Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Republican Voters See Their Party As Leaderless

Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A hefty majority of Republican voters now see their party as leaderless, according to a new poll. 68% of Republican voters say their party has no clear leader; another 17% are undecided:"Just 5% view either John McCain, the GOP's unsuccessful 2008 presidential candidate, or new party chairman Michael Steele as the party's leader. 2% see conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh in that role, 1% name McCain's running mate, Alaska Govenror Sarah Palin. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner are each seen as GOP leader by less than one-half of one percent." These numbers suggest problems ahead for a party that needs to regroup and sharply hone its message in anticipation of the 2010 mid-term elections. 

Only Five States Remain Solidly Republican: UT, WY, ID, AK, NE

Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by the Gallup organization reports a national  electoral map that has grown markedly Democratic over the past few years: "An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from 2008 finds Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii to be the most Democratic states in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states . . . What is immediately clear from the map is that residents of the United States were very Democratic in their political orientation last year. . . All told, 29 states and the District of Columbia had Democratic party affiliation advantages of 10 points or greater last year. This includes all of the states in the Northeast, and all but Indiana in the Great Lakes region. There are even several Southern states in this grouping, including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky. An additional six states had Democratic advantages ranging between 5 and 9 points. In contrast, only five states had solid or leaning Republican orientations in 2008, with Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska in the former group, and Nebraska in the latter."

Five Weeks Out: Who Is In A Better Position To Win?

Posted Sep 28, 2008 at 2:28 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's state-by-state analysis of the electoral map suggests that Obama is now in a better position to reach 270 electoral votes. Why? Because most of the states that are now rated "Too Close To Call" have gone Republican in recent cycles (FL, VA, IN, OH, CO, NV, NC) versus two that have gone blue (MN, PA) and one more that has flipped in the last two presidential races (NH). Furthermore, at this point, Obama is in a slightly better position in the two blue swing states than McCain is in most of the red, where the Republican now leads in six, but by just a few points, and trails in the seventh (CO). This suggests--at this point in time--that Obama is having an easier time holding onto his turf than McCain. Can this electoral equation shift? Absolutely, and did in the weeks following the Republican convention, when McCain pulled into the stronger position. The danger for McCain, however, is that the race has returned, more or less, to pre-convention numbers that had remained stable since June. In other words, with the race back to where it was--with Obama holding a modest but discernible lead--it is possible that the wave of support that the Democrat has ridden for all but a few weeks could solidify, making it much more difficult for McCain to reclaim the momentum. For Obama, the danger lies in the electoral math if the race should remain close: even if he wins all of the states won by Democrat John Kerry in 2004--including NH, where the race is now a virtual tie--he will still need to pick off Ohio or several other states that have gone Republican in recent years. The next few weeks will be very important for both candidates.

2008: Looks Like A Nail Biter . . .

Posted Sep 07, 2008 at 2:04 AM by Maurice Berger

With National periodic and daily tracking polls now reporting the race a tie (Rasumssen this morning: 48% to 48%) and both candidates appearing to inch up over the 45% level, are we in for a nail biter of a campaign?

The answer would appear to be yes. In 2006, the Democrats took back both houses of congress in a political environment that was even worse for the Republicans than it is today. Yet, the national race remained very close. Indeed, the Democrats took back the Senate by winning two highly contested elections-- Montana, and Virginia--by 3,000 and 8,000 votes respectively out of millions cast. In other words, the nation was and remains fairly evenly divided.

Conventional wisdom suggests that Obama should be way ahead right now--given voters generally negative view of the Republican brand. Yet, sharp divisions within the electorate suggest that both parties are evenly divided in support, with each maintaining a base of about 40%. This leaves independents, unaffiliated, and undecided voters to make up the difference. And these voters, too, appear to be wavering and divided. After the DNC, many independents shifted towards Obama. Now they are moving back to McCain. With the Democratic and Republican bases now firmly in place, it is this shift that will account for each candidate's lead (or lack thereof) in the coming weeks.

These conditions are not that different from the last three presidential and national cycles. Indeed, the grand national realignment that the Obama campaign touted several months ago--in which Democrats maintained they would be competitive in tradition Republican strongholds such as the Dakotas, North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, and Kansas--does not appear to be materializing. McCain is now leading in all of these states (by significant margins in some, and with only North Dakota possibly in play), in good part because he has solidified the Republican base and fired up Evangelicals and Christian conservatives.

Right now we're back to an electoral map that appears similar to 2000 and 2004--with just a few extra swing states thrown in (Colorado, Virginia, and New Hampshire being the most volatile right now).

A nail biter, indeed.

Tomorrow's Map Today UPDATED

Posted Aug 29, 2008 at 9:30 AM by Maurice Berger

In addition to new calls this morning on Today's Map, PollTrack has updated Tomorrow's Map Today to reflect recent polling trends in a number of battleground states.

How the Maps Work

Posted Aug 22, 2008 at 7:47 AM by Maurice Berger

For new visitors or for old visitors who would like a refresher course, here is a guide to PollTrack's unique mapping system. Remember, both Today's Map and Tomorrow's Map will be changing continuously throughout the election cycle, so check back often.

First, an overview: our innovative presidential election maps offer a snapshot of where things stand and where they are headed in the state-by-state hunt for electoral votes. Armed with public opinion polls, the history and demographics of each state, knowledge of the nation’s geographic and cultural diversity, and common sense and intuition, political director Maurice Berger offers continuous updates and a blog (below map) on the state of the presidential race. Today’s Map Today monitors its current status. Tomorrow’s Map Today charts its momentum in the coming days or weeks. And Election Day Today records the actual outcome of the 2012 presidential race.

Here's a guide to each map:

Today's Map Today: This map monitors the current status of the race. It gauges the relative strength of each candidate within each state as it presently stands. Each state is marked with its abbreviation and number of electoral votes. Click on a state for commentary in the ongoing PollTrack blog.

States are called on an ongoing basis: Blue and Red for “Safe” Democrat or Republican respectively, Light Blue or Light Red for states currently “leaning” toward one party or another. Determinations are based on a combination of factors, including poll averages, trends in most recent polling that contradict or call into question the accuracy of these averages, and on the ground reports and information. For diehard red or blue states (like Idaho or DC), little polling may be available, so the state will be called on the basis of on the ground reports and/or its stable voting history.

Tomorrow's Map Today: This map charts the momentum of the race. It tracks the hunt for electoral votes in each state as it might play out in the coming days or even weeks. States are called on an ongoing basis: Blue and Red for trends that suggest “Safe” Democrat or Republican respectively, Light Blue or Light Red for trends that suggest a state is “leaning” toward one party or another. Determinations are based on a combination of factors, including movement in the most recent polling, a state’s demographics and voting history, on the ground reports and information, and news about a candidate's state-wide political activities.

Election Day Map Today: This map forecasts the outcome of the 2012 presidential race. Win Democrat or Win Republican respectively. Determinations are based on a combination of factors, including long term and recent trends in state-wide polling, a state’s demographics and voting history in relationship to these trends, on the ground reports and information, and news about a candidate's state-wide political activities. States are called on an ongoing basis, with Blue (Democrat) and Red (Republican) indicating PollTrack’s long-term prediction for a state. NOTE: calls are made only when voter opinion begins to solidify in each state, thus this map will fill-in slowly over the next two and half months.