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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

It’s the final day of the Republican Convention, and the polls have not moved an inch in John McCain’s direction. Time for conservatives to get nervous? Probably not yet.

True, Barack Obama held steady in the Rasmuseen tracker, which reads 50-45 Obama today, just as it did yesterday. And Obama actually picked up a point in the Gallup tracker (more precisely, McCain lost a point), bringing his lead to 7 points.

These are three day tracking polls, however, and so all that’s happened so far is that one-third of the interviews will reflect one-third of the convention speeches. That’s Tuesday night, when Fred Thompson delivered a rousing speech and Joe Lieberman delivered a soporific one. But almost none of these interviews will reflect Sarah Palin’s speech, which was delivered too late in the evening to register.

If the polls don’t move by tomorrow, then it’s time for the Republicans to get a little nervous. If they don’t move by Saturday, then it’s time for them to get a lot nervous. But most likely they will move.

Then again, post the Palin selection, Gallup already had John McCain winning the Republican vote by something like a 90-7 margin. It’s hard to do a lot better than that; Bush won the Republican vote 93-6 in 2004. So if this was a convention designed to appeal to the base, and the base had already gotten behind McCain, it’s possible that there isn’t that much ground to make up. Conceived of a bit differently, perhaps the Palin bounce was effectively the GOP’s convention bounce, and made what was actually a fairly large convention bounce for Obama look like an average-sized bounce. I’m not necessarily saying this is the case — Palin drew massive ratings last night and usually there is some sort of bump based on emotion alone. But it is the one thing that would make me a little bit worried if I were a Republican.

We also have a couple of state polls to look at today. CNN has three polls out: Obama leads by 14 points in Minnesota, 13 points in Iowa, and 1 point in Ohio. (Note: we use the version of the polls with third-party candidates included. Without third-party candidates, Obama’s leads are 13, 15, and 2 points respectively in the three states listed above). I’ve never been sold on either Minnesota or Iowa being particularly competitive, so seeing double-digit numbers like this doesn’t surprise me at the height of Obama’s convention bump. However, I think you can argue that this is actually a pretty decent result for McCain in Ohio, as it appears to be running a couple of points behind Obama’s national standing at this moment in time.

In North Carolina, meanwhile, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll for Democracy Corps has John McCain ahead by 3 points — about the same margin he’s held in nearly all polls of North Carolina — but this survey was in the field a couple of weeks ago, before the conventions or VP selections. GQR has a pretty good reputation and I hope they’ll indulge us with more state polling, but this isn’t a particularly meaningful data point.

There are also partisan polls out in Alaska (showing McCain with a large lead) and North Dakota (showing Obama with a small one) but being partisan polls, we don’t list them; Pollster.com is our recommended destination for an all-inclusive approach. And look for new numbers in Indiana coming out from Howey Politics tonight.

UPDATE: Came in too late to make our simulation run today, but a new CBS poll shows the race drawing to a tie — down from an 8-point lead for Obama over the weekend. Much better news for McCain, certianly.

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