Sunday, September 7, 2008

Electoral Update - The Home Stretch

The conventions are finished, Labor Day has passed, and the first debate is just 18 days away.  More and more Americans with each passing day will turn their attention to the candidates and their messages.  This is the home stretch.

In our seventh Electoral Projection, John McCain has picked up two states:  Indiana and Alaska.  North Dakota falls back into the tossup column. 

The last three polls in Indiana give us reason to believe that John McCain is edging Barack Obama there.  Since June, Obama has led in just one poll, and that was by a single point. Polling in Indiana also reveals that Obama is stuck in the 43-44% range while McCain consistently polls in the upper 40's.  

Alaska appears to be a lock for McCain with Palin on the ticket.  The latest poll now shows McCain leading by 19.  

North Dakota goes back into the tossup column after a new poll reveals a three point lead for Obama. North Dakota has remained surprisingly close all year long.  The last three polls show numbers within the margin of error.

With 57 days left until election day, the race for the White House is close.  Although Obama still remains just shy of the goal-line, he has a few good reasons to be optimistic. So far, he's been perfect in protecting his lead in traditionally close states like Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire.  His lead in all of these states has been consistent and mostly strong.  Obama has also widened his lead in New Mexico.  To give himself the best shot at winning on November 4th, he'll need to maintain his lead in these battlegrounds.
Electoral Map

Close races of course pose challenges. Every remaining tossup state was won by George Bush in 2004. Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and Ohio are so close, nobody knows who's leading. Florida is also on the verge of becoming a tossup again. A victory for Obama in any of these states is almost certain to put him over the top.

We see a much softer electoral count for John McCain.  He's barely leading in Indiana.  And recent polls indicate Obama gaining on McCain to within three points in North Carolina. Florida remains even closer with Obama pulling ahead for the first time since July in the latest polling from Mason-Dixon.

One state is on the verge of turning blue.  The last two polls in Ohio show Obama leading McCain by small margins.  We should see more polling from Ohio this week. 

Neither candidate can seem to break the race wide open yet.  Of course, that can change if someone has a slip of the tongue or if new skeletons are found hiding in a certain someone's closet because s/he wasn't vetted properly.  

(click chart to enlarge)

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