Two traditionally noncompetitive states are polling closer than usual today. In Connecticut, Rasmussen has John McCain just 3 points behind Barack Obama (McCain trails Hillary Clinton by 6 points). From the internals of the poll, Obama is having a little bit of trouble with the middle-class vote, while winning both working-class and wealthy voters. A lot of Hillary Clinton’s support is concentrated among older, middle-class suburbanites, particularly in the Eastern half of the country, and it’s possible that we’re seeing some defections among that group here. Still, since Obama has been polling strongly elsewhere along the East Coast, this is probably also a case where we’re observing some random noise.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Public Policy Polling has Barack Obama within 3 points of John McCain; Hillary Clinton trails McCain by 5. There are several states where Obama is in the 15-30 percent win probability range right now: North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, and a handful of Western states like Montana and North Dakota. If we think about the Western states as a group, Obama might need to pick and choose two or perhaps three of those states in which he wants to make a serious effort to compete (Missouri will almost certainly be one of them).
Also a correction: yesterday, we listed John McCain’s margin over Obama in SurveyUSA’s Nebraska poll as 12 points. In fact, the margin is 9 points. It looks like we had caught an earlier, unweighted version of that poll.