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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

There are some good polling results for Barack Obama today — but not really in the places where he needs them. Take for instance Rasmussen‘s poll in Alabama, where Obama now trails John McCain by 15 points after having been 28 points behind before. Or the new SurveyUSA poll in Massachusetts; SurveyUSA finally gives Obama a 13-point lead in the Bay State after he had failed to break single digits in any of the six polls they had released in Massachusetts earlier this year. But Massachusetts is too blue, and Alabama too red, to matter in this election.

In Florida, on the other hand, Rasmussen has John McCain holding steady with a 7-point lead. Rasmussen had surveyed Florida barely a week ago, then showing McCain ahead by 8 points. The main problem that Rasmussen seems to be detecting for Obama in Florida is that the Democratic defection rate remains relatively high — he’s losing 20 percent of Democrats to McCain, and 4 percent to “some other candidate”. The puma is native to Florida, I would point out. Nevertheless, since Quinnipiac and ARG seem to feel differently about the state, it might be time to get a Mason-Dixon or a SurveyUSA on the case. Hell, I’ll even take an Insider Advantage poll.

Rasmussen also sees no movement toward Obama in Georgia, where he trails in their survey by 10 points, just as he did a month ago. Unlike Insider Advantage, which found Bob Barr polling in the mid-single digits, Rasmussen gives him just 1 percent support. I have been a little inconsistent in my treatment of Georgia. It is a state that Obama could win if a number of things go right, but then again, that’s true of probably 40 of the 50 states on the map this year.

Lastly, SurveyUSA has Obama ahead by 2 points in Virginia. This brings SurveyUSA into line with Rasmussen and PPP, each of which show nearly identical numbers, but is a step backward for Obama from SurveyUSA’s May poll, which had Obama up 7 points in Virginia. As I argued yesterday, if you see a result that looked aberrant before — and a 7-point lead for Obama pre-unity bounce definitely looked a little weird — you sometimes have to ignore the trendlines and take the result on its own merits. Virginia is perhaps the closest state on the map at the moment — the state whose county names we might all learn by heart staying up late on Election Night — and all the polling is reflecting that.

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