There are now enough polls released every day that it becomes difficult to find a consistent trend out of all the noise. Or perhaps there is no trend to be observed other than the race’s continuing tightness. Of the four Florida and Michigan polls that were released over the past 36 hours, all are well within the margin of error.
That said, both candidates have good news in today’s poll delivery. For McCain, staying so close in Michigan in polls taken during the financial crisis is a testament to how big an opportunity this state continues to be for him. And McCain has leads outside of the MoE in Ohio and Missouri today, though the latter is not such an unqualified blessing: the GOP was hoping to be close to closing the deal by late September, but a 4% margin is not going to dissuade Obama from competing in the Show Me State. And yet another poll finds that McCain can breath easier in North Dakota.
For Obama, staying so close in Florida is a relief given that numerous polls have found McCain gaining since early August. We saw last week that McCain is now spending more than a million dollars a week in the Sunshine State, something the GOP once thought it could avoid. And Obama’s double-digit lead in Iowa confirms that the state’s 7 electoral votes are increasingly solid in his column: This is the third poll in the past two weeks to find Obama leading by double-digit (after SUSA and Selzer & Co). Finally, North Carolina’s PPP poll is only the second ever (after Rasmussen’s April poll) to find a tie. At the very least, this forces the GOP to continue pouring money in the state - something they have been doing this month.
On to the day’s full roundup:
- The tracking polls are showing a stabilizing race: Obama took a 48% to 47% advantage in Rasmussen yesterday (his first lead in 10 days) and maintained it today; Research 2000 found Obama up 8% yesterday, and up 7% (49-42) today. Diego Hotline has Obama leading 45% to 44% for the third straight day, and Gallup showed Obama increasing his lead to 6% yesterday (hitting 50 for only the second time ever) but back down to a 49% to 45% advantage today.
- Obama leads 43% to 42% in an EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan. Obama led by 2% in July and August. When respondents are presented with a full-ticket match-up, Obama leads 45% to 42%. The poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday.
- Obama leads 48% to 46% in an ARG poll of Michigan. He leads among independents but is relatively weak among Democrats.
- McCain leads 47% to 45% in a Miami Herald poll of Florida. It was conducted Sunday through Wednesday. Obama has a 9% edge on the economy. McCain gets 17% of former Clinton supporters.
- McCain leads 46% to 45% in a Research 2000 poll of Florida.
- McCain leads 48% to 42% in a Ohio News Organization of Ohio. The poll is somewhat dated - it was taken the 12th to the 16th. 19% of independents are undecided.
- The candidates are tied at 46% in PPPs poll from North Carolina. Bob Barr gets 5%. Only once before had there been a tie in North Carolina (Rasmussen’s April survey). 58% of respondents rate the economy as their biggest concern. The poll was conducted from the 17th to the 19th.
- Obama leads 53% to 39% in a Research 2000 poll of Iowa. Obama leads by 18% among independents.
- McCain leads 49% to 45% in a Research 2000 poll of Missouri. In the July poll, Obama led by 5% - but that was somewhat of an outlier.
- McCain leads 53% to 40% in a Research 2000 poll of North Dakota. He led by only 3% in July.
- Obama leads only 50% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll of Maine. There is no breakdown by district, but if Obama cannot win statewide by a larger margin he would be in danger of losing the first district’s EV.
- McCain leads 51% to 45% in a Rasmussen poll of South Carolina, a surprisingly close result.
- Obama leads 54% to 43% in an ARG poll of Connecticut.
- Obama leads 54% to 39% in an ARG poll of Maryland.
- McCain leads 59% to 36% in an ARG poll of Tennessee. Obama gets 27% of the white vote.
- Obama leads 56% to 36% in a Research 2000 poll of Illinois.
- Obama leads 56% to 40% in a Rasmussen poll of Illinois.
- McCain leads 52% to 25% in a Press Register poll of Alabama.
Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:
- Kay Hagan leads Elizabeth Dole 46% to 41% in PPPs poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. She led by 1% last week.
- Chris Shays and Jim Himes are tied at 45% in an internal poll for the Himes campaign in CT-04.
- Sam Graves leads Kay Barnes 51% to 42% in a SUSA poll of MO-06.
- Bill Sali leads Walt Minnick 46% to 35% in a Research 2000 poll of ID-01.
- Jim Risch leads Larry LaRocco 56% to 33% in a Research 2000 poll of Idaho’s Senate race, a clear improvement over his 10% lead in July.
- Lindsay Graham leads 50% to 41% in a Rasmussen poll of South Carolina’s Senate race. This was accompanied by an improbably tight presidential survey, so take the tightness here with a grain of salt as well.
This is the second time Hagan is posting a 5% lead, testifying to how unpredictable that Senate race has become given that other surveys are still showing Dole ahead. This is a race in which the presidential coattails will play a crucial factor. It’s unlikely Hagan can win if McCain wins in a blowout, but she would look very strong if Obama is within 2-3% of McCain.
Today’s polls also find more worrisome news for down-the-ballot Democrats, starting with Graves’ expanding his lead in MO-06, in what is one of the Democrats’ most coveted seats. We have seen this trend for a few weeks now: Democrats are not improving their position in the second-and-third tier races, the ones that would transform a strong congressional night into an amazing one.