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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Yesterday, we saw a lot of places where the McCain bounce wasn’t; today we see some places where it is:

The theme here is simply traditionally red states coming home to John McCain in a big way, likely cordoning off certain corners of the electoral map to Barack Obama. A 20-point lead in North Carolina? Wow — that’s a big, shiny number. And it’s probably an outlier to a certain extent, considering that Obama’s numbers didn’t appear to have suffered very much in neighboring Virginia. But even if it is a big outlier — say Obama is really down 10 points rather than 20 — and even if it’s owing in part to the convention bounce — say Obama rebounds to 5 points behind — is there any way in hell that it’s going to be a tipping point state? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious. The only reason for Obama to be maintaining a field operation in North Carolina is to help Kay Hagan.

Montana, on the other hand, I don’t think is worth completely giving up upon. Obama still retains (barely) a net favorable rating in the state, and the Rasmussen poll did not include Ron Paul, who will be on the ballot. Still, Montana has gone from something like Plan D to Plan Q.

I don’t know what the post-convention numbers will like in Indiana and Missouri, but I don’t expect they’ll be good for Obama. North Dakota, which is a little different demographically and more moderate culturally, is perhaps more likely to remain within striking distance.

Outside of those shock polls in North Carolina and Montana, things are kind of a wash. The pair of Strategic Vision polls in Wisconsin and Michigan, Obama ought to be feeling all right about, as Strategic Vision has a fairly notable Republican lean (Obama was ahead by 5 in Strategic Vision’s most recent survey of Wisconsin; this is the first time they’ve polled Michigan). It appears that there’s been some movement toward McCain in New Jersey, but FDU switched from a registered voter model to a likely voter one, rendering trendline comparisons dodgy; in any event, the Democrats have bigger problems to worry about.

Lastly, there’s a PPP poll out in Florida that does not show the race tightening, as Rasmussen and Mason-Dixon did; instead, McCain has moved from a 3 to a 5-point lead. I continue to think that, as some of the red states come off the map, Florida is a state where Obama should be moving resources in.

Our trendline, although confused by some of the weird polling out today, has now almost caught up to the national averages and shows the popular vote dead-even. Obama, however, retains a lead in the electoral college projection, as the Kerry + NM + IA + CO combination remains intact, however tenuously. Obama would not be favored in any of Ohio, Virginia and Florida if an election were held there today, but they remain perfectly viable alternatives if and when he gets some arm’s-length distance from McCain’s bounce.

Note: the charts and graphs will be updated momentarily.

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