an aggregate lead of 4.5%. Of the six polls in our sample, five show the race stable (Rasmussen) or tightening slightly (Gallup, Hotline/FD, IBD/TIPP) and one rates it a virtual tie (GWU/Battleground), with Obama up by +2%, 49% to 47%. Combined with the high number of still persuadable voters, the race remains somewhat competitive, with the decided edge going to Obama. The periodic surveys are equally inconclusive, with Obama registering as little as a 1% lead (Associated Press/GfK) to as much as a +10% lead, NBC News/Wall Street Journal. The probable  reason for this variation: the race remains close among voters who are certain of their choice. The more polls include "leaners," the greater benefit to Obama, who now leads with persuadable voters (who say they may still change their minds).

Daily Tracking Polls: Obama Inching Up Again

Posted Oct 21, 2008 at 9:09 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's average of today's daily tracking polls suggests that Obama's lead is once again expanding: Obama 49.2%/McCain 44.0%,  +5.2% DEM. This represents a slight uptick of +3% from yesterday.

Daily Trackers: Tiny Uptick For Obama

Posted Oct 20, 2008 at 8:32 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's average of today's daily tracking polls indicates a tiny tenth of a percentage point uptick for the Democrat: Obama 48.8% McCain 43.9% +4.9% DEM.

Daily Trackers: A Tiny Narrowing Once Again

Posted Oct 19, 2008 at 8:35 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's average of today's daily tracking polls indicates a tiny narrowing from yesterday: Obama-48.6% to McCain 43.8%, for a Democratic lead of +4.8%.

"Persuadables": Why So Many At This Point?

Posted Oct 19, 2008 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

While Obama enjoys a national lead of around +5%, PollTrack notes a trend inside many of the national (and statewide) polls: an unusually high number of uncertain or persuadable voters. Rasmussen, yesterday, reported an Obama lead of +5%, at the PT national daily tracking average. But when voters were pressed as to the certainty of their vote, the race breaks down thusly: "Forty-four percent (44%) of voters are certain they will vote for Obama and not change their mind. Forty percent (40%) say the same about McCain. Thirteen percent (13%) have a preference for once candidate or the other but still say they might change their mind." At this point in a presidential cycle, the pool of persuadable voters usually winnows down to single digits. Why the uncertainty? And when will these voters decide? Indeed, an appreciable shift in one direction or another could still alter the dynamics of the race, though it is important to note that the Democrat's lead among "certain" voters mirrors his +5% national advantage among likely voters, giving him a significant head start with leaners who also now tilt slightly in his direction.

Daily Trackers: Slight Narrowing

Posted Oct 18, 2008 at 9:21 AM by Maurice Berger

With two polls showing the race stable, one showing it narrowing a few points, and one expanding a few points, the trackers are all over the place. PollTrack's average of these daily tracking polls indicates a slight narrowing from yesterday: Obama-48.6% to McCain 43.6%, for a Democratic lead of +5%.

Daily Trackers: Is The Race Getting Tighter?

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 7:36 AM by Maurice Berger

Today's PollTrack average of the daily trackers indicates a slight uptick for the Democrat. Obama now leads McCain by 48.8% to 43.3%, a lead of 5.5%. One survey in the lot, however, GW/Battleground appears to be an outlier, indicating a greatly expanded Obama lead, while the other trackers all show a narrowing or stable race. If the GW/Battleground is omitted from the average, Obama's lead drops to +4%--48.8% to 44.6%. Furthermore, an AP/Yahoo poll to be released today shows the race a virtual tie, with Obama leading by scant +2% (among registered voters), 42% to 40% (with an enormous block of voters still undecided or wavering; Obama's lead jumps to 5% among "Likely Voters"). Gallup's "traditional" method also calls it a two point race (Obama, 49% to 47%), while its "expanded" tally gives the Democrat a +6% advantage.

Daily Tracking Poll Average Narrows Again

Posted Oct 16, 2008 at 9:15 AM by Maurice Berger

Yesterday, our daily tracking poll average reported a lead of 5.2% for Obama. Today, this lead has narrowed once again: Obama 48.7% to McCain 44.0%, up +4.7% DEM. Will last night's debate impact on McCain's very modest but steady momentum in the daily trackers? (A week ago, the Democrat's lead was +7.3%--2.6% higher than today.)

Voters Preoocupied With The Faltering Economy

Posted Oct 16, 2008 at 6:46 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another indication of the potential for the economy to impact on this election, a just released USA Today/Gallup poll finds "66% of Americans saying the events of the last month have harmed their own financial situations, and an even more ominous 70% thinking the events of the past two weeks will hurt them financially in the long run." Yet, with a number of newly released tracking polls suggesting that the race may be tightening--Gallup's own tracker suggests a virtual tie using its traditional likely voter model--Obama 49% to McCain 47%--it is unclear how the bad economic news will ultimately influence the election.

Daily Trackers Narrow Once Again: Obama 48.7% McCain 43.5%

Posted Oct 15, 2008 at 9:54 AM by Maurice Berger

Obama's lead in today's daily tracking poll average has narrowed once again from 6.3% yesterday to 5.2%--48.7% to 43.5%--a difference of more than a percentage point (and 2.1% down from his high of a week ago). This is the third straight day of narrowing in the daily trackers.

Tonight's Debate: Trying To Convince The "Persuadables"

Posted Oct 15, 2008 at 3:59 AM by Maurice Berger

One interesting detail of todays Rasmussen's daily tracker suggests that tonight's debate could be important: the number of still persuadable or undecided voters is now at +15%. "Just 42% are certain they will vote for Obama while 40% say the same about McCain. That two-point gap is much closer than the overall numbers. It’s also much closer than the 45% to 38% advantage among core supporters enjoyed by Obama heading into the second Presidential Debate last week. Overall, 12% of voters remain persuadables who favor one candidate or the other but could change their mind. Those, plus the 3% who remain undecided, are the target audience for both candidates in tonight’s debate." Rasmussen reports a +5% lead for Obama (50% to 45%). Other surveys indicate a broad spectrum of leads for the Democrat--from +14% to +3%. These variations may also impact on the actual number of persuadable voters.

Likely Voter Models: Hard To Figure Out

Posted Oct 15, 2008 at 1:21 AM by Maurice Berger

It looks like polling organizations are having difficulty determining likely voters this cycle. With so many newly registered voters--as well as a significant increase in younger voters during the primary season--some pollsters worry about using classic models and questions for determining a respondent's likelihood of voting. Will younger voters, for example, show up on Election Day, or--as in virtually every presidential cycle in recent years--will they stay home? Will African-American voter participation increase or stay the same? (Georgia election officials report an enormous black turn-out in early voting; Ohio reports the opposite: a relatively modest number of African American voters at this point.) Will newly registered voters show up? The problem is so daunting, that the Gallup organization is releasing three tallies in its daily tracking poll: [1] Registered: all registered voters, [2] Traditional Likely: likely voters determined by the "traditional" Gallup methodology, "which takes into account the intention to vote in the current election as well as [respondents'] self-reported voting history," and [3] Expanded  Likely: only voters who "self-profess likelihood to vote in 2008, [without factoring in] whether respondents have voted in past elections." Given the extraordinary spread in recent surveys--from Obama +14% (CBS News/New York Times) to Obama +2% (IBD/TIPP)--variations in models used to determine likely voters and voter enthusiasm may, in part, be to blame.

Daily National Tracking Poll Average: Creeping Closer

Posted Oct 14, 2008 at 6:14 AM by Maurice Berger

Over the past week, the daily national tracking poll average has drawn a tad closer each day, from a high of 7.3% to 6.3% today (Obama now leads 49.3% to 43.0%). With some polls last week reporting a +11% lead for Obama, most today report a Democratic lead in the 5-6% range. Thus, it appears that the race is retracting. How much (and for how long) is anyone's guess. The spread between polls is staggering--a swing related to variations in polling methodologies and wildly divergent likely voter models--with  GW/Battleground reporting a +13% lead for Obama, and IBD/TIPP Tracking indicating that the national race has drawn down to a virtual tie, with Obama leading by a scant +2%--45% to 43%. Also crucial is the extend to which any national tightening will be reflected in the candidates' statewide numbers.

Rasmussen & Zogby Also Report The Race Tightening

Posted Oct 13, 2008 at 2:26 AM by Maurice Berger

This morning, both the Rasmussen and Zogby daily tracking polls--like Gallup's yesterday--suggest the race is tightening. Rasmussen gives Obama a +5% lead (50% to 45%), down from a high to +8% earlier in the week. Zobgy reports a 4% lead (48% to 44%). The good news for Obama: his base numbers have remained steady over the past two weeks, within a point or two, either way, of 50%, while McCain hovers around the 45% mark. The good news for McCain: despite a succession of bad news cycles for the candidate (and the Republican brand), Obama is not walking away with the election according to these surveys. Still, several periodic polls released over the weekend, report a big advantage for the Democrat: Newsweek--+11%, ABC News/Washington Post: +10%. The latter survey suggests that Obama's lead may be insurmountable: "Though every race is different, no presidential candidate has come back from an October deficit this large in pre-election polls dating to 1936." The same poll, however, also indicates an unusually fluid bloc of voters in the middle, some undecided, others swinging from one candidate to the other.  PollTrack will carefully monitor the daily trackers (as well as periodic surveys) over the next week to get a better sense of the state of the race. Also monitored: the extent to which any changes in the candidates' national numbers, if any, make their way into the battleground states. Generally, state polling lags behind national surveys by a week or two. Are two polls released over the weekend in Ohio and North Carolina--both showing McCain retaking a marginal lead--outliers or trend catchers? Stay tuned.

Gallup: The Race Is Tightening . . . Once Again

Posted Oct 12, 2008 at 7:27 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup reports today that it sees signs that the presidential race is tightening. Earlier in the week, Obama led as much as +11% among registered voters. Today, Gallup has his lead down to +7%. Among likely voters--depending upon two different models now being employed by Gallup--Obama's lead drops even further to +5% or +6%. Gallup also notes of its rolling (three-day) average: "Obama has led in each of the last three individual days' polling, but by less than double-digits each day, suggesting that the race is, in fact, tightening." PollTrack's daily tracking poll average is 6.8% today, down from +7.3% earlier in the week.

Daily Trackers Now Agree: Obama Ahead By +7%

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

All five tracking polls averaged in PollTrack's daily survey show a solid lead for Obama, ranging from +5% to +10%. The overall average for today: Obama, just grazing the 50% mark, at 49.6% to McCain, 42.6%. This give the Democrat an average daily tracking lead of +7%, just shy of his fall-campaign high of +7.3%, registered earlier this week.

Discrepancy Persists in Tracking Polls

Posted Oct 09, 2008 at 5:34 AM by Maurice Berger

With four daily tracking polls giving Obama, on average, a +5% national lead, Gallup still reports a substantial lead for Obama, at +11%, 51% to 41%. It's hard to say what accounts for this discrepancy, though variations in party affiliation weighting and likely voter models are partly to blame. Taking all five daily trackers into consideration, the Democrat's national lead is +5.8%--49% to 43.2%--down from the Democrat's +7% advantage earlier in the week.

Daily Tracking Polls: National Numbers Appear To Be Narrowing

Posted Oct 08, 2008 at 2:02 AM by Maurice Berger

Four of the five daily tracking polls (Gallup is not released until 1:00 PM) suggest that the national race for president has narrowed, in some cases to a virtual tie. As of this morning: Rasmussen: Obama +6% (down from +8% yesterday), GW/Battleground: Obama +4%, Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby: Obama +2%, Hotline/FD: Obama +1%. If this trend holds, we should begin to see tightening in the battleground states in a week or so. A question: did last night's debate help either candidate? 

Contradictory Polls

Posted Oct 07, 2008 at 5:13 AM by Maurice Berger

With today's Gallup and Rasmussen daily tracking polls showing Obama up +9% and +8 respectively and Hotline/FD and CBS News reporting a Democratic advantage of only +2% or +3%, it's clear that national polling is contradictory. The discrepancy might be due to party affiliation weighting or variations in likely voter models. It could be that some polls are picking up a trend others are missing. Whatever the reason, PollTrack will be watching these numbers very carefully.

Is The Race Narrowing Again?

Posted Oct 07, 2008 at 2:33 AM by Maurice Berger

While several tracking and periodic national polls continue to report a healthy lead for Obama (Rasmussen, ABC News/Washington Post, and GW/Battleground), four nationwide polls released over the past 24- hours show the race narrowing dramatically. CBS News: Obama-48%/McCain 45% (+3 DEM), Democracy Corps: Obama-49%/McCain 46% (+3 DEM), Reuters/CSPAN/Zogby: Obama-48%/McCain 45% (+3 DEM), and just released, Hotline/FD: Obama-46%/McCain 44% (+2 DEM). Are we seeing a trend back to the very close race that has held for much of the past month and a half? Significantly, Hotline/FD reports an appreciable tightening of the race in the past 24 hours. Could McCain's negative campaign be working?

Obama's Lead

Posted Oct 06, 2008 at 5:32 AM by Maurice Berger

Polltrack's average of Monday's daily tracking polls continues to show a statistically significant lead for Obama (+7.3%)--a figure that also places the Democrat a tiny fraction shy of the 50% mark: Obama-49.8% to McCain-42.5%. The big question: can the Republican ticket erase this increasingly durable Democratic advantage a month out from the election. One poll released today, by Democracy Corps shows a much closer race--Obama-48%, McCain-45%, Nader-3%, Barr-2%--so PollTrack will be watching the height and depth of Obama's national support over the next week. One red flag for the McCain campaign: the Democrat's national lead is translating into dramatically improved numbers in many battleground states.

Obama's Daily Tracking Poll Average Drops Back A Bit

Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 7:02 AM by Maurice Berger

Today's daily tracking poll average shows Obama up by 4%, a drop of 2.3 from yesterday. What does this mean? Perhaps nothing. Rolling samples taken mostly over the weekend are often unreliable, since its harder to capture representative samples as leisure-time activities draw large blocs of voters out of the home (and away from pollsters' phone calls). It could be the inclusion of the GW/Battleground daily tracker in today's average--a poll not issued on Saturday or Sunday--that is driving the Democrat's numbers slightly downward. (The poll has consistently given McCain a modest lead of 1% to 2% over the past week, contradicting other surveys. The pollster's models for likelihood of turnout and party affiliation and enthusiasm may be responsible for this variation.) Or is the bloc of undecided voters--that 8% to 12% of the electorate now in the middle--fluid and therefor easily impressed by shifting news events or campaign strategies? In a few days, these samples may settle into something approximating a trend. Or not. Stay tuned.

Will The Economic Crisis Have A Lasting Effect On Election 2008?

Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

Yesterday's PollTrack daily tracking average gave Obama a significant 6.3% edge. These results suggest that last week was a bad one for John McCain. His assertion that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong"--just days before the full gravity of our economic crisis became clear did not help his numbers. Surveys last week also indicated that the electorate is inclined to blame Republicans for the economic mess. Additionally, Sarah Palin took a hammering in the media as did McCain's effort to suspend his campaign. The big question: has the economic crisis--and McCain's response to it--provided Obama with an opening? Do Obama's numbers indicate that the tide is turning in election 2008? Or will the pendulum swing back in the coming weeks? October is a tricky month in presidential campaigns, a time when voter sentiment can harden, but also a period in which the debates, political strategies, and unexpected news events have made a difference (to wit, the expression, "October Surprise"). Al Gore began October 2000 with an large deficit in the polls. By month's end, he was tied with his opponent, winning 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush on election day. Conversely, in October 1988, a series of withering Republican campaign commercials and weak debate performances by Democrat Michael Dukakis resulted in a durable Republican advantage that carried George H. W. Bush well across the finish line. Yet, in 1980, the one--and only debate--between Reagan and Carter in late October shook up a heretofore tied up race and yielded the Republican a stable and significant lead. One major qualifier: US presidential elections are not decided by the popular vote (as 2000 dramatically confirmed). In this sense, neither candidate has come anywhere near sealing the deal. In fact, from an electoral perspective, the race is closer to a tie than Obama's modest national lead might suggest. More later.

Obama's Daily Tracking Average Is Up

Posted Sep 27, 2008 at 5:11 AM by Maurice Berger

Reflecting a week of numbers trending upward in battleground states, Obama's national daily tracking poll average lead this afternoon is +5.3%. The tally today: Obama 49%/McCain 43.7%. PollTrack cautions not to read too much into these numbers vis-a-vis last night's debate, since the lion's share of survey samples were taken before the event (daily tracking results represent a rolling average of three to four days).

Daily Trackers Show Improvement for McCain

Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 5:25 AM by Maurice Berger

Four daily tracking polls released today all indicate improvement for McCain. Gallup now calls the race a tie at 46% (from a +6% lead for the Democrat only five days ago). Battleground continues to give McCain a razor-thin lead: 48% to 47%. And Hotline/FD and Rasmussen both indicate a small drop in Obama's numbers over the past three days. Obama now holds a 1.5% lead in the PollTrack national daily tracking poll average: 47.3% to 45.8%.

Daily Tracking Poll Average: Down To Slightly More Than +1% Obama

Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 5:02 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite the slight up tick in support for Obama this week, PollTrack's daily tracking poll national average shows the race once again drawing down to a virtual tie: 47.0% to 45.8%, giving the Democrat a scant 1.2% advantage. Nevertheless, Obama's numbers do seem to be improving in several battleground states, including Michigan and Colorado.

National Daily Tracking Average: Obama Back to (A Tiny) Lead

Posted Sep 16, 2008 at 6:54 AM by Maurice Berger

Our averaging of the three daily tracking polls--Hotline/FD, Rasmussen, and Gallup--today puts Obama back into the lead, by an insignificant 0.7%. The latter two polls actually continue to report a lead for McCain (+1%), but Hotline calls it +4 Obama. It's worth noting that Hotline has proven the most erratic of the three pollsters, trading leads on an almost day to day basis. Is the momentum turning every so slightly back to the Democrat? PollTrack's averaging of periodic and daily national polls continues to give McCain a small lead: +1.3%. Stay tuned for tomorrow's numbers, especially for Rasmussen and Gallup.

Gallup: Yes, A Bounce

Posted Aug 28, 2008 at 5:47 AM by Maurice Berger

The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll also discerns a convention "bounce" for Obama. The Democrat now leads by six points, 48% to 42%. In its latest analysis, "Obama Moves Ahead," Gallup writes: "The latest three-day Gallup Poll Daily tracking average (Aug. 25-27) is directly coincident with the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and is no doubt beginning to reflect the typical convention 'bounce' that Gallup has observed in most party conventions in recent decades."

Rasmussen: A "Modest Bounce"

Posted Aug 28, 2008 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

While Obama's pick of Biden did not appear to lift his numbers--perhaps because it further alienated Hillary Clinton's most ardent supports--the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll discerns a "modest" bounce for Obama as his convention unfolds: "Obama’s poll numbers have improved over the past couple of nights and today’s update shows a tie race because it includes a mix of both recent trends. But it seems likely that Obama will end the convention with a modest lead over McCain."

Is this bounce durable, however: will the Democrats maintain the lead given the imminent announcement of McCain's running mate (as early as this evening) and the start of the Republican National Convention, now four days away?


Where is the "Bounce"?

Posted Aug 27, 2008 at 1:56 AM by Maurice Berger

A Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll out this morning reports that  McCain has moved into the lead, "the first time since August 9 that [he] has held any advantage over Obama" by an albeit insignificant margin of one point: 47% to 46%. Perhaps more troubling for the Democrats: Gallup's Tuesday tracker (see, "Negative Bounce: Gallup Agrees" below) also showed McCain pulling into the lead at a time when a national candidate is usually enjoying a "bounce" due to the announcement of the VP nominee and the days of free air time afforded by the national convention.

Gallup's analysis of polling trends since the beginning of August suggests a drop off in support for Obama among conservative Democrats. The thing to watch: will Hillary Clinton's speech help improve Obama's standing with these voters? Also important: how will this convention play out with independent voters, whose allegiances have been fluid over the past nine months?

Once again, a note of caution: public opinion is often slow to form. The full effect of both conventions may not be clear for a while.

Negative Bounce: Gallup Agrees

Posted Aug 26, 2008 at 5:24 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack cautions not to read to much into a single Daily Tracking Poll, but Gallup's daily survey also suggests that neither Obama's selection of Biden--nor possibly the first night of the DNC--are helping lift the Democrat's overall numbers. In its daily report, "No Bounce for Obama in Post-Biden Tracking"--Gallup shows McCain pulling into the lead, 46% to 44%. Coupled with Rasmussen's results this morning, the Republican for the first time leads in Polltrack's daily tracking average: 46% to 45%.

We'll need a few more days to see whether this is a statistical anomoly or a real trend.

First Out of the Gate: Rasmussen--a Negative Bounce?

Posted Aug 26, 2008 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger

Rasmussen Reports is the first polling organization to attempt to discern voter reaction to the DNC. Their surprising conclusion: a negative bounce.  While it may well be too early to take such a reading seriously, Resmussen writes:

The Democratic National Convention has begun and the poll numbers are bouncing, but not in the direction that most people anticipated.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows Barack Obama attracting 44% of the vote while John McCain also earns 44%. When "leaners" are included, it’s still tied with Obama at 46% and McCain at 46%. Yesterday, with leaners, Obama had a three-point advantage over McCain.

PollTrack notes that Gallup Daily Tracking and CNN both reported the election dead even, in the days BEFORE the convention. So Rasmussen may just be catching up. Stay tuned as pollsters trade analyzes all week long.

Post-Convention Bounce

Posted Aug 26, 2008 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

By now, you may have heard a lot about "bounce"--the ticking up in poll numbers after a presidential candidate's national convention. The average "bounce" is 5%. This week, Polltrack will be paying close attention to voter response to the Democratic National Convention (and next week to the Republican National Convention). Will Obama's numbers start nudging up in the Daily Tracking Polls? Will he get the post-convention bounce he needs to pull ahead of McCain?

And what of the unprecedented timing of the two conventions, now within days of each other? Will this rapid turn around--now a matter of a few days rather than the traditional lag of three to four weeks--combined with McCain's naming of his VP later this week blunt or distort this bounce?

Keep in mind: the two daily trackers analyzed on this site--Rasmussen and Gallup--represent a rolling average of nightly surveys over the previous three or four days. Thus, any meaningful improvement in Obama's numbers may not be felt until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest.

One problem for the Democrats, however, is the timing of the conventions relative to each other: the Republicans go last, usually the favored position, affording the party the "last word" as voters finally start focusing on the fall campaign.