Showing posts with label Obama bounce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obama bounce. Show all posts

Friday, July 25, 2008

Is Obama Getting a Bounce from His Trip Abroad? A Different Approach

This may be less an approach than an observation, but I've spent a fair amount of time looking at the Rasmussen polls recently; especially the distinction between the "leaners" and "without leaners" data. And while polls thus far have indicated that the trip has yet to yield any noticeable bounce for the Illinois senator, there is some evidence, coincidental though it may be, that there is something positive to take away from the trip. Let me show you what I'm talking about. First, let's look at the table from the other day's post examining the Rasmussen reporting switch, but let's organize the states chronologically (based on when they were conducted) instead of alphabetically (And I'll add in the new polls from New Hampshire, New Mexico and Pennsylvania as well.):

Rasmussen Polls Since w/Leaners Distinction was Added (7/9/08)*
Statew/o Leaners
Undecideds Drop
New Jersey
North Dakota
South Dakota
Minnesota (7/10)
North Carolina
Polls below this point were conducted after Obama left to go abroad (7/19/08).
Minnesota (7/22)
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Avg. Change+0.96-5.5
*The "with leaners" distinction was added to reports that were released beginning on 7/9/08. The date on which these polls were conducted (The ones that these releases were based on) stretches back to 7/7/08.
**Rasmussen has only conducted one poll in these states. Therefore, the difference was taken from between the with and without leaner numbers within the same poll in these cases.
***Previous poll had been taken after "with leaners" change had been made.

Above that yellow line, Louisiana is the only state where the "with leaners" distinction favored Obama. But since Obama started his trip overseas, and incidentally this is where the coincidence potentially comes in, four of the seven polls to be released show Obama with the edge when leaners are included. Does this mean that leaners are starting to break for Obama? And, further, does the trip have anything to do with it?

Are leaners breaking toward Obama?
It certainly looks that way. Are these simply Obama states in the first place, though? With the exception of Florida, all seven states are states that are Obama states in FHQ's most recent look at the electoral college (Well, Ohio changes sides depending on whether you use Rasmussen's leaners or without leaners data.). But that wasn't the case in the polls taken before Obama left. Of the 12 states where there was a difference between the with leaners and without leaners numbers, six were Obama states and all six saw drops in the margin when leaners were added. The other eight states, where there was no difference in the margins once leaners were added, were equal parts McCain and Obama states and all broke in McCain's direction. It seems then, that it isn't just a matter of the states polled since Obama left being Obama states.

Fine, just more than half of the seven states where polls have been conducted since Obama left have leaners favoring him now (Well, that does quintuple the number of states that were in that category in the first place.). That is a switch, but does that mean that the trip is what triggered the change? Maybe, maybe not. Rasmussen's own daily tracking poll does have Obama bouncing. And the "with leaners" numbers at least appear to show Obama gaining among that group in states where respondents have been surveyed since Obama left at the outset of last weekend. Coincidence it may be, but it is an interesting way of going about assessing whether Obama has gained anything out of this trip. If this is evidence--and even I'm skeptical of that--of Obama getting a boost from this overseas tour, then it is among the group in the middle that is likely to decide this election.

Recent Posts:
Is Florida a Swing State?

The Deal with Those Rasmussen "Leaners"

The Electoral College Map (7/23/08)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Did Obama Bounce Everywhere in June?

There has been a lot of chatter since Barack Obama effectively won the Democratic nomination on June 3 about an Obama (or unity) bounce in the polls. I was--and still am--skeptical about the bounce based on semantics. As I've argued, a bounce--like those after a convention--implies that there is a sudden uptick in polling following a certain event that will eventually regress to the mean (the one established prior to the event occurring). However, has there been a bounce or just an increase in the margin between McCain and Obama that reflects the conditions on the ground (unpopular president and war, poor economy, etc.)? Let's look at that question with the data we now have from June.

[Click Map to Enlarge]

The map above shows how much FHQ's weighted averages have changed as a result of the polls that emerged during June. Those states in green show varying degrees of movement toward Obama while the yellow states reflect a shift toward McCain (White states are states where no polls were conducted in June. There was no case where there were new polls, but no change in the average.). From the outset, it is apparent that this map is largely green. There were 37 states where polling was done in June and of those, 31 shifted in Obama's direction. The states that moved toward Obama the most, as a result of the Illinois senator securing the Democratic nomination, are, for the most part, the states where he trailed by the largest margins prior to that point. We see big jumps in the Appalachian states where Obama lost primaries to Hillary Clinton: West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. That grouping of states stretches to encompass Arkansas and Oklahoma as well. Beyond that, there are a handful of typically blue states in that have shown significant shifts toward Obama (A significant shift is defined as anything greater than a two percentage point jump in the weighted average during June. 2 points! Yeah, keep in mind that we are talking about changes in the average here. In other words, some states are more prone than others to significant shifts. On the one hand, large outliers--at least by comparison to the pre-existent data--will pull the average in their direction. But states that have had comparatively little polling are much more vulnerable to bigger shifts.): Massachusetts, Washington and Maine.

And what of McCain? Well, it isn't all bad for the Arizona senator. The momentum is against him, but he is making gains. And the places where he has made gains during the month are swing states: Nevada, Colorado, Missouri and--depending on who you talk to--Oregon and Iowa.
With the exception of Missouri, those are all Obama states in the current electoral college breakdown and comprise 28 electoral votes. That would be enough to pull McCain within 2 electoral votes of victory, but would still put him behind Obama. While Oregon and Iowa may be moving in his direction, some of the other states would potentially be easier pick ups for McCain (Think light blue states on the electoral college map.). States that are both light blue on the electoral college map and light green on the map above (So, Obama toss ups and slight Obama gains during June) are probably more likely targets for McCain than Iowa and Oregon. New Mexico and Pennsylvania fit that bill.

Of the states in white, there are only a couple that seem like they could be competitive in the fall, yet did not have any polls conducted in June. Connecticut and Montana are both leans toward Obama and McCain, respectively, but have shown signs of being in play. They are both less intensely red or blue than they have been during recent cycles. And both are cases where more polling will help to clear the picture. Also, because each has had only a few polls during all of campaign '08 (primary season, too), both are more likely than others to move significantly in one direction or the other.

Was June a bounce month for Obama, though? There's definitely an uptick in the poll numbers since he wrapped up the Democratic nomination, but as of now, there hasn't been any detectable reversion to the pre-June mean.

Recent Posts:
The Electoral College Map (6/29/08)

The National Popular Vote Plan...and Other Ways of Reforming the Electoral College

The Electoral College Map (6/25/08)