A deluge of state polls released over the past 24 hours test the presidential election in almost all states we might want to have results from. And, as will often be the case over the next 6 weeks, the overall picture is inconclusive, with different polls finding differing results from the same state. Today’s example of such confusion is Virginia, where both candidates lead in two polls (update: I should have noted that McCain’s two leads are within the margin of error and Obama’s two leads are outside.) The take-away lesson is clear: Results from the most competitive states are more often than not within the margin of error. That includes, in today’s polls alone, NV, NH, PA, OH, VA, MN and NC.
That said, a few results seem significant enough to merit more attention. First, Obama leads by double-digits in yet another New Mexico poll, and has a comfortable advantage in a new Iowa survey. Both of these states were won by Bush in 2004, and both appear to be solidly anchoring themselves in the Obama column. That’s not a surprise for Iowa, but New Mexico looked extremely competitive at the beginning of the summer, so while we might be getting used to Obama leads in both of these states, it is a crucial development in the presidential race as it means that Obama can count on 12 electoral votes from red states - not enough to win him the White House, but enough to put him in striking distance.
Another significant result is Rasmussen’s poll of Michigan, where Obama extends his lead to 7%. This is the second poll in a week (after Marist’s poll) to find the Democrat gaining a comfortable advantage in what is generally considered the most endangered blue state. While other surveys in the same period have shown Obama’s lead within the margin of error, this could mean that Obama is improving his position in one of the states that is hurting the most economically. It should also be noted that today’s polling roundup contains the first good news for Obama from Minnesota in quite a while (he leads by 8%) and a survey that finds him with some breathing room in Wisconsin (he leads by 5%). On to today’s full roundup:
- Obama leads 51% to 47% among likely voters in a CNN national poll; among registered voters, he leads 51% to 46%. In the previous post-convention CNN poll, the candidates were tied at 48%. In a five-way-race, Obama leads 48% to 45% with 4% for Ralph Nader and 1% each for Barr and McKinney. Also: 47% of respondents blame Republicans for the financial crisis, while 24% blame Democrats; voters trust Obama more to deal with an economic crisis; and Obama leads by 14% when respondents are asked who represents change.
- As for the trackings, Obama leads in all fours: He is suddenly boosted up in Diego Hotline (49% to 44%), maintains a 1% lead in Rasmussen and a 4% lead in Gallup (48% to 44%) and loses one point to lead 48% to 42% in Research 2000.
- Obama leads 51% to 45% in a SUSA poll of Virginia. Obama led by 4% last month. He trails by 3% among independents and looks very solid among Democrats.
- McCain leads 50% to 48% in a Rasmussen poll of Virginia. Both candidates have high party loyalty, independents favor McCain.
- Obama leads 49% to 46% among likely voters in an ABC/Washington Post poll of Virginia; among registered voters, he leads 50% to 44%. Both candidates have very strong party loyalty, while independents split. [Update: I should have noted this, but Obama has a 5% lead among likely voters (outside of the MoE), when Barr and Nader are included. Among registered voters, Obama leads by a full 51% to 43% in a four-way race!)]
- McCain leads 48% to 46% in an ARG poll of Virginia.
- McCain leads 50% to 47% in a Rasmussen poll of North Carolina. He led by 4% last month. Obama and McCain have a comparable favorability rating.
- Obama leads 46% to 44% in a Mason Dixon poll of Pennsylvania. The poll was taken last Tuesday to last Thursday.
- Obama leads 48% to 45% in a Rasmussen poll of Pennsylvania. Last week’s poll found a tie. The swing here is among independents - who have gone from McCain to Obama.
- Obama leads 51% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of Michigan. He led by 5% two weeks ago. He gets an impressive 90% among Democrats.
- McCain leads 51% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll of Florida. He led by 5% last week as well. Obama is still under 80% among independents Democrats.
- McCain leads 50% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll of Ohio. Obama has managed to get himself above 80% of Democrats, but his party loyalty is still weaker than McCain’s and he trails among independents. The margin of error in this poll is a relatively high 4.5%, so McCain’s lead remains with the MoE.
- Obama leads 53% to 42% in a PPP poll of New Mexico. Obama’s lead among Hispanics (59% to 35%) is a bit smaller than we have seen of late.
- McCain leads 46% to 45% in a Suffolk poll of Nevada. The poll was taken over the past week.
- McCain leads 47% to 45% in a University of New Hampshire poll of New Hampshire. That’s a 5% improvement for the Republican in what is a trusted poll in the Granite State.
- Obama leads 52% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of Minnesota. He led by 4% last month.
- Obama leads 48% to 47% in an ARG poll of Minnesota.
- Obama leads 50% to 45% in an ARG poll of Wisconsin. Obama leads by 7% among independents.
- Obama leads 51% to 44% in an ARG poll of Iowa.
- Obama leads 51% to 42% in an ARG poll of New Jersey.
- McCain leads 57% to 39% in an ARG poll of Georgia.
- McCain leads 55% to 39% in an ARG poll of South Dakota.
- Obama leads 55% to 39% in an ARG poll of California.
Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:
- In Minnesota’s Senate race, Norm Coleman is up 48% to 47% against Al Franken in Rasmussen’s latest poll. Last month, his lead was 3%. Third-party candidate Dean Barkley only has 3% (other polls have found him much higher).
- In North Carolina’s Senate race, Kay Hagan leads Elizabeth Dole 51% to 45% according to Rasmussen’s latest poll. Dole lead by 12% in Rasmussen’s July poll.
- In New Mexico’s Senate race, Tom Udall leads Steve Pearce 57% to 37% in PPP’s latest survey.
- In NJ-05, GOP Rep. Scott Garrett leads 49% to 34% against Rabbi Shulman in a Research 2000 poll. McCain leads Obama 52% to 37% in the district (Bush won 57% to 43%).
- In MO-09, Blaine Luetkemeyer leads 49% to 40% against Democrat Judy Baker in a Research 2000 poll.
- In LA-06, an internal poll for the Cazayoux campaign has Rep. Don Cazayoux leading 48% to 32% for Bill Cassidy and 9% for Michael Jackson, a Democrat who is running as an independent. In July, Cazayoux only led by 5%. A key factor in Cazayoux’s improvement appears to be his exposure during Hurricane Gustav, as 64% approve of his Gustav-related work.
- Sen. Inhofe leads 56% to 34% in a Research 2000 poll of Oklahoma’s Senate race.
Some of these results are very encouraging for Democrats, particularly on the Senate side. There is no doubt remaining that Elizabeth Dole is in very serious trouble, as this is the second poll in a row (after PPP’s week-end survey) to find Kay Hagan leading outside of the margin of error. Those DSCC polls appear to have truly damaged Dole’s image. Democrats will also be comforted that Al Franken remains highly competitive despite the Republicans’ best attempts to discredit him.
As for House races, it would be very interesting to see independent polling out of LA-06. Don’t forget that Jackson is taking most of his votes from Cazayoux, so it is somewhat difficult to believe that Cazayoux could have that high a level of support with another Democrat hovering around the double-digit mark. But if Cazayoux enjoys any kind of advantage, that would already be a boost for Democrats, as he is one of the only Dem-held seats that are rated lean take-over in my latest House ratings. But Research 2000’s poll from MO-09 brings good news for Republicans and should damp Democratic hopes in an open seat that is deeply conservative; a SUSA poll released earlier in September found Luetkemeyer leading by 12%.