Beginning today, I will be cross-posting the daily polling thread at The Plank. For those of you who don’t know me, I am the proprietor of FiveThirtyEight.com, which is sort of a self-help group for polling junkies. Most all of the rest of my blogging will remain exclusive to FiveThirtyEight, except when I feel like making fun of Jonathan Chait. We are, however, also contemplating a weekly, graphics-intensive feature in TNR’s print edition.
It’s a good day to get started, because the pollsters are up bright and early. Yesterday, we noted that Obama had experienced about a 5-point bounce in his state-by-state polls since Hillary Clinton’s withdraw from her campaign, and today we are continuing to see some favorable results for him in other states.
In Wisconsin, Obama leads John McCain by 13 points in a University of Wisconsin / WisPolitics.com poll. Strictly speaking, this is the debut edition of this poll, and so we have no trendlines against which to compare. But the poll is conducted by Charles Franklin of pollster.com and his colleague Ken Goldstein, and so should be pretty solid. The continuum of Midwestern states goes something like Michigan- Ohio- Pennsylvania- Wisconsin- Iowa- Minnesota in order of most competitive to least competitive (one can argue that the order of Michigan and Ohio should be inverted). In each of these states, the Democrats have a pretty strong advantage in terms of party identification, and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are the two that might come off John McCain’s board if Obama’s bounce has some legs.
Meanwhile, Rasmussen shows Obama with an 18-point lead in Washington. We have gotten used to seeing double-digit leads for Obama on the West Coast, but this is nevertheless an improvement from his 11-point lead in Rasmussen’s May poll. We now show Obama as having a 98 percent chance of winning Washington. For the sake of comparison, Obama is roughly as likely to win Mississippi or Wyoming as he is to lose Washington.
In Massachusetts, a Suffolk University poll shows Obama with a 23-point lead. While it’s not intrinsically surprising to see a Democrat with a large lead in Massachusetts, the state had not been polled that much, and one of the two pollsters who had polled it (SurveyUSA) was showing a relatively close race. Massachusetts has a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters, so it should not be surprising to see Obama’s numbers improve there as he consolidates their support.
The modest exception to all of this is in New Jersey, where Quinnipiac shows Obama with a relatively tepid 6-point lead; Obama had led by 7 points in Quinnipiac’s February poll of the Garden State. Other New Jersey polling has shown Obama with a somewhat larger lead. Whether the state becomes a fall battleground may depend as much on the Senate race, where some polling has shown Frank Lautenberg surprisingly vulnerable, as anything that takes place at the Presidential level.
Overall, our simulations give Obama a 54.9 percent chance of winning the election; this is his highest figure since March 18. As new polling begins to roll in from states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, that lead is likely to get larger before it gets smaller.
UPDATE: More late-bouncing developments in Iowa, where Rasmussen has Obama ahead 45-38. That 7-point lead is an improvement from a 2-point lead that Obama held in Rasmussen’s prior Iowa poll.