A wave of state polls released early today both confirms other trends - Ohio and Colorado are toss-ups, New Mexico clearly leans Obama, McCain has opened a wide lead in Georgia - but also deliver some surprising results. Obama leads in an Indiana poll, taken by a reliable polling firm; two out of three Florida polls find the race tied when most surveys since the GOP convention had found a comfortable lead for McCain (this comes in the heels of a CNN poll yesterday that found Obama leading by 4% in a five-way race, and appears to justify the campaign’s determination to contest the Sunshine State); and McCain has a comfortable lead in Virginia, contradicting the recent SUSA, PPP and Rasmussen surveys (a CNU poll that had McCain leading by 9% yesterday is not worthwhile as it grossly under sampled black voters).
Overall, the morning’s news is better for Obama than it is for McCain, for no other reasons than the Democrat continues to gain nationally. He now trails in none of the four tracking polls, as all of them move in Obama’s direction one more time. The numbers are now remarkably similar to those recorded prior to either convention, indicating that the race has settled back to its mid-August dynamics. On to the latest full roundup of presidential polls (and keep in mind that National Journal’s polls have a relatively small sample of 400 respondents and a large margin of error 4.9%):
- First, the trackings: Obama has opened a 49% to 43% edge in Research 2000, a 48% to 44% lead in Gallup (back to where the race was on September 4th). He has moved into a tie in Rasmussen at 48%, leads 46% to 42% in Diego Hotline.
- Obama leads 49% to 45% in a national Quinnipiac poll taken from the 11th to the 16th. He leads by 14% among women.
- Obama leads 47% to 44% in a Selzer poll of Indiana. While Selzer & Co is based in Iowa, this is a very trusted polling firm. Obama only leads in Indianapolis, so turnout in that city will be key.
- McCain leads 48% to 41% in the All State/National Journal poll of Virginia. Obama trails by 15% among independents.
- Obama leads 49% to 42% in the All State/National Journal poll of New Mexico.
- Obama leads 52% to 44% in a SUSA poll of New Mexico. Obama has a large lead among Hispanic voters, 69% to 28%.
- Obama leads 46% to 45% in the All State/National Journal poll of Colorado. Obama gets 83% among Hispanics.
- McCain leads 42% to 41% in the All State/National Journal poll of Ohio. A high 13% are undecided. Obama gets 81% of Democratic voters, trails by 15% among independents.
- The candidates are tied at 44% in the All State/National Journal poll of Florida. Obama gets 86% of Democrats.
- McCain leads 50% to 44% in a SUSA poll of Florida in which Obama only gets 71% of the Democratic vote! McCain also led by 6% in early August, but there is a lot of regional movement since then: McCain gains big in the conservative North, while Obama gains in swing Central Florida, where the candidates are now tied.
- The candidates are tied at 46% in an ARG poll of Florida, though McCain leads among independents.
- McCain leads 48% to 45% in an ARG poll of New Hampshire. Independents are tied.
- McCain leads 57% to 41% in a SUSA poll of Georgia. McCain crushes Obama among white voters, 77% to 20%.
- Obama leads 60% to 36% in a Rasmussen poll of Vermont.
- McCain leads 60% to 34% in an ARG poll of Nebraska. While ARG does not provide a breakdown by district, Obama would need to be more competitive statewide to have a shot at NE-02.
- McCain leads 59% to 37% in an ARG poll of South Carolina.
The difference in Florida polls appears to be clearly due to the level of Democratic support Obama gets. This has always been a key problem he has faced, and it’s unclear how much the convention period has helped him. Democrats will clearly be very happy that Obama is dominating among Hispanic, as that is a very important factor in determining who will prevail in the Southwestern states (and, to some degree, in Florida).
This will also reinforce Obama’s determination to contest Indiana; there were some hints a few weeks ago he might withdraw, and then again when he pulled out of Georgia. But there are now enough polls to conclude that Indiana is highly competitive, particularly with news that half-a-million new voters have registered this year alone. It would be good to see some numbers from Nebraska’s second district to dtermine whether Obama’s red state outreach is having the same success there.
That said, the state numbers underscore how nothing is won yet for Obama: Florida and Ohio appear to be toss-ups at best, Virginia looks to be all over the place, and Colorado polls were more favorable early summer. The equation remains the same for Obama: keep all the Kerry states, add Iowa and New Mexico and find 5 more electoral votes.