This week, Obama is ahead in all swing states other than Indiana. Out of the 14 swing states, Obama is ahead (as per the most recent polls for each state) in 13: 6 by double digits; and only 1 that borders a statistical tie (though is 1% outside of it). I’ll get to the polls in a moment, but want to warn you that the numbers you might see could shock and scare you …
… if you’re a Republican …
The biggest state up for grabs will start us off. Florida, with 27 electoral college votes, is a state that, if Obama wins, wins him the election. On the flip side, McCain can’t win the election without it. There’s no if’s or but’s about it now – Obama has locked up 99% of the Kerry states, with only Minnesota (which is only a bit iffy because of a poll released last month that suggested a tie) a weak Democrat state. Assuming he wins Minnesota (which he will), Obama needs just Florida and the election is done there and then – the rest is bonus points.
So I expect the McCain campaign is sweating bullets when they saw the latest poll from the state: A 7% lead for Obama 52% to 45%. And it’s not from some partisan group of the Democrats – the poll came from FOX News/Rasmussen. In early September, the state looked like it was a McCain lock – the campaign even laughed at Obama’s attempts to win the state. Then, towards the end, there was a poll indicating a tie, and since then Obama has had small, but increasing, lead. Now, with a 7% lead on top of this consistency, it’s safe to say that the state is trending to Obama. This doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to go his way come election day (we have a tick under a month left, in a race that has a lot happening in just a week), but given the situation of things in the US, the ground set-ups of the candidates, and the money the Obama campaign has left, Florida is looking like it might flip.
Pennsylvania comes in second with 21 EVs. Through the week (and something I didn’t blog about) McCain pulled all his resources from Michigan (a state that many (not me) thought would flip to the Republicans and cause Obama all sorts of headaches) because he stands no chance there now (evidenced through public and internal polling) and has put them into Minnesota and Pennsylvania – hoping to flip one of these. There’s only been 1 poll since the general election began, back in mid-September, that showed McCain tied – and that’s his best performance in the state. Ever since then, there’s been Obama leads from 2% to 10%. The last 4 polls have showed a 6%, 8%, 12% and 10% leads for Obama. This latest poll, an 11% lead for Obama at 49% to 38%, only confirms what I’ve been writing for a long time now: Pennsylvania is not a swing state. It also makes McCain’s move out of Michigan redundant, though staying there was futile.
The next biggest prize is Ohio with 20 EVs. This state had long ago been called McCain’s by majority of the pundits. Me included, though I was inclined to send it McCain’s way because Obama didn’t need it and polls showed that McCain was nominally strong. Though since July, when the primaries ended and the conventions started, the race has been exceptionally tight, and Obama has been getting as many winning polls as McCain. The latest, 48% to 47% Obama’s way (FOX News/Rasmussen), is the tightest of the latest as majority of other pollsters have Obama leading by ~4%. The situation hasn’t changed – Obama doesn’t need Ohio, while McCain must retain it to win. But, if the polls are this tight going to election day, given the ground work Obama has put into the state, Ohio will go blue. It’s too close to call, or perhaps ever so slightly Democrat because the economy is still the #1 issue.
North Carolina, with 15 EVs and a previous stalwart of the Republican states, now shows a definite lead for Obama. The polls have been extremely close (given the state in question) since February, before Obama was even the nominee. Recent polls put the state at an average tie, with the candidates swapping the lead of ~2% each day. The latest poll however has Obama streaking ahead – a 6% lead at 50% to 44% (Public Policy). It’s worth noting that when a candidate gets past the 50% mark, we are beyond the statistics where the person behind could get an extraordinary pick-up of the undecided on the day and jag a win. Obama is ahead here by a majority in polls with out-dated formulas to predict the results. If this were the last poll going into election day, I would put Obama at 54% come the close of polls due to the demographics. If Obama wins North Carolina, I expect him to win Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Nevada as well – swing states that had been previously trending McCain. New Mexico, Colorado, and Iowa are solid blues, so accept them as wins easy enough.
Speaking of, Virginia, with 13 EVs, 3 polls came out about it all with different numbers but all saying the same thing: An Obama win. SurveyUSA has Obama up by 10%: 53% to 43%. Suffolk puts Obama up by 12%: 51% to 39%. Finally, FOX News/Rasmussen has Obama up only by 2%, 50% to 48%. Like I said, all indicate a win for Obama given he has broken the 50% mark. I suspect Fox/Ras. underestimates turnout, while Suffolk and SurveyUSA have maybe sampled in the Northern suburbs a bit much. If these were the last polls going into election day, I’d put the win around 6-8% for Obama – and handing him the election.
I referenced it before: Colorado and its hefty (given it’s near-non status in the race) 9 EVs has a new poll that gives Obama a 6% lead, 51% to 45% (again from FOX News/Rasmussen). Important thing here is not the lead, but that the same polling duo had Obama up only by 1% last week. That’s a 5% gain in less than a week. Either Palin has really offended some people in the Rockies, or the state is actually (as I maintain) solidly behind Obama and the 1% is just a dodgey poll. That state will go Obama’s way.
Missouri, like Florida and Ohio which had been called for Obama, is now back up for grabs. So too its quite large 11 EVs. That latest FOX News/Rasmussen poll has Obama up with a 3% lead – 50% to 47%. Last week, the same duo had McCain up by 5%. An 8% turn around is monumental but not out of the question. The state is quickly shifting to Obama, and McCain has little to do to stop it. Economy and identification with Obama seem to be spurring it on, which are two things McCain can’t stop people from thinking about. If Obama wins Missouri, I’ll be very happy but very surprised. Though, people were saying the same thing about North Carolina when polls started showing a tight race, so you never know. If he does win Missouri, then Obama may very well win Indiana – not because they are similar or linked but because they are both pro-Republican states of the level that if Obama was going to win one, he is going to sweep a few.
Another state like that is Georgia. Now you might remember me writing about how Georgia was in play some months ago. That’s because Obama’s campaign was targeting it to flip because of its demographics. Then, when the race tightened up, and internals showed little progress was being made beyond a point, Obama shifted his resources into Florida and North Carolina, took Georgia off the target list, and forgot about it. Well, it seems now it’s in play when you bring together two sources. First, the latest poll. It h as Obama down by 7% (Research 2000) – 50% to 43%. Now I know what I just said about the 50% mark, but in this case it’s different. Remember how I keep talking about out-dated formulas for the polls? Georgia is the classic example. African-American turnout contributed 25% of the vote in Georgia in 2004. Early voting in the state now indicates that the number will be … wait for it … a huge 40% of the votes cast. Winning 90%+ (which is realistic in this case, as Kerry got 88%) flips the state completely even when Bush won the state by 17% in 2004. This is a state to watch on election night for the surprise flip. If Obama does win it, like I said before, he is wining big – Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, Missouri, even Indiana will all be in the bag too.
Finally, New Hampshire with its 3 EVs are going to Obama (like I said from the start). 13% lead for him, 53% to 40%. There’s no way this state is flipping red like the Republicans had hoped. I think they thought because he is notionally popular among Republicans that would somehow transfer over to independents (which the state has a huge amount of), but it hasn’t happened even slightly. The state hasn’t been swing for months – I wish that the polling companies would send pollsters to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and South Carolina to give us a picture of what is happening through the South, rather than wasting time with the ‘blue horn’.
Anyway, if the election was held tomorrow, with my predictions of Indiana going with the landslide, the 1 EV from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Georgia numbers, Obama wins the election by a ridiculous and embarrassing margin: 391 EVs to 147 EVs. Take out Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri, and Georgia, Obama wins 353 to 185. Take out Ohio, it’s 333 to 205. Take out Florida, it’s 306 to 232. Other than that, you can’t take out any state that I have Obama winning without going against trends and polls. The election is running, not slipping, away from McCain and he is running out of time, and has run out of ammunition. What else can he do? He’s played his VP card, he’s had his convention, the first debate is done, the VP debate is done, he’s gone as dirty as you can get, he’s put forth all his policy views, and he has lost more ground the the French in World War Two. I’ve been saying that Obama will win the election and here’s the proof. The state polls are showing an Obama victory.