Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trying to Make a Story Out of Not Much


Well, I was gone for 4 days from doing my regular updates, and not a lot changed. The popular vote projection is almost exactly where it was (+0.1% for Obama, -0.1% for Mccain) and the only state change is West Virginia.

Here's the latest scoop:

West Virginia -- flips back from Obama to Mccain -- would've been hard to believe that Obama would win this one in the end

Indiana -- promoted from serious to key -- Obama gains ground here, intends to make it a race


North Carolina -- demoted from key to serious -- still very close but Obama opens up a small lead
West Virginia -- demoted from key to serious after switching to Mccain -- Mccain opens up a small lead here
Montana -- added as serious battleground -- polls are tightening here as in North Dakota
Missouri, Nevada & Florida -- no change

Ohio -- demoted from key to substantial -- Obama's lead here grows just a little
Colorado -- no change


Virginia, Georgia & North Dakota -- no change

The Oddity of Poll Divergence, Part 3
For the third time in this race, we have a number of oddly divergent polls. While the total weighted average for the national race has barely budged at all in the past 5 days (it has been between a 5.9% and 6.4% spread the whole time), we've seen individual results all over the place. Today, Zogby had Obama's lead at 12% and IBD/TIPP had it a 1%. Two days ago Gallup was at 10% and Battleground at 2%. I don't know anything I didn't know the last time we saw this, so I can't read anything additional into this volatility unless it turns into some kind of trend.

One piece of poll divergence at the state level that is worth noting is the Big 10 Battleground polls. There have been some huge margins for Obama in several states that other polls had relatively close: Ohio by 12% and Indiana by 10% -- I think that these are outliers that had flaws in the polling methodology -- I can't believe Obama is up by this much, especially looking at other recent polls.

Media Trying Like Heck for a Story
The broad availability of polls has the latest poll the lead story on CNN every night with "the race is tightening" or "the race is widening". Typically they look at far too few polls in far too little depth to really understand what is happening in the race.

Obama does seem to be winning the daily news cycle. Palin's $150K clothes, investigation of Palin in "troopergate" (I hate that name BTW), etc.

Mccain will have to do more than to continue to talk about wealth redistribution for the next 12 days in order to win. It's getting tougher by the day and people are voting in almost all the key battleground states now. If he pulled this one out of the fire, it would be a comeback for the ages, maybe even bigger than Ford's "almost" comeback.

Obama was in Indiana today and is now headed back to Hawaii to visit his seriously ill grandmother. He is anticipated to rejoin the trail on Saturday.
Biden was in North Carolina.
Mccain was in Florida. He's scheduled to be in New Mexico tomorrow (didn't his campaign just say he was pulling out there? I'm so confused...)
Palin was in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She is scheduled in Iowa and Indiana tomorrow.
Really? Iowa?

Have Mccain/Palin already punted on the Pennsylvania strategy? They aren't making inroads yet, but as I discussed yesterday, I actually thought it made some sense vs. trying to run the table.

More to come this weekend....

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