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Category Archive for ‘MI-Pres’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'MI-Pres' Category


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Poll watch: McCain tightens national race and PA but remains far behind; McConnell pulls ahead

Update: Two new national polls should help Obama supporters sleep tonight. First, it appears that CBS News is now also conducting a tracking poll, as they just released their second national poll in two days. The margin remains the same, 54% to 41% for Obama among likely voters. Second, the final Gallup/USA Today poll just came out and finds Obama leading 53% to 42% among likely voters; this poll was conducted Friday through today, and carries a huge sample of more than 2400 respondents. Obama led by 7% three weeks ago in this poll, meaning that there is no consistent evidence that the race has tightened. [To make things clear: It appears that this latter poll is Gallup's tracking poll released half-a-day early.]

Original post: McCain has made gains nationally, and there are some signs undecided voters appear to be breaking towards the Republican more than towards his opponent (all polls do not agree on this). He has made gains in Pennsylvania. But 48 hours from polls closing, he is still in a deep hole at the national level and in a number of states that have become must-wins, starting with the Keystone State.

Three new Pennsylvania polls conducted over the past three days have Obama leading by 6% and 7%, certainly a smaller margin than Obama enjoyed just 10 days ago (he has lost 6% in Morning Call in four days and 5% in SUSA in a week) but still a substantial advantage. Unless something dramatic happens tomorrow, it is hard to imagine how McCain can reverse a deficit that all polls agree is at least in the mid-single digits. (Furthermore, Rasmussen’s poll conducted yesterday has him gaining 2% for a 6% lead; since we have to assume that polls are dramatically understating McCain’s support in Pennsylvania if we want to seriously look at the possibility of his comeback bid seriously, which makes trendlines very important.)

Pennsylvania is not a state in which Democrats are likely to be caught by surprise; it is a state in which they have a strong operation and a machine that allowed Al Gore and John Kerry to eke out narrow victories in the past two presidential elections. It is also a state in which they have made gains over the past four years (just read today’s “one year ago today” excerpt in the sidebar). On the other hand, it is a state in which racial factors could disrupt the results if there is indeed such a thing as a Bradley effect; it is also a state in which there is no early voting, meaning that Obama has not locked in any state. In other words, it is as good a state as any for McCain to make his last stand.

At the national level, the bottom line remains the same: Pew and CNN released their final polls, and, while the latter shows McCain gaining a massive 9% in one week as undecideds heavily break towards him, both show Obama retaining a comfortable lead. Similarly, the tracking polls are going in both directions, suggesting most of the movement is statistical noise, and all but IBD/TIPP find a solid lead for the Illinois Senator. Overall, Obama is at or above 50% in eight of the nine national polls released today; McCain’s support ranges from 43% to 46%.

Despite what we are hearing left and right, this suggests that there isn’t that much discrepancy between national polls. And even if a number of surveys suggests that undecided voters are moving towards the Republican nominee, he will have to grab the lion share of undecideds while also pulling away support from Obama. That’s a tall order three days from the election, especially because a fair amount of remaining undecideds are disgruntled Republicans unhappy with Bush. Getting them home is a necessary condition for McCain to mount a comeback, but it is not sufficient.

What is perhaps most worrisome for McCain is that Pennsylvania might not even matter if Obama loses the Keystone State but sweeps Colorado, Nevada and Virginia - which new polls suggests he very well might, despite some tightening in polls from the Old Dominion.

However, here is what gives Republicans some hope: For one, the movement among undecideds. Second, the belief that nearly all pollsters are using a false turnout model. Today’s seven Mason-Dixon polls force us to take that possibility seriously, as Mason-Dixon is a very serious polling outfit that has had great success in past cycles. Like seemingly every other poll they have released this cycle, Mason-Dixon’s polls are more favorable to McCain than other pollsters, suggesting that if Mason-Dixon had a national tracking poll they would find a somewhat tighter race than other firms. The early voting data suggests that turnout will be favorable to Democrats, but such disputes are of course why elections are not decided by polls but by voters… (Note, also, that Mason-Dixon’s polls were conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, making them somewhat outdated.)

  • Obama leads 53% to 46% in CNN’s final national poll conducted Friday and Saturday. Obama has a 8% lead in a four-way race. He led by 5% in a poll conducted two weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 52% to 46% among likely voters in Pew’s final national poll, conducted Thursday through Saturday. This is quite a drop from Pew’s poll conducted the previous week in which Obama led by 15% among likely voters (53% to 38%, implying that undecided voters have heavily broken towards the Republican). Obama leads by 11% among registered voters. 47% are sure they will not vote for McCain, while only 38% say the same about Obama.
  • Trackings: Obama gains 2% in Washington Post/ABC (54% to 43%), 1% in Zogby (50% to 44%). The margin is stable in Rasmussen (51% to 46%), in CBS News (54% to 41%) and Research 2000 (51% to 44%). Obama loses 1% in Gallup (52% to 43%, though he loses 2% in the LVT model for an 8% lead), 2% in Hotline (50% to 45%) and in IBD/TIPP (47% to 45%). Obama’s leads are thus: 2%, 5%, 5%, 6%, 7%, 9%, 11%, 13%.
  • Pennsylvania: Obama stops the bleeding in a Rasmussen poll taken Saturday, leading 52% to 46%; that’s up from the 4% he enjoyed in a Thursday poll but 1% down from a poll taken on Monday. Obama leads 52% to 45% in Morning Call’s tracking poll, his smallest lead since October 1st. Obama lead 51% to 44% in a SUSA poll conducted Thursday and Friday (he led by 12% two weeks ago).
  • Virginia: Obama leads 50% to 46% in a SUSA poll conducted Thursday and Friday, the tightest margin since mid-September. Obama led between 6% and 10% in the past four SUSA polls, though most of the change in this poll can be attributed to a much tighter partisan breakdown. Obama leads 47% to 44% in a Mason Dixon poll conducted Wednesday and Thursday. Of the 9% who are undecided, 75% live outside of Northern Virginia and more than 90% are white. Obama led by 2% ten days ago.
  • Colorado: Obama leads 49% to 44% in a Mason Dixon poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. Obama leads among independents by an impressive 25%.
  • Nevada: Obama leads 47% to 43% in a Mason Dixon poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. That margin is just within the MoE.
  • Ohio: McCain leads 47% to 45% in a Mason Dixon poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. He led by 1% two weeks ago. Obama leads 52% to 46% in a Columbus Dispatch poll that was conducted by mail and that should thus be taken with a huge grain of salt; it widely overstated Democratic support in 2006 though it has also had successes
  • North Carolina: McCain leads 49% to 46% in a Mason Dixon poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday; the candidates were tied two weeks ago.
  • Missouri: McCain 47% to 46% in a Mason Dixon poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday; McCain also led by 1% two weeks ago
  • Iowa: Obama leads 54% to 37% in Selzer & Co’s very reliable Des Moines Register poll conducted Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Minnesota: Obama leads 53% to 42% in a Star Tribune poll. He led by the same margin two weeks ago.
  • New Mexico: Obama leads 52% to 45% in a SUSA poll; Obama leads by 19% among the 60% of voters who say they have already voted.

Meanwhile, in down the ballot polls:

  • Kentucky, Senate race: The two pollsters that had found a dead heat in mid-October now find McConnell pulling ahead. SUSA, which had a tie at 48%, now shows McConnell leading 53% to 45%. Mason Dixon has McConnell gaining four points to grab a 5% lead, 47% to 42%.
  • Colorado, Senate race: Mark Udall leads 47% to 43% in a Mason Dixon poll of Colorado’s Senate race, though independents vote for Udall by a large 19%.
  • Minnesota, Senate race: Al Franken leads 42% to 38% in a Star Tribune poll, with 15% going to Barkley. Two weeks ago, Franken led 39% to 36% with 18% for Barkley.
  • In NM-01, an Albuquerque Journal poll conducted this week has Democratic candidate Martin Heinrich leading 47% to 43%.

Mason-Dixon’s Colorado’s poll is further confirmation of the pollster’s GOP lean, as all other pollsters have found a wide Udall lead over the past two weeks; I am not saying that having a GOP lean disqualifies Mason-Dixon (we won’t know whose turnout model is most appropriate until Tuesday), but this one particular margin is not supported by any recent poll. Their poll from Kentucky, however, finds the same findings as SUSA and Rasmussen have this week: Senator McConnell appears to have pulled away. Lunsford is well within striking distance, but with 2 days to go the trendlines favor the incumbent.

In New Mexico, both open races remain highly competitive. (NM-01 is rated lean Democratic in my latest ratings while NM-02 is a toss-up.) The high number of undecided voters in NM-02 leaves hope to Republicans, as that is a conservative district where Republicans could come home.


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Poll watch: Opposite trends in OH and FL, Bachmann in trouble, GA Senate heading to runoff

Today’s polling roundup is certainly not as favorable to Barack Obama as yesterday’s, but there is still no sign that the tide is turning - with only 10 days of campaigning left before Election Day. The national polls, for one, remain where they have been for most of the past two weeks: Obama is above 50% in six of the seven tracking polls (a remarkable showing that confirms McCain has to do more than appeal to the undecided) while McCain is, once again, stuck in the low 40s (from 41% to 45%).

The one state in which McCain has not only stopped the bleeding but appears to be making up ground, however, is Florida. Over the past week, new surveys from Politico, Mason Dixon, Quinnipiac, PPP, Rasmussen, SUSA and Research 2000 all showed some movement (between 10% and 1%) towards the Republican nominee. That said, Obama remains ahead in a number of these surveys, and the best McCain can muster remains within the margin of error. The day’s second good news for McCain is a Rasmussen survey from North Carolina in which he is narrowly in the lead; this survey breaks a stunning series of 16 North Carolina polls without a McCain lead.

The overall picture that comes out of the day’s polling has little to suggest that McCain’s position in the electoral college is any less precarious than it was yesterday. That grabbing a 2% lead in North Carolina amounts to good news for McCain tell us all we need to know about the current dynamics and where the electoral battle is being waged. Besides North Carolina, the tightest states in this polling roundup are Indiana (where two polls find mirroring results) and… Georgia, where Obama grabs his first lead ever!

All three of these states were won by Bush by double-digits in 2004 - and they are the ones that look highly competitive today! The states that were expected to be tight continue to tilt towards Obama - and that is starting to include Ohio. Yes, McCain posts a 3% lead in a Strategic Vision poll, but Insider Advantage gives Obama a 10% lead which is very significant: No poll taken since the general election started had found Obama up by double-digits… until yesterday. Insider Advantage’s poll is the third poll in two days to have Obama leading by such a margin. On to the full polling roundup:

  • The tracking polls once again seem to converge towards the 7% mark, a margin that appears to be the epicenter of the race. Obama gains 3% in IBD/TIPP (46% to 42%), 2% in Research 2000 (52% to 40%) and Hotline (50% to 43%), 1% in Gallup (51% to 44%). Rasmussen remains stable, 52% to 45%. He loses 2% in Zogby (51% to 41%) and in Washington Post/ABC (53% to 44%). Thus, Obama’s leads today are: 4%, 7%, 7%, 7%, 9%, 10%, 12%
  • Ohio: Contrasting results and a wide gap in two polls: Obama leads by 10% in an Insider Advantage poll, his third double-digit lead in two days (there have been no others since he wrapped up the nomination), and he led by 5% in IA two weeks ago. However he trails 48% to 45% in a Strategic Vision poll of Ohio (he led by 2% two weeks ago).
  • North Carolina: McCain captures his first lead in a Rasmussen poll since September 18th, 50% to 48%. The poll was conducted last night, and it is a five point shift towards the Republican over a poll conducted on Saturday. This poll breaks a stunning series of 16 NC polls in which McCain had not led a single time.
  • Indiana: Contrasting results from two good pollsters: Obama leads 49% to 45% in a SUSA poll. McCain led by 3% three weeks ago. McCain leads 48% to 43% in a Mason Dixon poll.
  • New Hampshire: Obama leads 50% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll taken yesterday. He led by 10% three weeks ago, however, so there is some tightening.
  • Georgia: Obama leads 48% to 47% in a stunning Insider Advantage poll (this is the fourth IA poll in a row to find Obama gaining since McCain’s 18% lead in early September). McCain leads 50% to 44% in Strategic Vision.
  • Iowa: Obama leads 52% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll, maintaining his 8% lead from late September.
  • Michigan: Obama leads 54% to 40% in an EPIC-MRA poll (up from 10%).
  • Winthrop/ETV released three Southern polls today, all taken over an inexplicably long period of time: September 29th through October 19th! This means that these polls have very little value, but here they are nonetheless: Obama leads by 1% in Virginia and North Carolina and McCain leads by 20% in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Georgia Senate race: Three polls show a tight race, all with GOP Sen. Chambliss leading within the MoE. He is ahead 44% to 42% in Insider Advantage (there was a 45% tie two weeks ago). Chambliss is also ahead 46% to 44% in a Strategic Vision poll, with 5% for Libertarian candidate Buckley.
  • North Carolina gubernatorial race: Pat McCrory leads 51% to 47% in a Rasmussen poll. He led by the same margin two weeks ago.
  • In MN-06, Elwin Tinklenberg leads GOP Rep. Michelle Bachmann 47% to 44% in a SUSA poll. He also leads 45% to 43% in a University of Minnesota poll, in which 40% of respondents say Bachmann’s rants makes them less likely to vote for her.
  • In IL-10, Dan Seals leads 49% to 44% against GOP Rep. Kirk in a Research 2000 poll. He trailed by 6% two weeks ago.
  • In KY-03, Rep. Yarmuth (D) leads 57% to 41% in a SUSA poll.
  • In FL-08, Alan Grayson leads 52% to 41% against GOP Rep. Keller in a DCCC internal. The Keller campaign responded by releasing an internal poll of their own taken over the same period and showing the incumbent ahead 47% to 43%.

The Georgia Senate race is in a category of its own at this point. Not only is it highly competitive (and the DSCC has already poured in more than $1 million), but the candidacy of Libertarian candidate Buckley could guarantee that the race goes in the runoff because of Georgia’s two-round of voting system. We can discuss another time who a runoff would help (and in my opinion it would clearly boost Chambliss), but for now an important metric is to look at how distant those candidates are from 50%.

In House races, meanwhile, the 5 independent polls all bring good news for Democrats - particularly the two from MN-06 that confirm that Bachmann’s comments have endangered her hold on the district. The polls were taken before the DCCC and Tinklenberg’s heavily funded ads had any chance to make an impact, so things could get worse for Bachmann.


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GOP defense, Dem offense: Everyone’s shifting resources to red states

The Republican ship is sinking, and it is happening up and down the ballot, with states, Senate seats and House districts no one thought would even be talked about now looking like dead heats. The GOP is retreating, trying to build some sort of firewall that would enable it to hold its position while Democrats are spending prodigious resources seeking to dramatically expand the map to staunchly red territory.

West Virginia and… Kentucky?!: Who would have thought on May 13th that Obama had any chance of making West Virginia remotely competitive? He had just been crushed by Hillary Clinton in a state that could have made Al Gore president. Yet, after weeks of speculation and polls showing the campaigns neck-and-neck, the campaign is now airing ads in the state! Not only that, but the campaign is discussing airing ads in North Dakota, Georgia and… Kentucky!

It is somewhat surprising, then, that Obama is not including Arkansas, a historically Democratic state that is probably becoming more competitive if West Virginia is tightening. There have been a grand total of three polls since mid-June, so it is hard to tell. But what is most interesting in Obama’s choice to contest these states is what it signifies about Appalachia’s demographics: Democrats are no longer afraid that Obama will be crushed among the region’s blue-collar white voters. Beyond West Virginia, that puts Obama in a very strong position in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The Obama campaign is now all-offense, all the time and across the board. It has enough money to contest more than a dozen red states, and McCain cannot afford to give any of them up besides Iowa and New Mexico. And the GOP simply doesn’t have the resources, the time and the breadth of surrogates to do that. If McCain is going to change the dynamic of the campaign, he needs to do so at the national level.

RNC pulls out of Maine and Wisconsin, moves in Colorado and Missouri: The GOP has been retreating from the blue states, and here are two more signs of that. Sure, the McCain campaign is staying on the airwaves in Wisconsin, so this does not represent as consequential a pull-out as the Michigan stunner, but it is undoubtedly a sign that numbers are not moving in McCain’s direction. It is also striking how quickly the RNC moved in and out of Maine, as they only started airing advertisements in the state last week.

But it is now all defense for the GOP, as McCain needs to sweep all the remaining competitive red states - a number of which are now leaning Obama. Given that McCain has always spent heavily on Colorado, it is telling that the RNC feels the need to move in there: Republicans are worried that Obama is now preparing to up his advertisement even more, even in states whose airwaves are seemingly saturated.

Obama (partially) pulls out of Michigan: When McCain (stunningly) dropped Michigan two weeks ago, Democrats warned that they did not trust the sincerity of that move and that they suspected the GOP of looking to move back in once Democrats had let off their guard. As a result, Obama continued heavy advertising for the past two weeks (he spent more than $2 million last week, compared to… zero spending for from the GOP) and kept his staff in place to continue organizing a heavy ground game. But with most polls now showing Obama leading by double-digits in what was once seen as the ultimate battleground state of this election, even his campaign is now decreasing its efforts.

The campaign is scaling back TV buys and sending away many Michigan paid staffers to other states. It is unclear where exactly these staffers are going, but early indicators point to North Carolina and Missouri - red states that Obama is now highly contesting but that he might not have had the resources to fully compete in until recently.

That said, Obama is keeping about 200 paid staffers in the state whereas McCain moved almost every single one of his out. That should guarantee that Obama’s Michigan team will be able to hold off any late October McCain surge, and it will also prove a tremendous boost in Democratic prospects in MI-07 and MI-09.

NRSC pulls out of Louisiana, moves in Georgia: This same pattern is holding at the congressional level, where the NRSC has just pulled the plug on John Kennedy’s Louisiana campaign. This was the GOP’s only chance at a pick-up - and it was a very strong one: it was ranked 5th in my Senate rankings a year ago, and Kennedy led in a few polls. And when the NRSC unveiled its first ad against Landrieu in mid-September, it looked like we were indeed in for a competitive race. But Landrieu had opened up an edge, and the NRSC simply cannot afford to spend money to help Kennedy when it has so many endangered incumbents to take care of! Without national money, Kennedy is likely to be swamped under the DSCC and Landrieu’s attacks.

Instead, the NRSC has chosen to invest in Georgia. Not Minnesota, Oregon, North Carolina, or New Hampshire (all states in which GOP incumbents really need help), but red Georgia that was nowhere on the radar screen as of early August. The DSCC just moved in the state with a $500,000 buy, polls are showing a tightening race and early voting has started. It is panic time for Senate Republicans, as the firewall keeps being lowered.

The good news for Republicans is that only three to four of their seats seem to be lost for sure at the moment. All the others - including Alaska, Oregon and North Carolina - could go both ways. The bad news is that current trendlines are not favoring the GOP - but they hhave 20 days to change that.


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Poll watch: Obama surges in NYT/CBS, leads in OH, CO; Udall pulls away, Dole competitive

It is a testament to Obama’s dominance that a 9% lead in a national poll or a 2% lead in a Missouri survey almost seem underwhelming. But there is no question that almost every single polling data over the past two weeks oscillates from very good to stunning for Obama. Democrats are left worrying that Gallup’s tracking has Obama up only 7%, that Hotline is only at 6% or that Obama’s advantage in Suffolk’s Colorado survey is only 4% - and the very same day brings surveys that have Obama up double digits nationally and by 9% in Colorado.

The New York Times/CBS national poll is particularly noteworthy, of course, as the match-up itself (53% to 39% for Obama) is perhaps the least exciting news for Obama in that survey: He has now tied McCain among whites, and has jumped to a very solid hold on registered Democrats and Clinton supporters. And there are signs that his multi-million advertisement efforts are paying off, as more voters now think of McCain as susceptible to raise their taxes!

While Obama’s lead in this poll is certainly on the high end of his national results, what should frighten Republicans is that it is in no way out of line with other surveys and other internals: Most polls now have Obama in the high 80s among registered Democrats (take a look at Quinnipiac’s latest wave of state surveys, where Obama gets 93% party loyalty in Michigan and Colorado).

Furthermore, Obama continues to improve his hold on blue states (as evidenced by Quinnipiac’s release and the fact that he posts his seventh straight double-digit Pennsylvania lead) and McCain is unable to even hold on a lead within the MoE in any of the competitive red states. Obama leads outside of the MoE in OH and CO today, within the MoE in CO, NC and MO. In fact, this is the third poll in two days that has Obama leading in Missouri. On to the day’s full roundup:

  • Obama crushes McCain 53% to 39% in a national CBS/NYT poll of likely voters! The internals are quite stunning for Obama. Asked which candidate will raise their taxes, respondents answer… McCain, 51% to 46%! Obama leads by 18% among independents, and he gets 63% among first time voters - that number alone should make Republicans panicked, as it is likely those voters are not fully picked up by pollsters.
  • Obama leads 50% to 41% in a national LA Times/Bloomberg poll of likely voters. Three weeks ago, Obama led by 4%. 49% of respondents now say he has the right experience to be president, versus 37% in the previous three weeks ago. Only 10% say the country is in the right direction - the lowest number since 1991.
  • Obama leads 50% to 45% in a SUSA poll of Ohio. McCain led by 1% two weeks ago. Democrats have a strong partisan advantage. 12% of voters say they have already voted, and Obama leads by 18% in that group.
  • Obama leads 52% to 43% in a Quinnipiac poll of Colorado. Obama led by 4% in late September. gets 93% of the Democratic vote.
  • Obama leads 49% to 46% in a PPP poll of North Carolina. He led by 6% last week.
  • Obama leads 48% to 46% in a PPP poll of Missouri. The previous PPP poll of Missouri, taken mid-August, had McCain leading by 10%. A key shift: Obama has gone from 78% to 89% of the Democratic vote.
  • Obama leads 55% to 40% in a SUSA poll of Pennsylvania. This is the same margin as last week.
  • Obama leads 54% to 37% in a Quinnipiac poll of Wisconsin. Obama led by 7% in late September. Today, he gets 92% of the Democratic vote.
  • Obama leads 51% to 40% in a Quinnipiac poll of Minnesota. Obama led by 2% in late September. Obama gets 90% of the Democratic vote.
  • Obama leads 54% to 38% in a Quinnipiac poll of Michigan. Obama led by 4% in late September. He gets 93% of the Democratic vote.
  • Two presidential match-up numbers from House districts: In PA-11, a district Kerry won by 6%, Obama leads by only 4% according to Research 2000. In PA-03, a district Bush won by 6%, Obama leads by 2% according to Research 2000.
  • Four presidential match-up numbers in key swing counties courtesy of Politico and Insider Advantage. All have Obama gaining over the 2004 results: In North Carolina’s Wake County, Obama leads by 6% - a 12% turnaround since 2004. In Nevada’s Washoe County, Obama leads by 1% - a 5% turnaround. In Florida’s Hillsborough County (Tampa), Obama leads by 6% - a 13% turnaround since 2004. And in Colorado’s Jefferson County, McCain leads by 1% - a 4% improvement for Obama.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Mark Udall leads 54% to 40% in a Quinnipiac poll of Colorado’s Senate race. Three weeks ago, Udall led by 8%.
  • Udall leads 45% to 34% in a Suffolk poll of Colorado’s Senate race.
  • Al Franken leads 38% to 36% with 18% to Barkley in a Quinnipiac poll of Minnesota’s Senate race. Three weeks ago, Coleman led by 7% though Barkley was not included.
  • Kay Hagan leads 46% to 44% in a PPP poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. She led by 9% last week, which was a high point for her - but this 2% lead is also a decline from the survey results two weeks ago.
  • Nixon leads 52% to 39% in a PPP poll of Missouri’s gubernatorial race.
  • In PA-11, Lou Barletta leads 43% to 39% against Democratic Rep. Kanjorski in a new Research 2000 poll.
  • In PA-03, Kathy Dahlkemper leads 48% to 41% against GOP Rep. English in a new Research 2000 poll.
  • In PA-04, an internal poll for the Altmire campaign finds the Democratic incumbent ahead 53% to 41%.
  • In MD-01, an internal poll for Frank Kratovil has the Democrat narrowly ahead 43% to 41%.
  • In NJ-03, a DCCC internal poll finds Democratic state Senator Adler leading 37% to 33%, within the MoE.
  • In NJ-07, a DCCC internal poll finds Democratic candidate Linda Stender 40% to 31%.
  • In WA-08, a DCCC internal poll has Darcy Burner ahead 49% to 44%.

Senate: Colorado’s Senate race has been remarkably brutal over the past few months - and yet it has been covered very little nationally, especially compared to the Minnesota or North Carolina Senate races. At the end of the day, this one will matter just as much as the others, and while Udall has been ahead for an entire year now, he has been unable to close the deal and Schaffer has stayed within striking distance. It looks like Udall is finally building a solid lead, as Quinnipiac and Suffolk make it three polls in a row to find the Democrat leading by double-digit. Colorado has not yet joined Virginia and New Mexico as sure Democratic pick-ups, but with 3 weeks until election day the situation is good for Udall.

The two other Senate races find some good news for both candidates. The Minnesota Senate race is certainly now a toss-up after Coleman appeared to pull away in September. Quinnipiac and SUSA, both of whom had big Republican leads here, now have the race within the MoE, and Barkley remains a huge factor. As for North Carolina, I have pointed out many times that the pessimism of Republican operatives isn’t matched by poll numbers, where Hagan has certainly inched ahead but Dole remains highly competitive.

House: First, the independent polls, as they confirm what we already know: Rep. English is not doing well at all, and the extent to which he is vulnerable is surprising given that the race was not in the top tier as of 6 weeks ago. In PA-11, Rep. Kanjorski is in huge trouble, as is any incumbent who is below 40, and he looks set to lose his seat. Not only that, but Barletta’s internal polls are in line with independent surveys whereas Kanjorski’s are way off. But it is the DCCC’s internal polling that continues to differ from independent surveys - with their numbers in NJ-07 and WA-08 being skewed to the Democrat compared to recent independent polling. Make of that what you will, of course, and one could very well argue that the Democrat’s turnout model is more accurate, but as always take internal surveys with a grain of salt unless they are confirmed by independent numbers.


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10th presidential ratings: Obama surges past the 300 mark

There is no doubt that Barack Obama is currently in command of the presidential race, and the past two weeks have seen a dramatic shift in public sentiment. Obama has surged to a stunningly dominant position in all of the Gore and Kerry states (accounting for a total of 264 votes), as the financial crisis undercut months of Republican efforts in Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. At the same time, McCain’s position has been severely damaged in a large number of red states, most dramatically in states like Florida and Missouri that just a month ago seemed to be drifting out of Obama’s reach.

The most difficult decision in this update of my presidential ratings was not whether to lift Obama above the threshold of 270 electoral college, but which red states should be moved to the lean Obama column for him to achieve that feat. The reason the Democrat is in such a dominant position is not simply that he now looks to be slightly ahead in a number of red states (Colorado, Florida and Virginia are here being moved from the toss-up to the lean Obama column) but that he has a high single-digit lead in national surveys.

This situation is one we have not encountered in the past two presidential elections: national surveys matter just as much (if not more) than those at the state level. McCain might still be competitive in all the red states but New Mexico and Iowa, but, unless he substantially improves his position in national polls, it is highly improbable that he can pull off a sweep of all the states he needs to defend - Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Virginia. All of these states are now at best a toss-up for the McCain campaign. The loss of a single one would likely lead to an Obama presidency.

As a result of these shifts, 313 electoral votes are now rated safe, likely or lean Obama - far more than the 270 (or 269) he needs to win the presidency. There are an additional 62 electoral votes that are rated as toss-ups.

However, remember that states that are in the “lean” category are considered to be very competitive and certain to be hotly contested. That means that Obama might be favored to win in November, but his election is no lock. A shift towards the GOP over the next two weeks - perhaps because of Wednesday’s debate - could easily lead Florida, Virginia and Colorado to move back to the toss-up column and Indiana and Missouri to move back to the lean McCain category, leading to a more competitive electoral college.

Without further delay, here are the tenth electoral college ratings (states whose ratings have been changed towards Obama are colored blue, those whose ratings have been changed towards McCain are colored red):

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming (122 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Alaska, Arizona, Nebraska’s 1st district, North Dakota (17 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Georgia, Montana, Nebraska’s 2nd districtWest Virginia (24 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio (62 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Colorado, Florida, Maine’s 2nd district, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Virginia, Wisconsin (79 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: Iowa, Oregon, Maine (at-large + 1st district), Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington (81 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (153 EVs)

This gives us the following map and totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 234 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 313
  • Toss-up: 62
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 163
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 139

I will naturally not attempt to provide an explanation for every single one of these ratings and will concentrate instead on those that have shifted over the past two weeks:

Colorado, toss-up to lean Obama: Colorado’s move into the Obama column was a long time coming. McCain proved remarkably resilient in the state throughout the summer, and by August Colorado looked like the ultimate toss-up. But Democrats gathered in Denver in late August, giving their party added exposure and shifting public opinion in Obama’s favor. Since the convention, at least twenty polls have been released from Colorado, and McCain has only led in two of them (both were taken before the financial crisis erupted, and McCain’s lead in both was within the margin of error). By contrast, Obama has surged to leads outside of the MoE in Rasmussen, CNN/Time, Insider Advantage, Quinnipiac - and even a double digit lead in the latest PPP survey.

One thing that McCain has going for him is that his campaign never neglected Colorado (unlike other endangered red states) and thus has enough of a ground game to stay in the game. Furthermore, Obama is only outspending McCain by 50% in the state (as of the last week of September), which is far less impressive than in other states. Thus, Colorado remains competitive - but with 23 days to go, the edge goes to Obama.

Florida, toss-up to lean Obama: Everything predisposed Florida to be tilting away from Obama: the high number of senior citizens, the importance of the Jewish vote, the fact that Florida had been far more solidly Republican in 2004 than it had in 2000. Yet, a combination of factors have led the dynamics to shift in the state: the Palin pick hurt McCain among Jewish voters, the economic crisis led Obama to surge among registered Democrats and (perhaps most importantly) Obama’s massive spending throughout the summer helped him slowly chip away at McCain’s advantage since the GOP didn’t spend anything in the state’s airwaves throughout the summer.

Even now, Obama is pouring stunning amounts of money in the state (Plouffe said the campaign had budgeted a jaw-dropping $39 million for its Florida efforts) and he outspent the GOP nearly 5:1 in the last week of September! Put all of this together, and it looks like Democrats could avenge the 2000 recount: Obama has led in the 9 most recent Florida polls, a streak that is all the more impressive because a good number of these surveys have Obama ahead outside of the MoE.

Georgia, likely McCain to lean McCain: Poll numbers are tightening after a McCain surge in early September, and early voting numbers hint at very strong turnout among African-American voters. Yet, the Obama campaign pulled out of Georgia a month ago, meaning that a Democratic win in this state would coincidence with an electoral landslide nationally and it would signify that Obama is strong enough in the southern white vote to carry North Carolina and Virginia as well.

Maine’s 2nd district, likely Obama to lean Obama: This is the day’s only rating change that favors McCain. The Arizona Senator moved some resources in Maine as he pulled out of Michigan. And recent polls that show Obama leading by mid-single digits in the state explain why: the second district’s vote is typically a few points more Republican than the statewide total, and that could allow McCain to take away this electoral vote.

Michigan, lean Obama to likely Obama: McCain’s October 2nd pull-out might have come as a complete shock, but the Wolverine State now looks to be a relatively safe Obama hold. Obama has surged to a 16% lead in the latest Rasmussen poll, and the Democrat’s lead will be further protected by the fact that the Obama campaign is not letting down its guard in the state and will continue to organize a strong ground game. But not only have the McCain campaign and the RNC left the state, but the state’s Republican leaders are now badmouthing the McCain campaign.

Missouri, lean McCain to toss-up: Republicans were hoping to have put Missouri away by mid-September as they did in 2004 to be able to concentrate their resources in other vulnerable states, and for a while it looked like the Show Me State was anchoring itself in the GOP column. Not only has Obama closed the gap in SUSA and Research 2000, but he has even taken a narrow lead in the latest CNN/Time and Rasmussen numbers (see polling history). Furthermore, Obama is keeping up a heavy investment in Missouri, outspending the GOP nearly 3:1 the last week of September. This is certainly not where Republicans were expecting to be in mid-October.

Nebraska’s 2nd district, likely McCain to lean McCain: The Obama campaign is making an active push here at the moment. Omaha residents have been seeing Obama’s advertisements for months, since they share a media market with Western Iowa, and Obama just opened a second staffed office in the district. Still a long shot for Democrats, but the McCain campaign is worried enough to have dispatch Sarah Palin to the state.

New Hampshire, toss-up to lean Obama: In 2006, in no state did the Republican Party drown as much as in New Hampshire, whose independents massively turned towards Democratic candidates. Yet, McCain had high hopes for the Granite State, whose independent voters carried him to victory in 2000 against Bush and in 2008 against Romney - and McCain looked highly competitive in New Hampshire polls… until three weeks ago. As the GOP brand has once again collapsed in the wake of the economic crisis, Democrats are more looking confident that they can repeat their 2006 sweep and polls are now showing Obama leading by substantial margins - often in double-digits.

Pennsylvania, toss-up to likely Obama: Many readers of this website criticized me for leaving Pennsylvania in the toss-up column for so long. But as long as Obama regularly polled under 80% of registered Democrats, there was no reason to move Pennsylvania in his column. After all, in few states could culturally conservative Democrats and blue-collar voters hurt the Illinois Senator as much as Pennsylvania. But the economic crisis dramatically transformed the field of play: Obama has jumped to solid levels of party loyalty, and his numbers in Pennsylvania have surged. The past five surveys all have him leading by double digits, between 12% and 15%! That said, the GOP is keeping up its efforts in Pennsylvania, McCain is still visiting the state, and his campaign is still pouring in millions of dollars, so Obama will still have to work to lock the state.

Virginia, toss-up to lean Obama: The polls have significantly shifted towards the Illinois Senator over the past two weeks. McCain did post a lead within the MoE in a Mason Dixon survey, but Obama has jumped to impressive leads in CNN/Time (9%), SUSA (10%), Suffolk (12%), PPP (8%), Insider Advantage (6%). But Virginia is Republican enough a state that I might have left it in the toss-up column if it weren’t for another factor: the McCain campaign has inexplicably neglected the Old Dominion. It was one thing to not believe that North Carolina or Indiana were actually competitive, but it was evident from the early days of the 2008 cycle that Virginia was highly competitive. Yet, Obama has basically had the state’s airwaves for himself for much of the spring and summer, as McCain invested a small fraction of Obama’s spending - and only in Northern Virginia. The RNC recently moved in the state, but Obama is still significantly outspending the GOP’s efforts. The different levels of commitment will also have crucial consequences on the ground game, and it is unlikely McCain can come anywhere near the organizational power Obama has developed in the state.

West Virginia, likely McCain to lean McCain: This is a historically Democratic state that was not supposed to be competitive this year. Nowhere was Obama as crushed by Hillary Clinton in the primaries as in West Virginia, and the Illinois Senator was hurt by his weakness among blue collar voters in Appalachia. Yet, the economic crisis has led registered Democrat to do something they don’t always want to do - vote Democratic in federal races, and nowhere has that changed the game as much as in Appalachia. ARG’s recent poll showing Obama leading by 8% might have been an outlier, but McCain can certainly not count on an easy victory in this state, and Sarah Palin has been dispatched here to fire up conservatives.

History of Campaign Diaries’ electoral ratings:

  • October 12th: + 150 Obama (313 for Obama [153 safe, 81 likely, 79 lean] and 163 for McCain [122 safe, 17 likely, 24 lean])
  • September 27th: + 55 Obama (239 for Obama [154 safe, 43 likely, 42 lean] and 174 for McCain [122 safe, 38 likely, 14 lean])
  • September 20th: +6 Obama (222 for Obama [154 safe, 19 likely, 49 lean] and 216 for McCain [119 safe, 41 likely, 56 lean])
  • August 31st: + 16 Obama (243 for Obama [154 safe, 29 likely, 60 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean])
  • August 20th: + 14 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 32 likely, 55 lean] and 224 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean])
  • July 30th: + 38 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 42 likely, 45 lean] and 200 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 35 lean])
  • July 16th: +28 Obama (255 for Obama [150 safe, 43 likely, 62 lean] and 227 for McCain [90 safe, 78 likely, 59 lean])
  • July 2rd: +11 Obama (238 for Obama [143 safe, 50 likely, 45 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 78 likely, 56 lean])
  • June 18th: +22 Obama (238 for Obama [86 safe, 97 likely, 55 lean] and 216 for McCain [87 safe, 87 likely, 42 lean])
  • June 4th: +20 McCain (207 for Obama [76 base, 107 likely, 24 lean] and 227 for McCain [97 safe, 77 likely, 53 lean])

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Poll watch: McCain stops bleeding in some polls and in IN but trails big in VA, NC, PA and MI

Today’s state poll roundup makes it clear why we can say that Obama is in such a strong position in the electoral college race. First, he looks to have locked away the blue states: Three weeks ago, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania were all in dead heats. Today, most surveys from these states are finding Obama leading in double-digits, or at least high single-digits. Today’s Strategic Vision survey is, incredibly enough, the fifth consecutive poll to have Obama leading by at least 12%! And Rasmussen finds Obama leading by 16% in the Wolverine State, once an incredibly vulnerable state for the Illinois Senator.

Yes, an ARG poll finds Obama’s lead within the MoE in Minnesota, and as I have said before this is the one state in which Obama is not gaining (and the one state McCain is outspending him) - but he does appear to be keeping the lead, as Rasmussen and MPR’s polls suggested yesterday.

It is not surprising to see Obama surge by more in those states than in others: Michigan and Pennsylvania are both blue-leaning states, and the Illinois Senator was weak in them because he was significantly underperforming among registered Democrats. The financial crisis has first and foremost gotten Democrats to vote Democratic, and the effect of that is most felt in blue states.

With blue states quickly getting out of reach, it becomes that much more important for McCain to hold on to every single red state but IA and NM. And this is where his position today is interesting, as some polls show McCain has stopped the bleeding: And perhaps most importantly, he climbs back within the MoE (though still trails) in the new Rasmussen surveys of NC and FL and he jumps to a 7% lead in a Rasmussen poll of Indiana, the best polling news he has gotten in a while (perhaps the product of the RNC finally getting involved and convincing cross-over Republicans to stick with the GOP).

But threats are popping up everywhere for McCain. The Democrat surges to an 8% lead in Virginia today; the state looks to be increasingly leaning Obama at this point, as two polls released earlier this week had him up by double digits. He also grabs a 5% advantage in a Civitas poll of NC, while ARG shows Ohio OH his way. Obama even leads by 8% in West Virginia, and while that poll could very well be an outlier (it is, after all, released by ARG), the other surveys released by ARG today have trendlines that are very similar to those of other polls.

Let’s recap: Obama has some sort of lead today - within or outside of the MoE - in Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida and West Virginia. McCain needs to win every single one of these states, and Colorado, and Nevada, and Missouri… It is no surprise, then, that McCain is trying to change the national dynamics. To pull off a sweep of all these states, he cannot rely on his ground game or on luck. He will need to tighten the national numbers. On to the day’s full roundup:

  • Obama maintains his dominant position in the tracking polls, especially now that Hotline (which yesterday was mysteriously showing a 1% race) today has Obama leading 47% to 41%. This confirms that Hotline is the most bouncy of the five trackings. Obama leads 52% to 41% in Gallup, 51% to 41% in Research 2000, 50% to 45% in Rasmussen (-1%), 48% to 44% in Zogby (+2%).
  • Obama leads 51% to 43% in a PPP poll of Virginia. He led by 3% three weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 54% to 40% in a Strategic Vision poll of Pennsylvania. He led by only one in mid-September, but this trend corresponds to that found by most other pollsters.
  • Obama leads 56% to 40% in a Rasmussen poll of Michigan. Obama led by 7% three weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 50% to 47% in a Rasmussen poll of Florida. He led by 7% in a Rasmussen poll released on Monday - but he trailed by 5% ten days ago.
  • Obama leads 48% to 43% in a Civitas poll of North Carolina. The race was tied three weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 49% to 48% in a Rasmussen poll of North Carolina. He led by 3% last week.
  • McCain leads 50% to 43% in a Rasmussen poll of Indiana. He led by 2% last month. This is one of the best polling results McCain has gotten for a while.
  • Obama leads 48% to 45% in an ARG poll of Ohio. He trailed by 6% in mid-September. This survey, like the other ARG polls, was taken both before and after the second presidential debate.
  • Obama leads 47% to 46% in an ARG poll of Minnesota. A mid-September survey found the same margin.
  • Obama leads 52% to 43% in an ARG poll of New Hampshire. McCain led by 3% in mid-September.
  • McCain leads 49% to 46% in an ARG poll of Missouri. He led by 5% in mid-September.
  • Obama leads 50% to 42% in an ARG poll of West Virginia. He trailed by 4% in mid-September.
  • McCain leads 50% to 45% in an ARG poll of Montana. He led by 2% in mid-September.
  • Obama leads 50% to 42% in a Rasmussen poll of New Jersey. He led by 13% last month.
  • McCain leads 57% to 38% in an ARG poll of Texas.

Meanwhile, in down the ballot:

  • Al Franken leads 43% to 37% in a Rasmussen poll of Minnesota’s Senate race. Barkley gets 17%.
  • Mark Begich leads 49% to 45% in an Ivan Moore poll of Alaska’s Senate race. He led by 2% three weeks ago.
  • Jeanne Shaheen leads 51% to 42% in an ARG poll of New Hampshire’s Senate race.
  • Mitch McConnell leads 47% to 38% in an internal poll released by his campaign in Kentucky’s Senate race. The previous McConnell poll had him leading by 17%, so even his pollster finds the race tightening.
  • Pat McCrory leads 43% to 41% in a Civitas poll of North Carolina’s gubernatorial race.
  • In NY-29, Eric Massa leads GOP Rep. Kuhl 49% to 42% in a Research 2000 poll. This is the third poll in a row (including an independent poll by SUSA) to find the Democrat with a significant lead in this rematch of the 2006 race.
  • In MN-03, Democrat Ashwin Madia leads 46% to 43% in a SUSA poll. Last month, Paulsen led by 3%.
  • In AK-AL, Ethan Berkowitz leads leads 51% to 42% in an Ivan Moore poll. He led by 5% three weeks ago.
  • In PA-11, Rep. Kanjorski leads 47% to 39% in a DCCC poll of PA-11. Public polls and Republicans polls have Kanjorski trailing by substantial margins.
  • In MI-09, Gary Peters leads GOP Rep. Knollenberg 43% to 40% in an internal poll for the Peters campaign.
  • In NY-25, Dan Maffei leads 49% to 31% against Republican Sweetland in an internal Democratic poll.

Senate: The best news of the day surely comes for Democrats, who keep their edge in New Hampshire, gain one in Minnesota while yet another survey confirms that Chambliss is vulnerable (the DSCC has still not invested in the state). But Republicans should take comfort in Ivan Moore’s poll from Alaska: Ted Stevens might be trailing, but Mark Begich has not been able to build any sort of comfortable lead over the past few months. That makes it likely that an acquittal would save this seat for Republicans, and given how openly the prosecution is disrespecting the defense’s rights in this trial, Stevens could very well survive the trial - and the election.

House: Democrats get a lot of good news in this wave of surveys. Some of it comes from internal numbers to be taken with a grain of salt (as long as DCCC numbers in PA-11 are at odds with any other poll we are seeing, it is hard to give Kanjorski the benefit of the doubt), others come from independent pollsters. AK-AL, in particular, appears to be anchoring itself in the blue column - and Young will be hard-pressed to benefit from any bounce from a Stevens acquittal. And NY-29 does seem to be drifitng towards Massa, as three polls in a row have found the Democratic challenger ahead outside of the margin of error. The DCCC hasn’t spent any money on this race yet, but this race might soon be added to the lean takeover category.


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Poll watch: McCain ahead in VA, trails in NC; the Udalls, McConnell lead; Perdue, Hayes in trouble

The McCain campaign is predictably trying to spin its way out of the difficult position the Michigan pull out put it in, and it is worth examining their arguments for a moment. The first argument is that McCain’s Michigan investment was only meant to force Obama to spend money. CNN quotes a McCain aide talking about how there was “always a shred of hope” they would be able to win Michigan. Let us say it again: Michigan was at the very top of McCain’s priorities, and at the very top of Obama’s vulnerabilities. Michigan was not a “shred of hope” but a crucial battleground state in which McCain polled very strongly through the spring and summer.

Their second argument is Obama who is on the defensive: “If we win FL, MO, NC, VA, IN and OH — all states Republicans have won for decades — that puts us at 260 electoral votes.” I am unsure how this is meant to show that McCain is still in the game. Most polls released over the past 2 weeks show Obama is running at worst even in each of these states. McCain has not had a lead outside of the MoE in any of these six states for at least 10 days, and in some cases since mid-September, and even if he sweeps each of them he will still not be at 270 electoral votes?

That said, after the meltdown McCain endured in yesterday’s polling, he is showing signs of life in some of today’s polls that should reassure the GOP that the election is certainly not lost. And none of this is to deny that McCain remains within striking distance or that Obama has not been able to gain a consistent edge in red states other than Iowa and New Mexico - only that the past 10 days have been very rough on McCain.

A Mason Dixon poll finds McCain clinging to a lead in Virginia and remaining within the margin of error in Colorado, a state polls released last week suggested was quickly slipping away for the Republican. But today’s polls also show Obama confirming that he has a decisive edge in Michigan, Iowa and New Mexico, posting a comfortable lead in Ohio and coming only 1% behind McCain in Indiana. Perhaps most importantly, Obama leads in yet another North Carolina survey, confirming that PPP and Rasmussen’s surveys taken last week cannot be dismissed and that the state has indeed shifted in the Democrat’s direction.

On to the full roundup of today’s polls:

  • The tracking polls continue to favor Obama, who moves to his biggest lead ever in Rasmussen (51% to 44%). He is ahead 48% to 43% in Gallup, 47% to 42% in Diego Hotline and 51% to 40% in Research 2000.
  • Obama leads 50% to 47% in a Rasmussen poll of North Carolina. Last week’s Rasmussen poll from North Carolina was the first in which Obama had the lead; he has expanded it by 1% since then.
  • McCain leads 48% to 45% in a Mason Dixon poll of Virginia. The candidates are one point apart in the crucial Hamptons Road region, while Obama leads by 20% in Northern Virginia.
  • Obama leads 52% to 44% in a SUSA poll of New Mexico.
  • Obama leads 49% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of New Mexico. He trailed by 2% last month.
  • Obama leads 51% to 41% in a PPP poll of Michigan. He led by 1% in a poll taken just after the GOP convention. Palin’s favorability has fallen since then.
  • Obama leads 49% to 43% in a Democracy Corps (a Dem firm) poll of Ohio.
  • McCain leads 52% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of Montana. That is an improvement for Obama over the previous Rasmussen survey, but he remains far from his summer strength in the state (he led McCain in a July poll).
  • Obama leads 44% to 43% in a poll of Colorado released by little-known pollster Ciruli Associates.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot poll:

  • Pat McCrory pulls ahead in a Rasmussen poll of North Carolina’s gubernatorial race, 50% to 46%. He trailed by 6% in August.
  • Mitch McConnell leads 51% to 42% in a Rasmussen poll of Kentucky’s Senate race. That’s an improvement for Lunsford over the previous Rasmussen survey, but a relief for McConnell given that SUSA and Mason Dixon found much tighter races recently.
  • Mitch Daniels only leads 47% to 46% against Jill Long Thompson in a Research 2000 poll of Indiana’s gubernatorial race.
  • Tom Udall leads 58% to 39% in a SUSA poll of New Mexico’s Senate race. In a Rasmussen poll, Udall leads 54% to 39%. In both polls, Udall widens the gap.
  • Mark Udall leads 47% to 40% in a poll of Colorado’s Senate race released by little-known pollster Ciruli Associates.
  • In NC-08, a DCCC poll finds Larry Kissell with a large 54% to 43% lead against Rep. Hayes. The poll also finds Obama leading by 12% in a district Bush carried by 9%, too large a swing to have full confidence in the survey.
  • The Hayes campaign quickly released a recent internal poll of their own. It shows the Republicans leading Kissell 46% to 43%. In an August poll, Hayes led by 10%, and these are not favorable numbers for an incumbent either.
  • In AL-03, Rep. Rogers leads Democrat Segall 45% to 36% in an independent poll taken by Capital Survey Research Center. In an August poll, Rogers led 55% to 32%, so this is quite a bump for the challenger.
  • In ID-01, an internal poll for the Minnick campaign finds him leading Rep. Sali 43% to 38%. The question here is whether a Democrat can go from the high 40s in a heavily Republican district.
  • In TX-10, an internal poll for the Doherty campaign finds GOP Rep. McCaul leading 43% to 38%, putting him in a very vulnerable position.
  • Johanns leads 52% to 38% in a Rasmussen poll of Nebraska’s Senate race.

House: A lot of internal polls to go through today - and as always take them with a grain of salt. That said, the same situation applies in NC-08 that we saw in NV-03 a few days ago. When an incumbent feels compelled to release a poll taken by his own campaign that shows him leading by only 3% with trend lines helping his opponent, there is no doubt that he is highly vulnerable. The DCCC has already spent more than half-a-million dollars in this district, and put together the two internal polls leave no doubt that the race is at best a toss-up and that Kissell might gain an advantage by relying on Obama’s organizational strength.

As for ID-01, TX-10 and AL-03, there are all heavily Republican districts, and while it is possible that Democrats have some success in a few such districts, the challenge for Democrats is to get undecided voters to break their way. In ID-01, Sali is disrespected enough by his party’s establishment that Democrats can take advantage of local conditions.

Governor: After PPP’s polling release a few days ago, this is the second poll in a row to find McCrory and Obama gaining in the same sample, a sure sign that Beverly Perdue is actually in trouble. The Lieutenant Governor was seen as a slight favorite to win this open seat, but McCrory’s strategy of hitting her on reform-related issues appears to be working. North Carolina has become truly fascinating to follow, as different races are going in opposite directions and ticket-splitting will be a crucial factor here.

Senate: Republicans will be relieved that McConnell’s numbers have not collapsed in yet another poll. Sure, Lunsford is within single-digits but McConnell remains above 50% and the numbers are not as terrible as those in SUSA, Mason Dixon and the unreleased private poll Stuart Rothenberg evoked. That said, the race is definitely on our radar screen now, and it will be interesting to see whether the DSCC moves in. Colorado and New Mexico’s races have been static for month: Tom Udall put it away a while ago in New Mexico, while most polls find Mark Udall ahead in Colorado, but not by enough for Democrats to feel confident.


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Stunner: McCain pulling out of Michigan

In truly stunning news that underscores just how much the state of play has deteriorated for the GOP over the past three weeks, Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports that the McCain campaign is pulling out of Michigan - no more TV ads, no more mailers and staff relocated to other states. A campaign event scheduled for next week has been canceled.

There is no possible spin that could obscure how worrisome a development this is for McCain. Obama’s weakness among blue collar voters, the large numbers of Reagan Democrats in the Detroit suburbs, the racial tensions in the state and a combination of other factors conspired to make Michigan a prime pick-up for Republicans. Obama’s poll numbers were weak throughout the spring, and it looked like Michigan had replaced Pennsylvania as the most vulnerable blue state. This is the first state McCain and Palin visited after the GOP convention, after all!

But the campaign’s sudden turn to the economy has undercut McCain’s momentum everywhere in the country - particularly in Michigan, where recent polls have shown Obama jumping to large lead. Just this morning, PPP found the Democrat leading by 10%, up from a 1% lead at the beginning of September. And the reason the McCain campaign’s move is so significant is that it makes the Obama surge permanent. The GOP did not wait to see whether the economy would recede as an issue and whether McCain could regain its footing - they went ahead and cut resources and staffing for one of the hottest battleground states. (Note that nothing prevents the campaign to return to the state if the race tightens, but they would certainly have lost a lot of ground in the meantime.)

We can no longer say that the pendulum could swing back towards McCain and have everything return to pre-convention form. Even if McCain regains his footing and tightens the election, the Michigan pull-out will remain as a major consequence of Obama’s late September gains.

So why would Republicans do this? The answer is obvious: money and time. One of the most important of the 8 questions I outlined last night was whether McCain would have to cut funding to some battleground states in order to defend Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina? I didn’t expect we would get an answer within 24 hours. Republicans were not expecting to have to defend this many red states in October. Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, perhaps even Florida, sure. But having to spend precious campaign time and resources in those three other traditionally reliable red states while also keeping up investments in five blue states?

The Michigan pull-out is a direct consequence of that. The Wolverine State, after all, is an expensive investment. It spans many different media market, including Detroit’s and it requires a lot of staff. Instead, Time is now reporting the McCain campaign is considering investing in… Maine, an inexpensive state which awards its electoral colleges by district, so the GOP might be hoping to at least snatch away one vote there.

What does this mean about the electoral college map? Simply put, it makes it much more difficult for McCain to find a path to 270 electoral votes, and he has no more room for error. Obama now appears comfortably ahead in Iowa and New Mexico, which puts him one red state away from victory. So McCain needs to either sweep all remaining red states (how likely does it sound at the moment that McCain can win all CO, FL, OH, MO, NC, VA, IN and NV) or win at least one blue state. With Michigan out of the picture, that doesn’t leave McCain many options.

New Hampshire (and Maine, if McCain really decides to go there) is too small to be an answer to anything but Nevada, so Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania remain. Neither of these three states appeared as promising as Michigan up until late August, when they all appeared to tighten. Obama has opened a comfortable lead in each of them recently - but McCain needs to stay on the offensive in them.

He also needs to beef up his defense in red states. Even if he picks up a Kerry state, he will need a near-sweep of the battleground red states, and shifting his attention away from Michigan will surely be a way to more effectively defend states like Florida and Virginia. In the latter, the McCain campaign has just opened a dozen new offices. In the former, A much discussed St. Petersburg Times article published today reveals that state Republican officials held a secret meeting this week to discuss the state of the McCain and their worries at what they see as insufficient preparation.

Update: Politico confirms that McCain is now eyeing (and moving staff to) Maine, in an effort to pick up one electoral vote in ME-02. Al Gore won that district by 3%, and John Kerry by 6%. In 2004, Bush ran 5% better in this district than statewide, and recent polls have shown that McCain is close enough statewide that he should indeed be within striking range in ME-02.


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9th presidential ratings: NC and FL’s move to toss-up column gives Obama largest lead yet

The presidential race has seen quite a few dramatic momentum swings over the past few weeks, and that is reflected in the bounciness of my presidential ratings. The margin between Obama and McCain was relatively stable from mid-June to late August, but McCain’s momentum the first two weeks of this month allowed him to close the gap to only 6 electoral votes in my most recent electoral ratings. Since then, however, the economic crisis and the natural fading of McCain’s bounce have allowed Obama to regain his footing and jump to his biggest lead yet - 55 electoral votes.

Obama’s new found advantage comes primarily from the erosion of McCain’s base. Only 174 electoral votes are rated McCain, which is by far his lowest ever (see full history). While the Arizona Senator seems to have solidified his hold on the Mountain West (Obama gave up on contesting North Dakota, and Montana polls suggest that McCain has recaptured a double-digit lead), there is little question that other states that McCain should be winning comfortably have become dead heats: Last week, I moved Indiana to the toss-up column. This week, it is North Carolina’s turn to head out of the McCain column, in what is a devastating development for McCain; Florida also returns to the toss-ups, though that is less dramatic a move, and Obama is close to erasing McCain’s advantage in Missouri as well.

What is most worrisome for McCain in this erosion is that late September is a time a candidate wants to start locking away his most secure states. Instead, the GOP has had to expand its advertisement to Florida late last month, North Carolina two weeks ago and Indiana starting next week. In fact, Indiana and North Carolina’s move to the toss-up column isn’t due to any dramatic and surprising change in those states’ numbers but rather to the fact that we have now reached the final stretch with no sign that these states’ usual partisan affiliation is kicking in.

(Also, note that Indiana and North Carolina - the two reddest states which are now part of the toss-up category - were the two states that held their primaries on May 6th. Could Obama have been this competitive in either state this late in the game had it not been for the extended primary?)

All of this does not mean that McCain is doomed, because Obama has not yet been able to expand his base. This week, 239 electoral votes are rated Obama this week - and that is more or less the level the Illinois Senator has been at for months. He has been able to solidify his hold on Iowa and New Mexico, but other states (notably Minnesota and Wisconsin) have tightened. And while Virginia and Colorado showed signs of moving towards Obama this week (with a number of polls showing Obama leading outside the margin of error in both), a few days of strong polling for Obama in one of his best weeks isn’t enough to remove either from the toss-up column. Yet, Michigan returns to the Obama camp - the only state to move out of the toss-up column this week. McCain has deployed tremendous efforts in the Wolverine State, but it seems like the financial crisis has allowed Obama to finally gain an advantage.

For Obama, the path to 270 remains far more clear than it is for McCain. With Iowa and New Mexico tilting in his direction, Obama needs to retain four endangered blue states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota) and pick-up one more state, with Colorado then Virginia looking like the most promising at the moment (if Obama wins either of those, he would not need to save New Hampshire since 269 should be enough). Those 6 states thus look like the most important at the moment - and take this as further proof that no, it does not all come down to Ohio or Florida this year.

Without further delay, here are the ninth electoral college ratings (states whose ratings have been changed are in bold). Remember that states that are in the “lean” category are considered to be very competitive and certain to be hotly contested, but it is possible to say that one candidate has a slight edge at this time.

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming (122 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska (1st and 2nd congressional districts), North Dakota, West Virginia (38 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Missouri, Montana (14 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia (125 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin (42 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: Iowa, Oregon, Maine (at-large, 2nd district), New Jersey, Washington (43 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine’s 1st district, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (154 EVs)

This gives us the following map and totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 197 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 239
  • Toss-up: 125
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 174
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 160

I will naturally not attempt to provide an explanation for every single one of these ratings and will concentrate instead on those that have shifted over the past two weeks:

Florida, lean McCain to toss-up: McCain was expected to have a more comfortable time in the Sunshine State than Bush did in 2000 and 2004, but the millions Obama poured in the state throughout the summer allowed him to close the gap and have forced McCain to invest in the state - something he did not want to do. But it seems that the Democrats’ goal was not simply to put McCain into a defensive position, and the Obama campaign is dead serious about winning Florida’s 27 electoral votes (and, with them, almost certainly ensuring that they get to 270 electoral votes).

Obama spent a lot of time in Florida last week - and a candidate’s time in late September is a sure sign that the race is hot. David Plouffe has said that his campaign intends as much as $39 million in Florida this fall (that’s almost half as much as McCain can spent nationally), and the Obama campaign dramatically increased its ads last week, as they are now spending about $2 million a week - more than in any other state. While McCain had a consistent edge in August and early September, both men have been leading in recent surveys, almost always within the margin of error.

Iowa, lean Obama to likely Obama: Iowa becomes the only state rated likely or safe Obama in which McCain is airing ads, but we always knew that the Hawkeye State would be very difficult terrain for McCain. He skipped the state’s caucuses both in 2000 and 2008, simultaneously angering residents and missing opportunities to introduce himself to voters. Obama, on the other hand, built an extensive organization here in the lead-up to his January 3rd victory and that network boosts his November 4th prospects. The latest polls have Obama regularly leading by double-digits, and it would surprise no one if McCain were to pull out of Iowa in the weeks ahead to concentrate in resources in states he has a better chance of winning.

Michigan, toss-up to lean Obama: Throughout the spring and early summer, it looked like the GOP was looking to replace Pennsylvania with Michigan as the biggest endangered blue state - and Obama was clearly struggling to perform at the level of a generic Democrat in a state in which his weakness among blue-collar Democrats looked like it could be fatal. And McCain and Palin’s frequent visits to the state confirmed how high it was on the GOP’s priority list. That made it particularly curious to notice earlier this month that the McCain campaign was spending significantly more in Pennsylvania than in Michigan, perhaps a sign that Republicans noticed they were losing ground here.

And as Obama has gained ground nationally in the aftermath of the financial crisis, he was boosted that much more in Michigan - taking a stunning double-digit lead in a number of recent polls (especially the major Michigan pollster EPIC-MRA). Nowhere are Democrats in a better position when the conversation turns to the national economy than in Michigan, one of the most hard-hit states. That said, McCain remains highly competitive in the state, and the race could tighten again if national security comes to occupy a greater place in the campaign in October. And the amount of legal action in the state testifies to its continuing competitiveness.

North Carolina, lean McCain to toss-up: I wrote a long post devoted exclusively to North Carolina’s tightening just two days ago, so you can read that for a full analysis. Obama’s North Carolina numbers had been stunningly strong in the Tar Heel state since the beginning of the year, but the fact that McCain kept a consistent (albeit narrow) edge in every public poll suggested that the state remained McCain’s to lose. That has changed over the past week, as PPP and Civitas released two polls that had the candidates tied (those were only the second and third surveys ever to find such a result, and the first since April) and Rasmussen had Obama narrowly leading - his first edge ever in North Carolina! And there are other indications that North Carolina is highly competitive: The McCain campaign finally went up on the air earlier this month, and the Tar Heel state was Obama’s first campaign stop after the first debate.

Oregon, lean Obama to likely Obama: Oregon was one of the most endangered blue states in both 2000 or 2004, but Obama has always looked stronger the average Democrat in the Northwest. When Clinton was still in the race, general election surveys showed that this region was one of the only ones in the country in which it seemed safe to say that one candidate looked more electable than the other. And the last few months have confirmed Obama’s strength in Oregon: He now regularly leads by double-digits in a state Gore won by only 7,000 (14% according to Research 2000, 11% according to SUSA and ARG).

South Dakota, likely McCain to safe McCain: This deeply conservative state was not rated in the safest of McCain’s columns because of Obama’s surprising strength in the Mountain West throughout the summer. While Obama had only invested in North Dakota and in Montana, some polls suggested South Dakota might not be entirely out of reach - but that door appears to have slam shut as McCain has regained his footing throughout the region.

Washington, lean Obama to likely Obama: Surprisingly, Obama is having more trouble pulling ahead in Washington polls than in Oregon, which is generally considered to be a more competitive state than its Northern neighbor. But what I wrote about Oregon applies here, namely that Northwestern independents and Democrats appear to harbor warmer feelings for Obama than those in the rest of the country, allowing Obama to hold an edge in a region McCain would have loved to contest. And while I had moved the state to the lean Obama column last week, the Democrat has since then recovered in national polls; it is unlikely McCain can contest Washington without holding a national edge.

History of Campaign Diaries’ electoral ratings:

  • September 27th: + 55 Obama (239 for Obama [154 safe, 43 likely, 42 lean] and 174 for McCain [122 safe, 38 likely, 14])
  • September 20th: +6 Obama (222 for Obama [154 safe, 19 likely, 49 lean] and 216 for McCain [119 safe, 41 likely, 56 lean])
  • August 31st: + 16 Obama (243 for Obama [154 safe, 29 likely, 60 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean])
  • August 20th: + 14 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 32 likely, 55 lean] and 224 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean])
  • July 30th: + 38 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 42 likely, 45 lean] and 200 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 35 lean])
  • July 16th: +28 Obama (255 for Obama [150 safe, 43 likely, 62 lean] and 227 for McCain [90 safe, 78 likely, 59 lean])
  • July 2rd: +11 Obama (238 for Obama [143 safe, 50 likely, 45 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 78 likely, 56 lean])
  • June 18th: +22 Obama (238 for Obama [86 safe, 97 likely, 55 lean] and 216 for McCain [87 safe, 87 likely, 42 lean])
  • June 4th: +20 McCain (207 for Obama [76 base, 107 likely, 24 lean] and 227 for McCain [97 safe, 77 likely, 53 lean])

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Poll watch: Michigan swings Obama, Merkley gains, GOP competitive in Alaska races

The battle lines are getting clearer in the presidential race. With Iowa and New Mexico leaning Obama and the Democrat inching ahead in Colorado, keeping the Kerry states would be enough to get Obama to the White House - and he can even afford to lose New Hampshire since a tie favors Obama. With that in mind, we will keep a particularly sharp eye on polls from Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

And today’s news is good for Obama: he continues to post a narrow but consistent advantage in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and Michigan appears to be breaking open in his favor. Three out of five surveys released today have him leading between 8% and 13%, a margin supported by Marist’s 9% earlier this week and Obama’s 5% (7% among registered voters) yesterday. However, Mason Dixon does find a tie in the Wolverine State today.

As long as those five states break Obama’s way, the other states lose importance, so forgive my glancing over the latest toss-up poll from Ohio, McCain’s semi-comforting 8% lead in West Virginia or Obama’s two three 1% leads in New Hampshire. And don’t forget Rasmussen North Carolina survey that I wrote extensively about early this morning. Another poll of importance is Obama’s 5% lead in the latest NYT/CBS poll.

First, the five polls from Michigan:

  • Obama leads 48% to 38% in an EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan. Obama led by only 1% in a EPIC-MRA survey taken just a few days ago.
  • Obama leads 51% to 38% in a Detroit Free Press poll of Michigan conducted by Selzer & Co. Obama leads by 15% when voters are asked which candidate they trust on the economy.
  • The candidates are tied in a Mason Dixon/NBC poll of Michigan. Here, McCain does well in the Detroit suburbs (home of Reagan Democrats), which is key to a victory here.

It’s not a surprise that Michigan would be the state in which we would see the biggest shift as the conversation turns to the financial crisis, as this is among the most hard-hit state economically. But it is a major development, as the McCain campaign (and polls) had long regarded Michigan as the GOP’s biggest opportunity to pick up a blue state. However, note that both campaigns have recently been spending more in Pennsylvania than in Michigan, suggesting that the Keystone State is being recast in its traditional role of most-vulnerable-Democratic-state.

On to other presidential polls, including the three polls from Pennsylvania:

  • Obama leads 47% to 42% in a new CBS News/New York Times national poll. This is the same margin as last week. McCain reclaims the lead among independents.
  • Obama leads 49% to 45% in a Rasmussen poll of Pennsylvania taken Wednesday. He led by 3% in a poll taken on Saturday, so a stable race.
  • Obama leads 50% to 44% in a SUSA poll of Pennsylvania.
  • Obama also leads 46% to 45% in a Suffolk poll of New Hampshire.
  • Obama leads 52% to 41% in a SUSA poll of Oregon. He led by 3% last month.
  • Obama only leads 49% to 44% in a SUSA poll of Maine, which could make him lose one 1EV - and one he cannot afford to lose if he loses New Hampshire as well. (This poll does find McCain leading among 18-34 year old voters.)
  • McCain leads 50% to 42% in a Rasmussen poll of West Virginia. That is a more reassuring lead than other surveys have found lately, and keep in mind that Obama is not investing in the state (though some WV markets overlap with markets from swing states in which Obama ads are running).
  • Safe red states: McCain leads 51% to 42% in a Rasmussen poll of Arkansas.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Jeff Merkley has gained 14% in two months in SUSA’s poll of Oregon’s Senate race and taken a narrow lead (within the MoE), 44% to 42%. Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow gets 8%, probably helping Merkley.
  • Two polls from Alaska’s Senate race find close races: Farleigh Dickinson has Begich leading 47% to 43%, Ivan Moore finds Begich leading 48% to 46% (he led by 3% two weeks ago).
  • Two polls from AK-AL find that Don Young is still alive: Farleigh Dickinson has Berkowitz leading 47% to 41%, Ivan Moore has Berkowitz leading 49% to 44% (he led by 17% two weeks ago). Berkowitz’s unfavorability rating has shot up in Ivan Moore.
  • Kay Hagan leads yet again in a Rasmussen poll of North Carolina’s Senate race - the second Rasmussen took over the past 7 days. She had a 6% lead last week (her largest yet), 3% today: 48% to 45%.
  • Susan Collins does not tremble in a SUSA poll of Maine’s Senate race. She continues to crush Tom Allen 55% to 39%.
  • Jeb Bradley leads Democratic Rep. Shea-Porter 45% to 42% in a UNH poll. He led by 6% in July. Paul Hodes leads by 12%  in his district.
  • An internal poll for the Nye campaign finds the Democrat closing the gap in VA-02, but she still trails 45% to 40%.
  • [Corrected, previous write-up of MI-07 was horribly mistaken] Democratic challenger Mark Schauer of MI-07 released an internal poll finding him leading 42% to 36% against Rep. Walberg. He led by 3% in a May survey.
  • Safe seats: Biden and Markell lead in SUSA polls of Delaware’s senatorial and gubernatorial races. Kerry leads in Massachusetts.

Some excellent news for both parties, as Democrats will be heartened that Hagan and Merkley continue to be more than competitive despite GOP ads stepping up their attacks. MI-07 is undoubtedly one of the Democrats top targets, and any incumbent polling at 36% (even in an internal poll) is in danger. But Republicans will take comfort in the fact that neither of Alaska’s races appear to be over, as the two GOP incumbents are making somewhat of a comeback. The question now is how voters will react to the month-long coverage of Stevens’ trial. Odds are that the coverage of the Senator’s corruption will also hurt Young’s standing.


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Poll watch: Obama seizes edge in CO; Sununu leads in second poll ever

A deluge of state and national polls has some good news for both candidates - but Barack Obama continues to accumulate better results and inch ahead in some of the most crucial battleground states. First, Obama is ahead in all of the day’s national polls, though the margin varies from 1% (Ipsos/McClatchy) to 9% (ABC/Washington Post). Two surveys have Obama leading by 2% (NBC/WSJ and Rasmussen) and two other have him ahead by 6% (Fox News and Diego Hotline).

To get some sense out of today’s sometimes contrasting state results, let’s take a look at which polls from swing states are finding leads outside of the margin of error - the most important of which is Colorado, from which we got three new polls today alone. The past three polls had found Obama leading outside of the margin of error; two of today’s surveys (CNN/Time and Insider Advantage) find the same result. And while Obama’s lead is within the MoE in Rasmussen’s Colorado poll, he still gains 5% in one week, a clear shift towards the Democrat.

That Obama is inching ahead in Colorado is especially significant as Obama leads comfortably in CNN/Time’s new surveys from Michigan and Pennsylvania. If Obama keeps those two large Kerry states, his picking up Colorado would make it very difficult for McCain to win the election - before we even get to Ohio, Virginia or Florida. And perhaps also West Virginia, a state Obama is not competing in for now but where yet another poll shows a smaller than expected margin. Obama also has a large lead in Iowa and Washington, and leads outside of the margin of error in a New Hampshire survey.

That said, McCain gets good news from New Hampshire as well, as he is narrowly ahead in a poll there for the second time this week - but both his leads are well within the margin of error. He also has a narrow lead in Florida and Virginia. He also has a small lead in a Michigan poll from an unknown firm. The best news for McCain today comes from the large lead he has in CNN/Time’s poll of Montana - numbers from that state have been all over the place, but it does seem that the Republican is in a better position in that state than he used to be.

  • Obama leads 48% to 46% in a NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll. This is a minimal improvement over Obama’s 1% lead two weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 45% to 39% in a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics national poll. McCain led by 3% two weeks ago, so this is a 9% swing towards Obama. A high 29% of independents are undecided. Two dynamics that we saw in the ABC poll as well: Obama gains among Democrats and independents shift quite significantly away from McCain. And just like the ABC poll, Palin’s favorability decreases, from 54-27 two weeks ago to 47-36 (42-30 among independents). 47% say McCain is unfairly attacking Obama; 36% say the same about Obama (among independents, 49% think McCain is being unfair, 30% say the same about Obama).
  • Obama leads 49% to 45% in a LAT/Bloomberg national poll, outside of the 3% margin of error. But among registered voters, Obama leads 46% to 44%. One key internal in favor of McCain: He keeps a solid lead among independents, 49% to 34%. Also, Obama is dismally low among Clinton backers - 62%.
  • Meanwhile, tracking polls once again all show Obama ahead: Rasmussen has Obama gaining 2% to seize a 2% lead, Gallup has Obama’s lead stable at 3%. Obama leads 48% to 44% in Research 2000 and jumps to a 6% lead in Diego Hotline - his largest ever in that tracking.
  • Obama leads 51% to 47% in a CNN/Time poll of Colorado. McCain led by 1% in late August, and Obama’s lead is outside of the 3.5% margin of error. Obama leads by 6% among registered voters.
  • Obama leads 50% to 41% in an Insider Advantage poll of Colorado. IA found Obama surging to a 10% lead last month, a result that seemed like an outlier at first but two other firms (PPP and Quinnipiac) have found Obama leading outside of the MoE since then.
  • Obama leads 50% to 47% in a Rasmussen poll of Colorado. McCain led by 2% last week.
  • Obama leads 53% to 44% in a CNN/Time poll of Pennsylvania. Obama led by 5% in late August. In a four-way race with Nader and Barr, Obama leads by 8%, with 3% for Nader.
  • McCain leads 47% to 44% in a Mason Dixon poll of Virginia. Obama gets 55% in Northern Virginia, McCain leads Hamptons Road 48% to 44%.
  • McCain leads 48% to 45% in a Strategic Vision poll of Florida; that lead is just within the MoE. McCain led by 7% two weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 51% to 46% in a CNN/Time poll of Michigan. He led by 4% in late August. In a five-way race, Obama leads by 6%; he also leads by 6% among registered voters.
  • McCain leads 46% to 43% in a MRG Lassing poll of Michigan. I have not heard of this firm before, and the margin of error is 4%.
  • McCain leads 50% to 46% in a CNN/Time poll of West Virginia. In a four-way race with Nader and Barr, McCain leads by 5% and Nader gets 5%.
  • Obama leads 51% to 41% in a Marist poll of Iowa. He leads by 5% before leaners are included.
  • Obama leads 51% to 45% in a Marist poll of New Hampshire. He leads by only 3% among registered voters.
  • McCain leads 49% to 47% in a Rasmussen poll of New Hampshire. Rasmussen found Obama leading by 1% last month, 8% in July and 11% in June.
  • Obama leads 47% to 45% in a Nevada poll by Democratic firms Myers Research/Grove Insight.
  • Obama jumps to a 54% to 43% lead in a SUSA poll of Washington. Obama’s edge had fallen to only 4% two weeks ago, so this is a return to form for the Democrat. Obama slightly expands his lead among both independents and Democrats.
  • McCain leads 58% to 39% in a SUSA poll of South Carolina.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Sen. Sununu captures a surprising 52% to 45% lead in a Rasmussen poll of New Hampshire’s Senate race. Shaheen led by 11% in August. This is only the second time ever Sununu has led - the first was an ARG poll from December 2007 that was contradicted by other polls in the field and by ARG’s next poll that had Shaheen back up by 14%.
  • Mark Udall only leads 46% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of Colorado’s Senate race. Udall led by 7% last month.
  • Jay Nixon leads Kenny Hulshof 50% to 43% in a Research 2000 poll of Missouri’s gubernatorial race. Nixon led by 17% in July.
  • Christine Gregoire leads Dino Rossi 50% to 48% in a SUSA poll of Washington’s gubernatorial race. SUSA points out that this is the 7th poll in a row to find Gregoire and Rossi within the margin of error.
  • Two polls from North Carolina’s gubernatorial race, both within the margin of error: Perdue leads 44% to 43% in PPP’s poll, with 6% for libertarian candidate Munger. McCrory leads 43% to 41% in the Civitas poll, with 3% for Munger (this is the first time McCrory has led in Civitas).
  • Sen. Graham leads 54% to 40% in a SUSA poll of South Carolina’s Senate race.
  • In NH-02, Rep. Hodes released an internal poll showing him leading 50% to 32% after a GOP internal poll released yesterday had him leading by only 4%. Hodes’ numbers are much closer to independent polling we have seen, and NH-02 is still as unlikely to be competitive.

Rasmussen brought some unexpectedly good news for Senate Republicans - particularly in New Hampshire. The GOP have been waiting for months to see whether Sununu could pull a come-back, and this poll certainly suggests that there is some movement towards the incumbent, especially as it comes in the heels of a UNH survey finding Shaheen’s lead down to 4%. That said, it is difficult to believe Sununu is now ahead (and that he benefits form an 18% swing in one month). This is only the second poll ever to find Sununu ahead, and the first since last December. And it’s not like Shaheen is only ahead by a few points - she typically leads well outside of the margin of error. That is enough to win her the benefit of the doubt here.


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Dems awake to good polls: Obama leads in CO, MI, ties NC; strong numbers for Ohio Dems

It’s early in the morning, but we already have enough survey data for an entire polling thread! Particularly noteworthy are Quinnipiac’s latest release from four battleground states (CO, MI, MN and WI, which all favor Obama), and SUSA’s polling data from four highly competitive House districts in Ohio - especially since SUSA has also released presidential match-ups for three out of those four districts (there again finding good news for Obama).

Overall, this polling roundup brings good news to Democrats, as Obama leads in a number of swing states, posts yet another outside-of-the-MoE Michigan lead, and get some encouraging results from down-the-ballot races as well.

Note that Quinnipiac’s polls are somewhat dated and taken over an entire week (as are most of Quinnipiac’s surveys); they were in the field from the 14th to the 21st - so throughout the financial crisis and its immediate aftermath. But they have a very large sample (more than 1,300 likely voter in each state) and a relatively small margin of error (under 3%). That said, here’s the full roundup of morning’s polls:

  • Obama leads 49% to 45% in a Quinnipiac poll of Colorado. He trailed by 1% in August and 2% in July; Obama’s edge is outside of the MoE. Obama gets 68% of Hispanics, McCain leads by 7% among whites.
  • Obama leads 48% to 44% in a Quinnipiac poll of Michigan. The margin is the same as late July and is outside of the MoE. 58% of voters say the economy is the most important issue, and respondents think Obama understands that topic better 50% to 38%.
  • Obama leads 47% to 45% in a Quinnipiac poll of Minnesota, the same margin as in late July.
  • Obama leads 49% to 42% in a Quinnipiac poll of Wisconsin. He led by 11% in late July, but 7% is most definitely on the larger size of recent results.
  • Obama leads 47% to 45% in a Mason Dixon poll of Florida. That’s well within the poll’s MoE. Even more encouraging for Obama: he leads by 6% in the Tampa region.
  • The candidates are tied at 45% in a Civitas poll of North Carolina. Two weeks ago, McCain led by 3%; this is in fact the first time McCain has not led in a Civitas poll of this state.
  • Finally, SUSA released House polls from four Ohio districts. In three of them, they also polled the presidential race - and found significant improvements for Obama over Kerry’s performance in each. In OH-01, Bush won 51% to 49% in 2004 (his statewide margin); Obama leads 52% to 43%. In OH-02, Bush led 64% to 36% of the vote in 2004; McCain leads 58% to 39%. In OH-16, Bush won 54% to 46%; McCain leads 48% to 46%. Those shifts would put Obama in a strong position in the statewide race.

Let’s focus in more carefully on two states. First, North Carolina, where the race looks to be tightening indeed: this is the second poll in three days (after PPP’s poll) to find the race tied in the Tar Heel state - something that had not happened since one April survey that looked like an outlier. Second, Michigan: This is the third poll in a row (after Marist and Rasmussen) to find Obama’s lead outside of the margin of error, which should be a huge relief for the Democrat. We will be in a position to talk more about Colorado once PPP releases their poll later today.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • In OH-01, Rep. Chabot leads Democratic challenger Steve Driehaus 46% to 44% in a SUSA poll. Black turnout will be key to deciding this race.
  • In OH-02, Rep. Schmidt leads Democratic challenger Wulsin 48% to 40% in a SUSA poll.
  • In OH-15, Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy leads 47% to 42% against Steve Stivers in a SUSA poll. Kilroy led by 3% in early August.
  • In OH-16, Democrat John Boccieri leads 49% to 41% against Kirk Schuring in a SUSA poll. Schuring’s favorability rating is far lower, so perhaps the DCCC’s ads are functioning.
  • Elizabeth Dole leads Kay Hagan 43% to 41% in a Civitas poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. Before leaners are included, Hagan was up 41% to 40%.
  • Mark Udall leads 48% to 40% in a Quinnipiac poll of Colorado’s Senate race. The contest was tied in July.
  • Al Franken has gained ground but trails 49% to 42% in Quinnipiac’s poll of Minnesota’s Senate race. Coleman led by 15% in July.
  • A stunning internal Democratic poll of ID-01 has Walt Minnick leading GOP Rep. Bill Sali 43% to 38%. One possible problem in the poll is that it is convincing those final 19% of undecided that is bound to be the most difficult for a Democratic candidate in a staunchly conservative district.

OH-15 and OH-16 are among the highest priorities for House Democrats, as demonstrated by the hundreds of thousands the DCCC is already spending in these districts. To be fair to Republicans, many expected them to be in a much worse position in both of these open seats by this time, and the fact that they have managed to keep OH-15 competitive in particular is a testament to Mary Jo Kilroy’s struggles. Kilroy was favored to beat the incumbent in 2006 but narrowly lost, and she now has to battle the high unfavorables that she has left over from that race. OH-01 is a also a top Democratic target (and another narrow 2006 loss), though that contest has always been expected to be tight.

In Senate race, Civitas’s North Carolina numbers are a reminder that Dole still has some life in her but also further confirmation of Hagan’s momentum. Quinnipiac has Coleman leading by a larger margin than other surveys (SUSA, Rasmussen, Minnesota Public Radio) have shown lately, but Quinnipiac doesn’t appear to have included third-party candidate Dean Barkley. As for Colorado, the race has been static for more than a year: Udall is in the lead, but he has not closed the deal



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  • All good things must come to an end

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  • What remains on the table

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  • Confusion in Connecticut (Updated)

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election Night results thread: Rep. Boucher’s fall first surprise of the night

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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