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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

The headliner today is a Rasmussen Reports survey of Pennsylvania, which contains good news for both Democrats in the Keystone, with Hillary Clinton leading John McCain by 9 points and Barack Obama leading him by 8. Clinton’s numbers have consistently been pretty good in Pennsylvania — she’s been ahead in the last four polls by margins ranging from 3 points to 9 — whereas Obama’s have been all over the board. But this could potentially be a sign that Obama’s general election numbers tend to improve in states where he runs an active primary campaign. It will be interesting to see whether there is any similar effect for the Democrats in Indiana and North Carolina.

Rasmussen also surveyed Louisiana: Obama trails McCain by 11 there, and Hillary by 22. This is something of a reversal from the numbers we usually see in the Deep South, where Clinton has generally outpolled Obama. One thing to watch for is that polls in non-competitive states can affect our regression equations as much as polls taken anywhere else, so Clinton for instance has taken a hit to her West Virginia numbers as a result of this survey, which has some commonalities with Louisiana in terms of education levels and religiosity.

Finally (and speaking of non-competitive states): in Arizona, McCain has a 22-point lead over both Democrats according to a Northern Arizona University poll.

ALSO, eagle-eyed observers will note that Minnesota has been moved from the Prairie region to the Great Lakes reason, which affects nothing but aesthetics, but it felt weird not having the Land of 10,000 Lakes grouped with its Great Lakes brethren.

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