Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Ohio Gov: Kasich Way Ahead

Posted Sep 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio reports that incumbent Gov. John Kasich is crushing DEmocratic challenger Ed FitzGerald in the race for governor by a whopping +30%, 59% to 29%.

Ohio: Incumbent GOP Governor Ahead

Posted Sep 02, 2014 at 8:44 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Public Policy Polling in Ohio reports that incumbent GOP Gov. John Kasich leads Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald for governor by a six-point margin, 50% to 44%.

Obama Approval In Ohio Drops To Historic Low

Posted Jun 26, 2013 at 8:07 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Quinnipiac in Ohio reports that President Obama's job approval has dropped to 40%, with 57% disapproving, his lowest rating ever in the state.

Americans Access Congressional Leaders

Posted May 23, 2013 at 6:23 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by Gallup, "the top Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate are a generally unpopular foursome, with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi being the most well-known, but also the least well-liked. 31% of Americans view Pelosi favorably and 48% unfavorably. Her resulting net -17 image score compares with -11 for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, -10 for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, and -8 for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell."

GOP Governor Rebounds In Ohio

Posted Mar 06, 2013 at 8:30 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Quinnipiac in Ohio reports that Governor Gov. John Kasich's job approval has rebounded, and is now at an all-time high, 53% to 32%, the first time in two years that he tops 50 percent. Quinnipiac observes: "What a difference a few months make. Not that long ago, Democrats were licking their lips at the prospect of taking on an unpopular governor who had a disapproval rating in the 50s. Now his job disapproval rating is just 32% and his chances of re-election appear to be much better than they were thought to be as recently as December."

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."

With Democrats In Missouri and Ohio Winning

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 10:18 PM by Maurice Berger

. . . their US Senate seats, it is now certain that the Democrats will retain control of the Senate. 

Ohio Leaning Towards The President

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 9:54 PM by Maurice Berger

Exit polling and results from key precincts suggests that Ohio is leaning towards President Obama.

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.

Ohio Demographics Favor The President

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 8:15 PM by Maurice Berger

Early returns from key precincts in Ohio, as well as exit polls and the demographic breakdown of the electorate, suggest that president Obama is keeping up with his pace in 2008, yet another sign that the state may be difficult for Romney to capture. Stay tuned.

High Democratic Turnout In Ohio

Posted Nov 06, 2012 at 7:32 PM by Maurice Berger

39% of voters in Ohio today were Democrats, a number that GOP-leaning commentators argued would not be achieved. Is this enough to put President Obama over the top in the state? With Exit Polls suggesting a +3% lead for Obama--51% to 48%--Romney's prospects appear to have dimmed somewhat.

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.

Is Romney's Momentum Slowing?

Posted Oct 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM by Maurice Berger

With yesterday's  Rasmussen survey showing the President with a +1% lead over GOP challenger Mitt Romney--the poll normally has a slight GOP tilt--PollTrack wonders if Romney's momentum from last week's debate is slowing down. Other trackers have also showed movement back towards Obama, but with Romney holding onto an aggregate lead of less than 1%.

Swing state polls have been fairly erratic, with some polls showing a substantial lead for one candidate or another (from +6% for Obama in Ohio to +7% for Romney in Florida) to a virtual tie. In many instances, polls are alternately reporting leads for both candidates in the same state (most polls show Obama leading in Ohio, others give Romney a slight lead; in Florida, it is just the opposite, with one poll showing Romney up by +7%, another Obama up by +4%.

What these numbers suggest is a race in flux, a degree of statistical noise due to a major event in this past week's news cycle (the president's poor debate performance) and a shifting enthusiasm gap, with GOP voters now more revved up than Democrats. Has Vice-President Biden's feisty debate performance fired up unhappy Democrats? Has Rep. Ryan's cool resolve added to the sense of a GOP ticket on the rise? Did either performance move the needle with independent voters? A few more days of polling should give us a better sense of the direction of the race leading into next week's presidential debate in New York.

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.

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%

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 Above 50% Mark in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania

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

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

Florida: Obama 51%, Romney 45%

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 44%

Pennsylvania: Obama 53%, Romney 42%

Obama Leads In Ohio

Posted Jul 30, 2012 at 10:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by We Ask America suggests that President Obama holds a modest but comfortable lead over Mitt Romney in the key swing state of Ohio, 48% to 40%. One factor that may be helping the president in Ohio: the state's unemployment numbers have improved in recent months.

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. 

Upgraded Today's Map: The Race Tightens

Posted Jun 08, 2012 at 8:59 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has just upgraded Today's Map Today: with Ohio moving from Leaning Democrat to Too-Close-to-Call and Florida from Leaning GOP to Too-Close-Too-Call, two more key states have swung into the toss up category.

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%

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

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

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

Florida: Romney 44%, Obama 43%

Ohio: Obama 44%, Romney 42%

Pennsylvania: Obama 47%, Romney 39%.

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%.

Another Poll Shows The President Ahead In Ohio

Posted Apr 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM by Maurice Berger

Another poll, by Fox News, released late last week reports that President Obama leads Mitt Romney by six points in the key swing state of Ohio--45% to 39.

Election 2012: Obama Leads Romney In Ohio

Posted Apr 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM by Maurice Berger

Some good news for President Obama in the key swing state of Ohio--a new Rasmussen poll in Ohio reports that he now leads Mitt Romney by four points, 46% to 42%.

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.

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."

Super Tuesday Updates

Posted Mar 05, 2012 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

Here are polling updates from PollTrack on the upcoming GOP primary and causes race for tomorrow's Super Tuesday sweep.

Georgia: Landmark/Rosetta Stone shows a possible Newt Gingrich romp in the state, with the former house speaker way ahead of the GOP presidential field in his home state with 42%, followed by Mitt Romney at 22%, Rick Santorum at 16% and Ron Paul at 5%. Interestingly, YouGov show a much closer race, with Gingrich at 32%, followed by Romney at 27%, Santorum at 17% and Paul at 10%

Massachusetts: According to YouGov, it's a Romney romp in the former governor's home state. Romney leads with 56%, followed by Santorum at 16%, Gingrich at 5% and Paul at 5%.

Ohio: In the all important--and perhaps make or break race for Rick Santorum--in Ohio, a survey by NBC News/Marist reports that Santorum is just ahead of Romney among GOP primary voters, 34% to 32%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 15% and Ron Paul at 13%.

Oklahoma: American Research Group reports that Santorum leads the GOP presidential field in next week's primary with 37%, followed by Mitt Romney at 26%, Newt Gingrich at 22%, and Ron Paul at 9%.

Tennessee: Rasmussen survey finds Santorum just ahead of  Romney, 34% to 30%, with Newt Gingrich at 18% and Ron Paul at 8%. Similarly, American Research Group shows Santorum leading Romney, 35% to 31%, with Gingrich at 20% and Paul at 9%.

More Good News For the President

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

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

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

Santorum Ahead In Ohio GOP Primary

Posted Feb 15, 2012 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Quinnipiac in Ohio reports that Rick Santorum now leads Mitt Romney among likely GOP primary voters, 36% to 29%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 20% and Ron Paul at 9%.

Electoral Map: Ohio Leans Democratic

Posted Feb 02, 2012 at 1:08 AM by Maurice Berger

With a new Public Policy Polling survey reporting that President Obama has broken even with Ohio voters-- 48% now approve of him with an equal 48% disapproving--PollTrack now rates the state "Leaning Democrat" on Today's Map. This call is influenced by another finding in the poll: Just 28% of Ohioans have a favorable opinion of Mitt Romney to 56% with a negative one. According to the survey, Obama leads Romney in a possible general election match up by seven points, 49% to 42%.

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%."

Ohio 2012: Trending Democratic?

Posted Jul 29, 2011 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

It what can be read as good news for President Obama in Ohio, A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio reports that incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has a commanding lead over two potential GOP challengers. Brown leads State Treasurer Josh Mandel, 49% to 34%, and tops State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, 50% to 32%.Combined with the exceptionally low approval rating of the state's Republican Governor, these numbers suggests that the closely divided state is trending slightly more Democratic in recent days

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."

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."

Possible Good News For Obama: Ohio Democratic Senator Ahead

Posted Mar 30, 2011 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may spell good news for the President's reelection efforts next year, a new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio reports that Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown ahead in his reelection effort, suggesting a lessing of GOP gains in this ultimate swing state. Brown is supported over an unnamed GOP challenger by 45% to 29%. Additionally, voters say--by a margin of 45% to 30%--that Brown deserves a second term. Does this suggest a true reversal of GOP fortunes in the state? Time will tell. 

GOP Advantage: States Slated To Gain or Loose US House Seats

Posted Dec 21, 2010 at 7:19 AM by Maurice Berger

Based on the 2010 census, which states are now slated to gain or loose U.S. House seats (and well as electoral votes, one per house seat lost). Next week, the Census Bureau will release its official state population totals and the allotment of House seats for the next decade. The Waal Street Journal reports that  "Republicans tightened their grip on the U.S. House with the release of new population figures that show GOP-leaning states in the South and Southwest will add congressional seats in the next election. . . . The big winner in 2012 and beyond is Texas, which will add four seats. Ohio and New York will each lose two seats. Elsewhere in the South, Florida will add two seats, and Georgia will add one . . .
The population count "confirmed long-held assumptions that the balance of power in the country is tilting away from Democratic strongholds in the Northeast and Midwest to warmer states in the Sunbelt, where Republicans hold sway."

Republicans Could Have Serious Problem Come November

Posted May 25, 2010 at 1:25 AM by Maurice Berger

Before Republicans start celebrating what some predict may be a massive victory in November, they may want to take notice of one sobering phenomenon: In Colorado and Arizona, Public Policy Polling reports that Hispanic voters are now swinging dramatically towards Democrats in the wake of Arizona's new immigration law. PPP continues: "Hispanics in the Mountain West are leaning much more strongly toward the Democrats since the Arizona law was passed. The big question then becomes whether there are white voters who are going to go Republican this fall who wouldn't have if that bill hadn't been passed. We don't see any evidence of that happening yet." This trend could easily shift into other states with significant Hispanic populations, effecting very close race in states as disparate as California, Ohio, and Florida, not to mention Colorado and Arizona. Stay tuned. This could be the sleeper phenomenon of the 2010 cycle.

President Obama's Approval Rating Falling Behind In Key Swing State Of Ohio

Posted Jul 09, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Quinnipiac University poll may give President Obama reason to worry: "President Barack Obama gets a lackluster 49% to 44% approval rating in Ohio, considered by many to be the most important swing state in a presidential election . . . This is President Obama's lowest approval rating in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated and is down from 62% to 31% in a May 6 survey.  By a small 48% to 46% margin, voters disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy . . . This is down from a 57% to 36% approval May 6. A total of 66% of Ohio voters are 'somewhat dissatisfied' or 'very dissatisfied' with the way things are going in the state, while 33% are 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied,' numbers that haven't changed since Obama was elected." (A new Public Policy Polling survey shows a similar drop in Obama's supports in another key 2008 swing state--Virginia--where his positive approval comes in at only 48%.)

President Obama: The Democrat Wins Ohio

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 1:37 PM by Maurice Berger

It's now just a formality. Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. With the Democrat now declared the winner in Ohio, it's mathematically impossible for McCain to forge an electoral majority. Ohio, one of the three national bellwethers, has gone with the winner since 1960. More important, no Republican in has won the White House without it. Congratulations to the new president!

North Carolina: "Too Close To Call" . . .

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 11:34 AM by Maurice Berger

. . . according to NBC news. Could be a red flag for McCain--this is a state he MUST win. Ohio and West Virginia may not be as close, but still lack necessary precinct data to make a call.

Where Are The Bellwethers: Missouri, Ohio, Nevada?

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 3:56 AM by Maurice Berger

Where are are three bellwethers on election day? Obama is up in Nevada; Missouri and Ohio remain too close to call. Does the status of the latter two--Missouri is virtually tied this morning, with McCain up by +0.7%--suggest a close election? Hard to say. Interestingly, in the Missouri Democratic primary back in February, on "Super Tuesday," Obama won the state by 1.4%; his popular vote lead for all the primaries and caucuses was under 1%, like MO very close indeed. Yet, in the past few cycles, Missouri has actually trended Republican, affording Bush a higher margin of victory than the national totals and in 2000, he won MO but lost the popular vote. Ohio was relatively close in both elections, so the state's demographics trend towards close presidential races. If the numbers in Nevada hold, they could be a harbinger of a modest, but comfortable win for Obama.  Polltrack's nagging historical question: will Missouri pick the eventual winner tonight, as it has done in all but one presidential cycle since 1904? Or will Nevada emerge as the new reliable national bellwether?

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?

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

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 11:20 AM by Maurice Berger

With two of the most recent polls in Ohio showing McCain ahead in the state by +2%, several indicating Obama with a small lead, and one showing it a virtual tie, PollTrack moves the state from "Leaning Democrat" to "Too Close To Call on Tomorrow's Map.

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?

 

Variable #3: The Bradley Factor

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 6:55 AM by Maurice Berger

The so-called "Bradley Factor" in contests with black candidates--in which white voters tell pollsters they are undecided or voting for the African-American candidate out of embarrassment or fear of being judged as racist, only to vote for the white challenger in the privacy of the voting booth--is the greatest variable in this presidential cycle. Since no African-American has ever served as the presidential nominee of a major party, there are no national models on which to gauge and understand the Bradley factor. As of this morning, there are enough very close battleground states--at this stage containing large, even unprecedented blocs of undecided and persuadable voters--to make this effect meaningful (if it were to occur). In Ohio, where a number of polls out this morning report only a +2% lead for Obama, any sharp movement of remaining wavering or undecided voters could throw the state to McCain. Ditto other races that are exceedingly close as of this afternoon: Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, and Indiana (though Obama could lose all five states and still win). The good news for Obama is that his lead in nearly all Kerry-blue and some swing states is by sufficient margins (and over the 50% mark) to offset any potential McCain advantage vis-a-vis the Bradley effect. BUT, there are signs out there that the ghost of Bradley is lurking, exemplified by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's publicly stated fear that PA is not a done deal for Obama (or Democratic Congressman Murtha's impolitic musings on the "racism" of western Pennsylvanians). Even though Obama holds a healthy aggregate lead in PA of +7.6% (a lead that is increasing as of this morning)--requiring at least an 8% swing to reverse the Democrat's numbers--a swing of a far greater magnitude, and with a within a much more liberal voting base, took place in the New Hampshire Democratic primary this January, when Obama entered Election Day with a +8.3% lead, but lost to Hillary Clinton by +2.6%. That a number of battleground states have drawn very close within the past 48 hours may, in fact, suggest that undecided voters (who now are predominantly center-right, older, and demographically disinclined to vote for Obama) may already be breaking for the Republican. If a substantial shift were to occur towards McCain, another question arises: will Obama's enormous advantage in early voting (and new voter registration) offset any of McCain's gains in the now surprisingly large bloc of voters who now call themselves undecided or still persuadable? And has the dramatic tightening in a few key swing states in recent days made the Bradley Effect more of a factor?

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.

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."

Today's and Tomorrow's Map: Bellwether Nevada Moves From "Too Close" To "Leaning Democrat"

Posted Oct 31, 2008 at 2:56 AM by Maurice Berger

With several polls indicating a solid rise of support for Obama in Nevada--and crucially an exhaustive survey released yesterday that now confirms both the solidity and enthusiasm of the Hispanic vote in the southwest for the Democrat--PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on both Today's and Tomorrow's Maps. The implications of Obama's advantage with Hispanic voters in the southwest cannot be clearer: McCain is now struggling even in his home state of Arizona, where his PT average lead has dropped well below the +10% mark. Nevada is also one of three bellwether states, so Obama appears to be in very good shape, now leading in Ohio and Nevada. Only Missouri remains too close to call on both maps.

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.

Where Are The Three Bellwethers: Missouri, Ohio, Nevada?

Posted Oct 26, 2008 at 4:25 AM by Maurice Berger

As PollTrack has written (6 October 2008, Nevada: The New Bellwether?), three states have been bellwethers in presidential cycles over the past fifty years: Missouri, Ohio, and  Nevada. Missouri has voted with the winner in every presidential election since 1904 (save 1956), Ohio has picked the eventual victor since 1964 (no Republican has won the presidency without it, and only twice has a Democrat), and Nevada, beginning in 1980, has gone with the national winner, both in close elections (2000 and 2004) and blowouts (Reagan vs. Mondale in 1984). How are the candidates doing in these important indicator of the national mood? In two, Missouri and Nevada, Obama leads by a tiny margin. In Ohio, the state now leans slightly to Obama. So from the perspective of electoral bellwethers, it's now three up, Obama--a good place to be 10 days before a national cycle, though the race remains "Too Close To Call" in MO and NV.

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.

Election Day Map: Obama-273 McCain-189 TCTC-76

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 3:51 PM by Maurice Berger

With Ohio moving from "WIN McCain" into the "Too Close To Call" column in Ohio, the Election Day Map now predicts: Obama-273 McCain-189 TCTC-76.

Election Day Map: Ohio Moves From "WIN McCain" to To "Too Close To Call"

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 3:51 PM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's average PT lead in Ohio over +6%, PollTrack moves the state from "WIN McCain" to "Too Close To Call" on the Election Day Map to "Too Close To Call."

Today's & Tomorrow's Map: Ohio Moves From "Too Close" to "Leaning Democrat"

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 3:49 PM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's PT average now at +6.6%, PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on Today's and Tomorrow's Map.

Tomorrow's Map: Colorado Moves Into The Blue

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 7:49 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's numbers stable in Colorado, PollTrack moves the state from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democrat" on Tomorrow's Map.

Obama Winning Over Jewish Vote

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

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

Fox News/Rasmussen: McCain Gaining Ground in Florida and Ohio

Posted Oct 20, 2008 at 10:23 AM by Maurice Berger

Two new polls of Ohio and Florida by Fox News/Rasmussen-- following several other surveys that indicate a narrowing race in the states--now report a very modest lead for McCain. In Florida, the Republican leads 49% to 48%, in Ohio he is ahead by +2%, 49% to 47%. PollTrack will be watching these states closely in the next few days. Of the two states, Rasmussen writes: "A week ago, Obama was up by five points [in Florida] and the week before he held a seven-point lead. The current polling shows McCain’s support at its highest level since mid-September. McCain also moved slightly ahead again in Ohio with a 49% to 47% advantage over Obama. A week ago, those numbers were reversed and Obama had the two-point advantage. As in Florida, the current poll shows McCain at his highest level of support since mid-September." Both states remain a toss up on Today's Map.

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.

NBC/Mason-Dixon: McCain Is Closing The Gap In Ohio

Posted Oct 19, 2008 at 4:10 AM by Maurice Berger

Yet another poll reports that McCain is picking up steam in Ohio. NBC/Mason-Dixon out this morning gives the Republican a scant +1% lead--46% to 45%. But given Obama's recent advantage in statewide polling, it's significant that the freshest numbers show the race narrowing in McCain's direction.

Is McCain Gaining Ground In Ohio and Florida?

Posted Oct 18, 2008 at 12:58 AM by Maurice Berger

With the national polls narrowing modestly, it's noteworthy that Rasmussen is reporting a dramatic tightening of the race in the mother of all battleground states: Ohio. The survey indicates a tied race, at 49% each. Rasmussen is unsure whether this marks a trend: "McCain’s support in Ohio has ticked up two points in this latest poll, but the long-term trend has been in Obama’s direction. This is the 10th straight poll in the state dating back to mid-August in which support for Obama has either increased or remained stable. It’s the second straight poll in which Obama has enjoyed support from 49%, his highest total of the year." McCain last led in Rasmussen's Ohio poll in early September, when he enjoyed a 51% to 44% advantage over the Democrat. Similarly, Survey USA (one of the most accurate pollsters during the primary season) reports that McCain has once again pulled into the lead in Florida, another key battleground state. The poll now has it, 49% McCain to 47% Obama. Stay tuned.

Obama Ahead In Key Counties

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 10:01 AM by Maurice Berger

According a just released survey by Politico/Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Research, Obama is expanding on recent Democratic gains in three suburban counties crucial to winning their respective states— Pennsylvania’s Bucks County (+6 DEM, 47% to 41%), Missouri’s St. Louis County (which does not include the city of St Louis, +16% DEM, 53% to 37%) and Virginia’s Prince William County (+8 DEM, 50% to 42%). In Ohio’s Franklin County, which covers Columbus and its suburbs, Obama also leads, but by a smaller margin (+%, 45% to 40%). These numbers bode well for the Democrat, who must carry these counties by a healthy margin to assure statewide victory. One note of caution, all four polls still register a large portion of undecided or uncertain voters, numbers that are unusually high at this point in a presidential cycle. Another Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Research poll issued earlier in the week reported Obama leading in three other key counties in battleground states: Washoe County, Nevada, Wake County, North Carolina; and Hillsborough County, Florida. McCain's sole lead is in Jefferson County, Colorado.

Party Weighting: The Great Unknown Of Election 2008

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 2:13 AM by Maurice Berger

One way pollsters process raw data from samples is to filter it through party weighting models. In other words, a model that organizes voters by party and then weights the sample to reflect the percentage of likely voters from each party (as well as independents). With Democrat enthusiasm up this year, most pollsters give the party a considerable edge. In Rasmussen's weighting, for example Democrats outnumber Republicans  39.3% to 33.0%. For Zogby, it's closer: 38% to 36%. This weighting, in part (but several others factors are also at play), is responsible for the large swing in national numbers, from an Obama lead of +2% to +14%. PollTrack wonders: as national results are clearly narrowing, is Republican interest in the election gaining on Democratic? While Obama's campaign has fired up certain demographic groups --African-Americans, single women, young voters, for example--what of the traditional Republican constituencies: the over 65 set, Evangelicals, conservative Christians, and older white men? The latter groups tend to have exceptionally high turn out, literally making the difference for George W. Bush in 2004. There is anecdotal evidence that Evangelical voters, for a range of reasons--from anxiety about Obama to excitement about Sarah Palin--are growing increasingly enthusiastic about the Republican ticket. While some periodic polls (like CBS News/New York Times and Pew) show a very large lead for the Democrat, are these surveys underestimating the potential turn out of groups that--as a rule--vote in consistently and often extraordinarily numbers? Pollster John Zogby notes: "What troubles me is when I see some of my colleagues have 27% of the respondents that are Republicans. That's just not America, period. [Party affiliation fluctuates over time] it doesn't change "day-to-day, and it never fluctuates by eight points in a short time period." Will the 2008 election break the mold--resulting in an unprecedented jump in Democratic turn out--or will Republican and conservative voters also show up in significant numbers, thus drawing the race much closer (especially in battleground states that already tilt Republican, such as MO, NC, FL, NV, CO, and OH)?

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.

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.

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).

Nevada: The New Bellwether?

Posted Oct 06, 2008 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

Since 1904, every victorious presidential candidate has won Missouri, save Eisenhower in 1956. In that cycle, favorite son Harry Truman asked the voters of his beloved state to support Democrat Adlai Stevenson (and show the nation that they still loved Truman, who left office four years earlier, battered in the polls). They did. One other deviation, re: Missouri: Bush won the state in 2000; but Gore won the national popular vote that year. Still, the state voted for the eventual victor in the race. And a caveat: Missouri has been trending Republican in recent cycles, though Democrat Claire McCaskill won its closely fought US Senate race in 2006. Ohio has been a bellwether of sorts for one party: no Republican has won the presidency without it. It has also picked the eventual winner in every election since 1964. The question: are there any new bellwethers on the horizon. Perhaps, one: Nevada. In the last seven presidential cycles, beginning in 1980, the state has gone with the national winner, both in close elections (2000 and 2004) and blowouts (Reagan vs. Mondale in 1984). With its population rapidly expanding--and its demographics shifting accordingly--the Silver State is starting to look more like the rest of America. How does the presidential race look in Nevada these days? All but tied up (+1.8% DEM), with Obama and McCain exchanging leads over the past month. I would keep my eye on Nevada. (Though it might not be a bad idea to keep Missouri and Ohio in your sights, as well.)

McCain Campaign: Michigan Now Out Of Reach

Posted Oct 02, 2008 at 7:30 AM by Maurice Berger

With Obama's lead rapidly expanding in Michigan--where a Public Policy Polling issued today gives the Democrat a healthy 10% advantage, 51% to 41%--the New York Times reports this afternoon that McCain will pull his campaign from the state: "John McCain’s decision to cancel a campaign event in Michigan next week was not a matter of scheduling: Mr. McCain is giving up his effort to take the state back into the red column, concluding that economic distress there has simply put the state out of reach, according to Republicans familiar with the decision." This is a big concession (more ominous than the decision of the Obama campaign to abandon the three electoral votes of North Dakota a fews week ago) and a testament to the ever increasing problem the Republican is having holding onto traditionally Republican turf. The move will allow the McCain campaign to redirect time and money to states that are now more competitive, such as the traditional battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida (both went to Bush in 2000 and 2004) and states that are traditionally Republican but are now surprisingly close, such as Indiana and North Carolina.

Ohio: Improvement For Obama

Posted Oct 01, 2008 at 5:55 AM by Maurice Berger

After weeks of trailing McCain in Ohio in PollTrack's poll average, Barack Obama has taken a small lead in the state. This is another sign of the Democrat's momentum over the past week and an indication that the Republican is having trouble holding on to some of the battleground/swing states won by George W. Bush in 2004.

Tomorrow's Map: Ohio Moves From "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call"

Posted Sep 18, 2008 at 10:30 AM by Maurice Berger

The race is getting closer in Ohio. Could McCain's slip up on Monday hurt him in a state where many voters are hurting due to the failing economy? PollTrack moves Ohio From "Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call" on Tomorrow's Map.

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.

Tomorrow's Map: Ohio Moves Back To "Leaning Republican"

Posted Sep 12, 2008 at 3:39 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has had a chance to digest six polls released over the past few days for the key battleground state of Ohio. It appears that the Quinnipiac survey (which showed Obama up by five) is an "outlier"--a poll that lies dramatically apart from the rest (the other polls give McCain the advantage, from +1 to + 7%, with an average of +4%). It appears that the momentum in Ohio is moving in McCain's direction. This PollTrack moves Ohio on Tomorrow's Map from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Republican."

Tomorrow's Map: Ohio Moves from "Leaning Republican" to TCTC

Posted Sep 11, 2008 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Two polls show released over the past few days by Quinnipiac  University and CNN/Time show Obama ahead in Ohio (by 5% or 2%, respectively); Fox/Rasmussen, on the other hand, gives McCain a lead of 7%. These results suggest that voter models and markers for voter enthusiasm--or even perhaps discrepancies in data collection--are producing divergent conclusion about this mother of all battleground states. The averaging of these survey results results is a dead heat: 46.7% to 46.7%. As a result, PollTrack now moves Ohio from"Leaning Republican" to "Too Close To Call" on Tomorrow's Map Today.

PollTrack: Close But Trending McCain's Way

Posted Sep 09, 2008 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

Looking at the bulk of national polling completed entirely after the Republican National Convention, PollTrack now sees the race as statistically tied but trending in McCain's direction. It appears that the RNC was successful in erasing Obama's "bounce," increasing voter party identification for the Republicans, and improving McCain's numbers in a range of categories, from his potential as leader and commander in chief to his handling of Iraq and the economy.

The thing to watch: state polls. Are national numbers translated into an improved performance for McCain in battleground states? The earliest signs suggest an up tick in support for McCain in some of these states.

Another thing to watch: the media's vetting of Palin. Will the luster wear-off her candidacy? If so, will races that now favor McCain--Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, all states with significant Evangelical populations--become closer?

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.

 

Key "Battleground" States Now Tied

Posted Aug 23, 2008 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

Another indication of the closeness of the race: A new National Public Radio survey of likely voters in 19 key "battleground" states--states that have been competitive in recent cycles or have swung between parties, such as Ohio, New Mexico, Iowa, and New Hampshire--finds Obama with just a one point lead over McCain: 46% to 45%.

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.

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

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

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

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