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 49% to 44% in a Marist national poll.
- 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 46% to 45% in a Research 2000 poll of Indiana.
- Obama leads 55% to 39% in a Research 2000 poll of Iowa.
- 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.
- McCain leads 50% to 44% in an Insider Advantage poll of Georgia.
- Obama opens his largest lead yet in the Muhlenberg College tracking poll of Pennsylvania, 50% to 41%.
- Safe states: McCain leads 52% to 42% in a Rasmussen poll of Kentucky. McCain leads 56% to 37% in a Rasmussen poll of Nebraska.
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.