More polls: Dead heats in key states, McCain leads in OH, Dem opening in KY-03 and CA-04

The two-week state polling embargo seems to finally be broken! After the day’s first polling wave showed McCain enjoying a bounce nationally but the race remaining stable in the key battlegrounds of Michigan, Virginia and Colorado, more surveys released by Rasmussen confirm that neither candidate is catching a clear break in swing states. All the Rasmussen polls were conducted exclusively on Sunday (one-day polling is generally frowned upon, especially on a week-end) and carry a relatively large margin of error of 4,5%:

  • In Colorado (polling history), Obama leads 49% to 46%. He leads by 10% among independents. Last month, McCain was up by 1%.
  • In Ohio (polling history), McCain has a solid 51% to 44% lead. Last month, McCain led by 5%. Obama has two problems: He only has 78% of the Democratic vote and he trails by 26% among independents! (Note that this is the third Rasmussen poll in a row to find McCain with a big lead in Ohio, something no other polling outlet has found.)
  • In Florida (polling history), it’s a tie at 48%. Obama has a big lead among independents, but he is here again weak among his base (79%). Last month, McCain led by 2%.
  • In Pennsylvania (polling history), Obama has a 2% lead, 47% to 45%. He led by 3% last month. Here again, Obama must solidify his Democratic base: he is only at 74%.
  • In Virginia (polling history), McCain is up 49% to 47%. That’s only a 1% improvement over August.
  • Finally, a last state poll came from SUSA in Washington. SUSA finds Obama’s lead collapsing to only 4% - down from 8% in August and 16% in July.
  • Finally, the Alaska poll commissioned by the NRSC that I blogged about earlier also contained presidential numbers, and confirms that McCain is now ahead, 55% to 34%. This also means that the NRSC’s New Hampshire poll is the only one for which presidential numbers were not released (contrary to Colorado and AK), further suggesting that the NH numbers might not have been good for McCain.

To recap: There is almost no movement in any of these states. Colorado moves by 4% in Obama’s direction, and Florida by 2%. Ohio moves by 2% in McCain’s direction, while Virginia and Pennsylvania move by 1%. All these margins (but Ohio’s) and trend lines are well within the margin of error. If anything, the most worrisome result for Obama comes from Washington, and that’s not a state in which McCain has any investment for now.

In other words, the electoral college situation seems largely unmoved after the two conventions, and there is much less movement in the key battlegrounds than in national polls. This is certainly not inexplicable: While veepstakes and convention coverage happens in a vacuum in states like Maryland or Texas (thus amplifying its impact), it is largely drowned by an army of volunteers and millions worth of ads in states like Ohio and Virginia.

Furthermore, keep in mind that if Obama keeps Michigan and Pennsylvania (and he has led in every survey from both states all summers) and lives out his advantage in Iowa and New Mexico (which are currently both leaning Democratic), any of the other four states polled by Rasmussen would be enough to put Obama over the top. That is not to say that Obama is in any way assured of victory, just to point out that the election is still being waged on red territory. That’s in some sense good for both candidates: The states McCain needs to win have leaned Republican in past elections, and Obama can concentrate on offense.

Meanwhile, we got two House polls:

  • In CA-04, an internal poll for the Charlie Brown campaign has him with a narrow lead against Republican McClintock, 43% to 41%. That’s obviously well within the margin of error.
  • In KY-03, a SUSA poll finds Rep. Yarmuth keeping a lead against former Rep. Anne Northup, 53% to 45%. Yarmuth led by 10% two months ago.

Neither district is considered to be in the top-tier of competitive House races, as both are currently rated lean retention. It would be nice to see independent polling in CA-04 to see how much of a shot Brown really has in this conservative district. In KY-03, Yarmuth might be the incumbent but Northup cannot be regarded as a complete challenger considering she was a longtime representative of the district and she mounted an unsuccesful gubernatorial run in 2007.

7 Responses to “More polls: Dead heats in key states, McCain leads in OH, Dem opening in KY-03 and CA-04”


  1. 1 Quentin

    The Palin pick has definitely solidified McCain’s base, but will McCain’s base be enough to offset Obama’s (unpolled) Ground Network in Red States and counter the losses McCain is surely to get amongst Jewish and Independent voters? Palin being a part of the Ultra-Rightwing constituancy is bound to turn as many voters off as it turns on. There has not been much talk about if McCain loses Florida, but the Palin pick almost assures that he will. Obama’s strategy in Virginia does not include rural/Evangelical voters. The plan is to bring out African Americans, students and college degree holding young professionals. Palin can galvanize these groups also…for Obama. Does anyone else agree?

  2. 2 zoot

    Quentin, not sure I agree with your analysis. There are several demographics in the Jewish vote, and they vary from state to state.

    The college and post-college, professional person doesn’t vary too much from his non-Jewish peers. Lots of former Clinton supporters, but they seem to be making a grudging peace with Obama. While Israel may be an issue, many of them understand that continued violence is a dead end and that there needs to be a diplomatic resolution. There’s strong concern about reproductive right, womens health and social justice issues, and lingering anger over Iraq - they’ll stick with Obama.

    That however is not what you find in FL. There were and are many Clinton supporters down there, but they’re less likely to move quickly to Obama. That group consists largely of snow-birds and retirees, with a strong affinity for AIPAC thinking, where Middle Eastern politics, Israel’s security issues and a dread of Iran fuse to make them open to McCain and suspicious of a ‘liberal’ Dem, particularly with spurious Muslim emails still flying around. Even those who preserve their historical Dem allegiance are still affected by this. Furthermore, they may be much more concerned about possible Dem tax increases given their total reliance on investment accounts for day to day expenses.

    I don’t see anything about McCain that will lessen his support in this voting bloc. It will take something much more concrete about Palin in particular to move this group - close association with Buchanan, for example, with his anti-Israel positions and a history of anti-Semitic slurs.

    It can happen, but I’m far less certain than you seem to be that it will.

  3. 3 Quentin

    The reason why I questioned the Jewish vote is because Palin has been linked to 2 Anti Semites (as Jews would see it). Buchanan; she attended convention in home town as mayor, the campaign says it was out of gratitude. Jews for Jesus speaker at her church in August. This group feels that terroism on Isreal is deserved because of they crucified Christ. The campaign’s response was that she has no control of guest speakers at her church. Jews are wary of Rightwing exstremist (especially snow birds, since a lot are old and can either remember the Holocaust more easily). This isn’t 3 stikes then your out. Obama’s Jewish surrogates (wexler,etc.) are pounding this right now. What kind of person or politician lets themselves be put on the record at numerous Anti Semetic speeches and rallies? If Obama went to a Nation of Islam rallies in order to fund raise, what do you think Jews would think. The Million Man March is one but I don’t think McCain can pursue it because of it’s historical significance.

  4. 4 Quentin

    Ed Koch, Jewish Leader and former New York Mayor endorses Obama and volunteers to campaign for him. The reason…Gov. Palin (he campaigned for Bush in 2000 and 2004). McCain has turned off the snow birds and conservative Jews as I predicted. Can McCain still win Florida?

  5. 5 Teezy

    Sorry Quentin, but Newsweek already shot down the false pro-Buchanan b.s. from the lefty bloggers and wingnut Wexler, along with several other smears that the Obama trolls continue to propagate.

  6. 6 Taniel

    I might have more about this later, but a quick note in the conversation to confirm that the Koch endorsement could prove significant; even if it doesn’t move more works, it seems symptomatic of McCain’s gains among Jewish voters being potentially erased.

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