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Today’s Polls, 8/18

If you’re jumping out of your seat with every vibration and high-pitched noise, waiting for Barack Obama’s VP announcement to hit your cellphone, there is not really a whole lot to entertain and distract you in today’s polls.

In Illinois, home of the 2008 World Champion Chicago Cubs, Barack Obama leads by 15 in the latest poll from Rasmussen. The only other time that Rasmussen had polled Illinois was in early July, at which point Obama led by 11. This, then, is a nominal improvement for Obama — but since an 11-point margin seemed implausibly small before, this may be more reversion to the mean than any real sort of trendline.

Rasmussen also surveyed Georgia, where John McCain leads by 9. This is slightly better than Obama has fared in any prior Rasmussen poll of Georgia. But the more noteworthy characteristic is that polling in what we call the South Coast region — states like Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia — has trended within a remarkably narrow range. With the exception of a couple of oddball InsiderAdvantage polls, and Zogby Interactive’s exercise in dart-throwing, all nine polls of Georgia in our database have shown McCain’s lead in the range of 8 to 14 points. As we have expressed before, there may simply not be all that many swing voters in this region. Once you count white evangelicals, the overwhelming majority of whom will vote for McCain, and African-American voters, the overwhelming majority of whom will vote for Obama, there isn’t all that much of the electorate left to divvy up.

Lastly, in New York, Siena has Barack Obama ahead by 8, a decline from 13 points last month. I would not read too much to this one, but it may indicate that the polling continues to be volatile in states with a large number of Hillary Clinton voters.

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