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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

I’m not quite sure why organizations want to release state polling in the middle of the convention, when they’re all liable to be obsolete within a few weeks anyway. But let’s look at what we have today:

For reasons I’m not entirely sure of — but perhaps having to do with the large numbers of independents and swing voters — the pollsters seem to be having a great degree of difficulty surveying the West. In Nevada, there is a 12-point spread between the recent CNN and Mason-Dixon polls, and in New Mexico, there is a 17-point spread (the Colorado polls, at least, have been comparatively in sync, all pointing toward a toss-up). When we throw everything into the sausage grinder — and really, I don’t think it’s worth overthinking this one when the polling landscape will change so soon anyway — the most important conclusion may be that New Mexico is not really a top-tier swing state, as we now project Barack Obama to win the state by 6 points.

The Strategic Vision poll in Florida is also noteworthy, as it shows a somewhat larger margin for John McCain than other recent surveys. But Strategic Vision has a Republican-leaning house effect of a couple of points, so the 7-point margin it shows for McCain can be thought of as comparable to the 3-4 point advantage our weighted average gives to him.

Lastly, the Rasmussen and Gallup tracking polls show a +1 for McCain and a +1 for Obama, respectively. Yesterday, those same polls had shown a tie and a 2-point lead for McCain. It is possible to read a small, initial bounce into these numbers for Obama if you like, as he gained one point on average as Saturday’s interviews were cycled out of the three-day averages and replaced by Tuesday’s (indicating that Obama’s standing was 3 points stronger on Tuesday than it had been on Saturday). But I think it would be more responsible to call it noise, and wait for tomorrow morning, when the Democrats probably ought to be looking for some bounce in response to Hillary Clinton’s speech.

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