Thursday, July 24, 2008

Electoral Projection

We like Dave Leip's formula for allocating a state for one candidate or another.  We've designated states to a candidate only if they are leading in the last three consecutive polls. Otherwise, a state remains a tossup.  I've made one exception for Colorado because Obama has led in six of the last seven polls.  Yesterday's Quinnipiac poll puts McCain up by two. One poll well within the margin of error isn't enough to convince me to make any changes.  We will be updating the electoral college map at the end of each week through the election cycle.

We're nearing the end of July, and an average of national polls over the last few weeks shows Obama leading McCain by four or five points.  There will be a lot of eyes watching polls next week to read into whether or not Obama's foreign tour had an impact.

With 101 days left until E-day, I thought it would be interesting to look back at where polls were in July 2004.  Kerry led throughout June and July, and then the swiftboating began. There are clear differences between 2004 and 2008 (poor economy, no incumbent, etc.), so we won't reach too far in drawing conclusions.  Regardless, these numbers should serve as a reminder of how quickly presidential races can change.  In other words, this is no time to be resting on our laurels.

Group DateBushKerryNader/CamejoSpread
Marist (573 LV)7/30-8/2         47%       47%       1%                          TIE
CBS News (991RV)7/31-8/143%48%3%Kerry +5
CNN/Gallup/USAT (LV)7/30-8/151%45%2%Bush +6
ABC News/WP (LV)7/30-8/147%49%2%Kerry +2
ARG (776 RV)7/30-8/145%49%2%Kerry +4
Newsweek (1010 RV)7/29-7/3042%49%3%Kerry +7
  Source:  Real Clear Politics 2004 Presidential Poll Averages

Taking a look at past electoral and popular vote margins puts something else into perspective.  A five or six point popular vote margin, as small as it may seem, will probably translate into at least 320 electoral votes.  

Popular Vote MarginElectoral Vote Margin
20042.46% 35
1976 2.06%57

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