Thursday, October 30, 2008

EV 10/30: Doesn't look all that close

More than ten Florida polls conducted since 10/26 show Obama with an aggregate lead of three points (48-45%), so we make it blue today. Similarly, five polls since 10/27 give McCain a three point advantage in Goergia, so it's red again. The ones that are still too close to call:

-- Missouri, where six polls since 10/26 have Obama leading by one (48-47), and North Carolina, where eight polls since 10/26 give Obama two-point lead (49-47). Indiana is also tight as a tick, where six polls since 10/28 have Obama one point ahead (47-46). Last-minute-deciding voters on Election Day will be the difference in each of these states.

--Montana and North Dakota are each in a dead heat on the basis of a single poll of each state that is aged a week or two. They're probably not that close, but stranger things have happened, so we'll leave them as is.

-- As for what you're hearing on your teevee about "swing states" and "battleground states" like Ohio and Pennsylvania ... forget them. Obama has them both locked down, with six- and twelve-point leads in multiple (as in more than 10) recent polls since 10/27. Arizona isn't all that close either despite what you may be hearing; McCain has an aggregate six-point lead, 50-44 in four recent polls.

<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>

But hey, I'm just PDid the Blogger who wants a book deal. Don't pay attention to me; look at what Nate Silver says:

Number one, John McCain is NOT closing Obama's margin as quickly as he needs to (if indeed he is closing it at all). This appears to be a 6- or 7- point race right now ... that's where we have it, that's where RCP has it, that where has it. In order to beat Barack Obama, John McCain will need to gain at least one point per day between now and the election. Our model does think that McCain has pared about a point off Obama's margin -- but it has taken him a week to do so. Now, McCain needs to gain six more points in six more days. And he needs to do so with no real ground game, no real advertsing budget, and no one particularly strong message. Not easy.

Number two, John McCain is NOT gaining ground in the states that matter the most. The top tier of states in this election are Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania. There is lots of lots of polling in these states, particularly in Virgnia and Pennsylvania, and it's all coming up in roughly the same range, showing Obama leads in the high single digits (in VA and CO) or the low double digits (in PA). The second tier of states is probably Ohio, Florida and Nevada. McCain seems to be getting a bit stronger in Florida; Obama seems to be getting a bit stronger in Ohio and Nevada. McCain does seem to have halted Obama's progress in some of the third-tier states, particularly Missouri and North Carolina. On the other hand, some other third-tier states, like New Mexico and particularly New Hampshire (where Obama is getting some insane numbers lately), now appear to be off the table.

My feeling is that John McCain still needs some sort of external contingency to win the presidency. Even if some of the more conservative turnout models are correct AND even if he were to win large majorities of the undecided vote, he is probably a little bit too far behind to catch up. Rather, McCain will need to find some way to eat into some fraction of Obama's decided vote, and because most of Obama's support is quite hard (e.g. enthusiastic), that will not be easy to do."

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