Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Electoral College Map (6/25/08)

And the Kiss of Death Award for the week goes to the Sunday electoral college post for claiming that the frequency of state head-to-head polling had increased. The rest of the week may be jam packed with polling but the week so far has yielded very little in the way of polling. So few in fact, that I waited until today's polling surfaced before running to the virtual presses. Yeah sure, that's why you're so tardy.

New Polls (June 22-25)
IndianaSurvey USA+1
Survey USA+7
New Mexico
New Mexico
Survey USA+3
Survey USA+3
Deseret News+28

From Sunday through today, there were twelve new polls from ten states. Both New Mexico and Utah were polled twice, but the new numbers did little to change the landscape in either state. Utah was never a place where Obama (or any Democrat, for that matter) was going to do well, so it isn't terribly surprising to see the presumptive Democratic nominee trailing by more than twenty points in the Beehive state. New Mexico is and will continue to be a battleground heading into the fall because of its even distribution of Democratic and Republican partisans. And even though the Land of Enchantment is as susceptible to the same indicators that are dragging Republicans nationwide down, the state does neighbor John McCain's home of Arizona. That being said, the 8 point margin in Obama's favor in the Rasmussen poll does push New Mexico on to the Watch List (below). Another similar result out of the state could bump the New Mexico into Obama lean territory.

Of the other polls, California remains firmly in the Democratic column while states like Arizona and Nebraska continue to be solidly Republican. If California and Nebraska are running to the extremes, both Indiana and Oregon are trending away from their traditional red and blue electoral roots, respectively, to the middle. Oregon had always been considered a toss up in some quarters, but in the midst of an active primary campaign had given Obama watchers what may eventually prove to be an inflated sense of security. The Beaver state was closing in on being solidly blue, but has reversed course in recent polling and looks to potentially be competitive. And while Obama got something of a bounce (that has since receded) in Oregon after its primary, the competitive primary in Indiana appears to be a bit more influential. The polling in the Hoosier continues to show a close race in a typically red state.

Finally, the new polling out of Michigan and Missouri provided each campaign with a bit of a cushion this week. Both states will undoubtedly be competitive in the fall, but both the Wolverine state and the Show-Me state inched in the direction of where they have been in recent electoral cycles. Missouri moved to the right while Michigan headed toward the left.
[Click Map to Enlarge]

And what does all this mean for the electoral college map? Nothing really. On the whole, this collection of polls did little to rewrite the current narrative of the general election campaign. Obama's 38 electoral vote victory persists through this iteration of the analysis with Ohio (no new polls) and its 20 electoral votes still tied. Where there are some shifts though, is on the Watch List.

The Watch List*
Georgiafrom McCain leanto Strong McCain
Massachusettsfrom Obama leanto Strong Obama
Mississippifrom Strong McCainto McCain lean
Missourifrom Toss Up McCainto McCain lean
Nevadafrom Toss Up Obamato Toss Up McCain
New Mexicofrom Toss Up Obamato Obama lean
North Carolinafrom McCain leanto Toss Up McCain
Ohiofrom Tiedto Toss Up Dem. or GOP
Texasfrom Strong McCainto McCain lean
Wisconsinfrom Toss Up Obamato Obama lean
*Weighted Average within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

The Michigan poll didn't have enough oomph to push the Wolverine state into the Obama lean category, but it did move the state out of the "it could switch to McCain very easily" area. The same thing could almost be said in Missouri as well. That seven point edge for McCain pushed Missouri to the brink of moving to the more comfortable McCain lean distinction. New Mexico is also a new addition to the list. The two new polls there (averaging a 5.5 point margin) brought the weighted average for the Land of Enchantment to the line between toss up favoring Obama to an Obama lean state.

Moving forward, these are ten states to keep your eye on. But other states could jump into the mix as more polls emerge.

Oh, and for those who took the NYT Vice President's quiz (whether you shared your answers or not), look no further than the first comment from Jack for the correct answers. Congrats to Jack. A lowly graduate student has little to offer (This ain't The Fix, with their fancy t-shirts.), but he's won the coveted first annual FHQ memorial, "...classic, deluxe, custom, designer, luxury, prestige, high-quality, premium, select, gourmet pocket pencil sharpener. It's our way of saying thank you...*" for participating. A doff of the hat to George Carlin on that one. I'll miss the guy.

*from Carlin's book, Napalm and Silly Putty.

Recent Posts:
Vice Presidents Quiz

Presidents and Vice Presidents from the Same State: The Misconception of the 12th Amendment

New Zealand Schoolgirls, Simpleminded Voters and Presidential Elections


Robert said...

Thanks for the updated version of the electoral map. In the discussion group on Tuesday, we discussed the Congressional Quarterly Democratic VP Madness. They started out with 32 names and have now narrowed it down to two. In the Elite Eight matchups it was

Rendell 54 to Clinton 45
Clark 62 to Edwards 37
Biden 55 to Sebelius 44(sorry Josh)
Richardson 64 to Nunn 35

In the semis it was

Clark 58 to Rendell 41 and
Biden 50 to Richardson 49

I'll let you know the winner between Wesley Clark and Joe Biden when the news comes available.

For those of you who have not heard, Mike Huckabee was the winner in the Republican equivalent held earlier.

Anonymous said...

No need to be sorry, Rob. The masses will always choose "the name" over an unknown quantity. And though Sebelius has gotten some press of late, she's still not on most people's radar screens. I'm still inclined to have her up top, though I don't know whether I'll be updating.

That Biden/Richardson match up looks as if it demands a recount. Just don't tell Democrats that.

The finals looks like a clash of the foreign policy bigwigs.

Did you see the Quinnipiac polls that came out this morning? Obama leads in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. That will shake things up some for the Sunday map.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and here's the link to CQ's VP Madness Bracket.

Robert said...

Thanks for the poll update. The Iraq war question is intriguing. The voters in all four states prefer Obama but side with McCain on the idea of keeping troops in Iraq.