Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Trump Wins Ohio, Clinton Virginia

Posted Nov 08, 2016 at 10:40 PM by Maurice Berger

As expected.

Today's Presidential Map: The Race Draws Closer

Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:33 AM by Maurice Berger

New calls by PollTrack on Today's Map suggest that the presidential race is growing closer. Our new tally (with leaners and safe states factored in):

Obama (D): 255 EVs

Romney (R): 235 EVs

Too-Close-To-Call: 48 EV

Americans Reject GOP Tax Plan

Posted Dec 06, 2010 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CBS News poll reports that a majority of Americans--53%--reject the GOP's efforts to extend Bush-era tax cuts to households earning more than $250,000 per year. Just 26% of Americans support extending the cuts for all Americans, even those earning above the $250,000 level.

Exit Poll in WV: Democrat In Lead For US Senate?

Posted Nov 02, 2010 at 11:37 AM by Maurice Berger

Exit polls in West Virginia, which may or may not be accurate, suggest that Democratic Joe Manchin leads in his race for the U.S. Senate. If Manchin wins, as PollTrack has predicted, the road for a GOP Senate takeover just got steeper, much steeper. So this could be good news for the Democrats, re: Senate control.

Obama Wins Virginia . . .

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 3:00 PM by Maurice Berger

. . . the first Democrat to do so since LBJ's landslide in 1964.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Is McCain Recovering in West Virginia?

Posted Oct 20, 2008 at 4:42 AM by Maurice Berger

Two polls out yesterday--from NBC/Mason-Dixon and PPD--report that McCain is retaking a statistically significant lead in West Virginia, at + 8% and +6% respectively. Are the narrowing national poll numbers now starting to show in the more competitive battleground races? Stay tuned.

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.

A Red Flag Out Of The McCain Campaign

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 3:44 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign that republicans may be worried about Obama's inroads into Republican leaning states--such as Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri (where several new polls indicate a modest Democratic lead)--the McCain campaign appears to be giving up on the idea of competing hard in most, if not all, of the states that John Kerry won in 2004. In other words, the Republicans are now plotting a very limited path to victory, one that includes most of the 2004 red states and a handful of blue states not now in play, such as New Hampshire and Pennsylvania: "Confronting an increasingly bleak electoral map," the campaign of Sen. John McCain is "searching for a 'narrow-victory scenario' and [will] focus in the final weeks on a dwindling number of states, using mailings, telephone calls and television advertisements to try to tear away support from Sen. Barack Obama." Barring a dramatic turnaround in McCain's numbers--one that would narrow the national race down to a point or two--the Republican's electoral deficit at this point in the campaign will be very difficult to overcome.

Could A Narrowing In National Numbers Be Significant?

Posted Oct 16, 2008 at 2:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A reader asks: why is a narrowing in the national polls significant, especially with Obama more than 100 electoral votes ahead of McCain on Today's Map? With nearly twice as many persuadable and undecided voters than at this point in the 2004 election--and 45% of respondents saying that Obama is not qualified to be president (only Michael Dukakis in 1988 had a higher rating in this regard)--any tightening of the race could be meaningful. And if history is any guide, the survey that now shows the race the closest--IBD/TIPP--was also the most accurate in predicting the outcome of the last presidential election. (Given PollTrack's reliance on polling averages, you might want to take this observation with a grain of salt.) National numbers, however, are not the whole story: we elect presidents not through natiowide totals but 51 winner-take-all statewide contests (save for NE and ME, where EVs are split by congressional districts). Ultimately, national advantages often trickle down to the states. As national numbers change, so eventually can the numbers in battleground states. The average lag between national and statewide trends is a week or two. Indeed, today, we're seeing a slight tightening--and improvement in McCain's polling averages--of several states, including North Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, and Colorado. Still, a number of national polls report a wide lead for Obama, so statewide trending could also increase the Democrat's advantage in the battlegrounds.

The Erratic West Virginia Polls

Posted Oct 16, 2008 at 1:02 AM by Maurice Berger

With one poll showing a slight Obama advantage in the state--and others indicating a McCain lead--West Virginia is turning out to be difficult to read. PollTrack continues to rate the state "Leaning Republican" on Today's Map. The Public Policy Polling organization thinks it has the answer: the difficultly of securing accurate and representative polling samples in the state. PPP writes:  "If someone can get me a random sample of people who voted in the 2004 general election, 2006 general election, or 2008 primary in West Virginia then we will poll it. Concern about being able to get a sample of sufficient quality there is what makes us, and I'm guessing other companies that do registration based sampling, hesitant to poll there. That's not a problem with most other states."

Is West Virginia Slipping Way From McCain?

Posted Oct 11, 2008 at 12:54 AM by Maurice Berger

With a recent ARG poll showing Obama up +8 in West Virginia, the Republican trending state--once of the most reliably Democratic in the nation--may suddenly be a problem for the McCain campaign. The Republican's overall PT average lead in the state is now at +2.3%. But if the activity of the McCain campaign is any indicator, West Virginia may once again be trending blue. As CNN reports: " In what may be another signal that the troubled economy is forcing John McCain’s campaign to play electoral map defense, Sarah Palin has scheduled a bus tour for Sunday through West Virginia, a state that’s been leaning red throughout this presidential race. Palin had already scheduled a bus tour of Pennsylvania on Saturday, but she will now repeat that act on Sunday by making various unannounced stops throughout West Virginia, culminating in a campaign event in southeast Ohio."

Today's Map: SC and WV Move From "Safe" to "Leaning Republican"

Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 3:56 AM by Maurice Berger

On the basis of recent polling in each state, PollTrack moves both South Carolina (Rasmussen: McCain +6%) and West Virginia (Mark Blankenship Enterprises: McCain +5%) from "Safe" to "Leaning Republican" on Today's Map. Both states continue to trend "Safe" on Tomorrow's Map.

Election Day Map Today

Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 1:51 AM by Maurice Berger

Based on statewide polling over the past month, PollTrack has a number of new calls on Election Day Map Today. In the coming weeks--as trends are established and voter opinion appears to be solidifying--more states will be added to the final tally. Stay tuned . . .

Can Either Candidate Break The Tie?

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

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

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