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Today’s Polls, 4/15

Our tax day collection features an eccentric array of polls.

Strategic Vision is out with its weekly poll of Pennsylvania. In general election trial heats, McCain leads Hillary Clinton by 3 points and Barack Obama by 10. Strategic Vision has consistently shown a pretty strong house effect, with both Democrats performing notably worse in its surveys than in other polls of the state. With that said, Obama has lost 3 points against McCain, and Clinton 6, from its poll last week. As this is the most recent poll of the state, it’s possible that the Democrats’ squabbling is having an effect on their general election prospects.

By the way, the way that our polling weightings are now designed — and I still need to explain this more thoroughly — the model recognizes that there are diminishing returns from any one pollster. So even though Strategic Vision is surveying 1,200 Pennsylvania general election voters each week — that’s 4,800 since it began surveying the state last month – the model says “OK, we’ve got an awful lot of Strategic Vision in here; I’m not sure how much more we can learn from it”, and discounts its previous results relatively heavily.

Polls for Louisiana, and North and South Dakota, are below the break.

The McGovern Center at Dakota Weslayan University has twin polls out in North and South Dakota. In North Dakota, McCain leads Obama by 6 points, but Hillary by 20. In South Dakota, he leads Obama by 17, and Clinton by 29. I don’t know what it is about the Dakotas, but the SurveyUSA polls also showed Obama being much more competitive in NoDa than SoDa. With that said, these results need to be treated with much caution, as the sample sizes are tiny (only about 260 voters in each state), and the poll is somewhat out of date. DWU also polled the South Dakota Democratic primary, and showed Obama leading Clinton 46-34; the same sample size caution applies in interpreting that result.

Finally, a Louisiana poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research — which I’ve given the acronym SMOR(e) — shows Clinton reasonably competitive against McCain, down by 7 points, whereas Obama trails him by 16. This contrasts with last week’s Rasmussen poll of that state, which showed Obama faring better. Either way, however, Louisiana is nowhere near a swing state, with both Democrats having win probabilities in the low single digits.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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