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Today’s Polls, 08/08/08

There are three polls out today from Rasmussen, all of which tend to confirm our existing impressions of the race.

In Michigan, Barack Obama leads John McCain by 4 points. This is down from 8 points a month ago, but consistent with other polling of the state — the four most recent polls all have had Obama leading by margins ranging from two points to four.

I tend to believe that Michigan, unlike something like Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, is liable to stay fairly close to the end. You have several exogenous factors that tend to help John McCain in the state: an rather unpopular Democratic governor, a Democratic mayor in Detroit who spent last night in jail (and who may impact Obama’s turnout operations by triggering infighting at City Hall), and the fact that the Obama campaign got a later start on the ground here than in any other state. Weighted against that is a meaningful edge for the Democrats in party identification, a fairly large African-American population, two huge university towns in Ann Arbor and East Lansing, and the nation’s highest unemployment rate. The balance of power still favors Obama, but not by much.

In Missouri, it’s McCain by 6; he had led by 5 points in July. The Obama campaign is investing tons of resources into Missouri and believe that they can flip the state, but the better bet might be Indiana, a demographically similar state with the same electoral vote count, but where the McCain campaign is making a huge gamble and not playing defense.

Lastly, in Washington, Obama leads 54-42. John McCain has about as much chance of winning Washington as the Mariners do of making the playoffs.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.