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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

I’ll take mixed bags for $200, Alex:

The most interesting results are perhaps out of Wisconsin, where new polls from Rasmussen and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute have Barack Obama ahead by 7 and 6 points respectively. This is slightly closer than Wisconsin had been polling before (it’s closer still if you exclude leaners from the Rasmussen poll, which diminishes his advantage to 4 points). Still, I think that Wisconsin is a trap state for John McCain. There have been 17 polls of Wisconsin since Super Tuesday, and Obama had led in 15 of them. The Republicans have been slightly outspending the Democrats in Wisconsin, which could account for a point or two’s worth of tightening, but we’re getting to the point where a consistent lead in the high single-digits is a pretty significant barrier to overcome. Moreover, Wisconsin is in an awkward position electorally. In only 52 of our 10,000 simulations did Barack Obama lose Wisconsin while losing Michigan — and if Obama has lost Michigan, Wisconsin is unlikely to matter.

Oregon, where SurveyUSA has Obama ahead by 3, presents a somewhat more interesting opportunity, as it marches somewhat more to its own drummer. Still, while the polling has tightened in Oregon — this is the second consecutive SurveyUSA poll to show a 3-point race, it’s hard to look at the demographics, compare them to Washington or California (where Obama holds large leads), and conclude that McCain is going to swing the race without a lot of effort.

Moving outside of swing states (real or alleged), there are a couple of good vanity numbers for Obama. His +21 from Quinnipiac in New York represents a 7-point improvement from last month, and the Capital Survey result from Alabama frankly isn’t bad for a Democrat. But neither state has any electoral significance.

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