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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

New polling this morning from the Big Ten polling consortium and Quinnipiac University present a view of what the world might look like if Barack Obama wins in a landslide.

The Big Ten polls have Obama ahead by double digits in ten Midwestern states: he leads by 10 in Indiana, 11 in Pennsylvania, 12 in Ohio, 13 in Wisconsin and Iowa, 19 in Minnesota, 22 in Michigan, and 29 in Illinois.

Quinnipiac has Obama ahead by 14 points in Ohio, 13 points in Pennsylvania, and 5 points in Florida.

The thing to recognize about polls like these is that they may tell us less about the individual states and more about where the particular pollsters are calibrating the horse race. The numbers you see in our current state-by-state projections assume that Obama will ultimately prevail on election day by about 5 points. But what if Obama were to win by 10 or more points instead, where several pollsters now have the race? You’d probably see results which look something like these.

So the best way to regard these numbers is in the same way that you might have regarded the Pew poll from earlier this week, which had Obama at a +14 nationally. If you regarded that number as an outlier — and I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you did — you should probably regard these numbers as outliers too. If you regarded that number not so much as an outlier but as a best-case scenario — and that’s how I tend to regard it — you should probably regard these numbers as a best-case scenario also.

With that said, the trendlines in these polls are interesting. Quinnipiac has had a slight (1-2 point) Democratic lean this election cycle, but only in the last month or so have they started to produce some of these “shock and awe” numbers for Obama. And when the first round of Big Ten polling was conducted in mid-September, it had not been particularly favorable to Obama.

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