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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

We’ll keep this an appropriately breezy update for a Friday afternoon. In Washington, Rasmussen has Barack Obama leading by 8 points over John McCain. This is a fairly significant decline for Obama, who had led by 18 in Rasmussen’s June poll of the state. Is Washington so liberal that Obama’s purported shift to the center is harming him there? Probably not. He’s still winning self-identified liberal voters by an 87-10 margin, as well as moderates 62-27. Washington looks safe for Obama and this appears to be a case of a poll regressing back the mean. Oregon, though, might deserve watching. If there’s any sort of canary-in-the-coal mine in the Pacific Northwest region, we’ll see it there first.

In Florida, the debut poll from Gainesville-based War Room Logistics (PDF) has Obama with a slight lead of 2.7 points (we list the decimal place if the pollster does). This continues the oddly bifurcated polling results in Florida: we have several pollsters showing Obama with a slight lead there but a couple others showing a somewhat more comfortable margin for McCain. The problem with Florida is that it is one of the more demographically unique states in the Union — you have whole groups like Cubans and Jewish voters that barely register in other states, as well as an overdose of older voters. So you can’t make good inferences about it from other states, and when the polling is contradictory, there are few reference points. But at a gut-instinct level, our statistical model, which pegs McCain as roughly a 3-point favorite there, sounds about right.

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