Thursday polls: North Dakota migrates into the competitive column!

Alaska and Montana polls already showed a stunningly tight presidential race. Now, here is North Dakota. Rasmussen’s first poll from the state suggests that this state Bush won by 27% has become highly competitive:

  • Obama and McCain are tied at 43%. When leaners are included, McCain is at 47% and Obama at 46%.

Montana’s 3 electoral votes are unlikely to get Barack Obama much closer to the White House. Neither would Alaska’s 3 electoral votes. But these two red states moving towards the competitive column together starts to become interesting for Obama — particularly when we add North Dakota’s 3 electoral votes. Here we have three states that Democrats are looking to contest this year. Obama is airing ads in all of them and has visited or is making plans to visit all of them.

The day’s other presidential polls include:

  • Pew’s national poll finds Obama leading 48% to 40% against McCain. A month ago, Obama was up 3%.
  • Rasmussen’s survey of Wisconsin has the Democrat ahead 50% to 39% (52-42 with leaners). He benefits from an excellent favorability rating (61%, 57% for McCain).
  • A poll of Illinois — also taken by Rasmussen — finds Obama ahead 50% to 37%, 52% to 41% when leaners are included.

I have put in question McCain’s hold of Arizona because of polls that have found the race to be in high single-digits. I have to be consistent here and point out that a 11% lead in Illinois is a very disappointing result for Obama and one that does not speak well of his popularity in his home-state. And don’t forget that Democrats are hoping that Obama’s coattails will carry a number of Democrats across the finish-line in districts like IL-10, IL-11 and IL-06. Thankfully for Obama, this is only one isolated poll whereas McCain has suffered from a series of underwhelming Arizona polls.

As for Wisconsin, it is naturally one of the most important states in the election, and one that has clearly been trending in the Democrat’s direction ever since he secured the Democratic nomination and started to unify the base. The RNC clearly believes that Obama is vulnerable since this is one of only 4 states in which it is airing its ad on energy. But Obama has opened a consistent lead in state polls and Democrats are hoping the state is moving back to its blue roots.

The down-the-ballot polls that were released today were much less interesting, but they allow us to verify that races that absolutely no one are talking about are indeed not competitive:

  • In North Dakota’s gubernatorial race, GOP Governor John Hoeven has no trouble crushing his Democratic opponent 66% to 26%.
  • In Montana’s gubernatorial race (the poll was actually released a few days ago), Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer trounces his opponent 61% to 32%.
  • In Illinois’s Senate race, finally, Senator Durbin leads his Republican challenger 61% to 27%.

Of these three races, only the Montana one could become interesting in the (very) unlikely chance Obama chooses the long-shot but sometimes-mentioned Schweitzer as his running-mate.

9 Responses to “Thursday polls: North Dakota migrates into the competitive column!”


  1. 1 Mark

    The last poll for Obama in IL, 4 months ago, showed him up by 29.

    Until more polls for IL come out, I would not be too upset by a Rasmussen +13, for if Rasmussen gives him a +13, then he will win by about 22% at least.

    Here is my 4th data poll convergence for the time period of May-June 2008 and the resulting projected EV map and other important details.

    Take a look.

    Since my method is the far more “conservative” method and Obama is still definitely ahead, it is looking good for the fall. McCain is on defense, he is short on cash, he is 72 years old, and his ball and chain is GWB 43.

  2. 2 Mark

    Posting again, the first link did not go through:

    The last poll for Obama in IL, 4 months ago, showed him up by 29.

    Until more polls for IL come out, I would not be too upset by a Rasmussen +13, for if Rasmussen gives him a +13, then he will win by about 22% at least.

    Here is my 4th data poll convergence for the time period of May-June 2008 and the resulting projected EV map and other important details.

    Take a look.

    Since my method is the far more “conservative” method and Obama is still definitely ahead, it is looking good for the fall. McCain is on defense, he is short on cash, he is 72 years old, and his ball and chain is GWB 43.

  3. 3 fritz

    I don’t think North Dakota, Montana, Alaska and Arizona are in play…yet, but Wisconsin is a state that is lost for McCain. The polling trends in these red or purple states are all gradually pulling to Obama. If/when the press ever starts to cover McCain and his followers gaffes like they do Obama’s (compare the importance of Gramm & Jackson remarks & the media coverage of them ) the McCain boat will sink like a stone.
    As for Illinois: if McCain wins here he wins in a landslide; at this point a very unlikely event.

  4. 4 Guy

    What is interesting is that of the six weak Democratic states in 2004 (MI, WI, MN, WA, OR and PA) only MI seems to be in play at the moment. This is great news for Obama because he is free to spend time and money attacking GOP States like VA, IA, OH, FL, CO etc as well as the perenial swing states like NM and NV. McCain is playing defence and bearing in mind Bush didn`t get a huge electoral vote victory in 2004 that is bad news for the GOP.

  5. 5 Brent

    Using RCP’s interactive map, I see several viable scenaria (out of a multitude) in which McCain can win toss-ups like MI, VA, NM etc. and Obama still hits 270…so long as he takes CO with its 9 points AND a 3-pointer like Alaska etc. CO plus 3 seems like a particularly strong combination for Obama.

  6. 6 Craig

    I honestly do not feel McCain has much chance in Michigan. People continually talk about how the Republicans have a chance here but it hasn’t been pulling through since 2000.
    In 2006 the Governor race was said to be close but Granholm, Democrat, ended up winning by 14 points, 10 points higher than in 2002.
    A lot of people will say “oh I think I might…” here in Michigan but then end up staying with who they trust.
    Plus, here we have Detroit. And I know for a fact that the Obama campaign is doing all it can to register voters there knowing that they will come out for him. This is a fact that it seems many polls fail to take into account.

  7. 7 Joe from NC

    I agree with Craig. I’d go a step further and say that if McCain manages to win in November, the map will be mostly the same as in 2004. Aside from possibly NH (and recent polls dispute even that), he is unlikely to win any Kerry states.

  8. 8 Jim W

    Going into the year I thought that Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would be the blue states that the Democrat nominee would have any chance of losing. I’ve pretty much have eliminated Minnesota from this list now, and Wisconsin an Pennyslvania are pretty likely Dem again. Even Michigan, at least to me, leans towards the Dems.

    What I’m more interested now is how the Dems plan to spend the money available in the Red states. Not as much as for this year results, but for laying seeds for future Democrat candidates.

    I think that Obama will capture IA, NM, CO and OH in November. Virginia is a pure tossup. Obama has a decent chance at states like MO, FL, and NC although they do lean towards McCain. Alaska, ND, ant MT are not necessarily long shots, but for Obama to capture these states he will have to continue spending money to fight off the future GOP smear campaign (we all know that it will come).

  1. 1 Is It Obama Or McCain For North Dakota?

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