It’s just one poll, and it’s not in a state of any enormous amount of electoral significance, but the new Rasmussen poll that shows Barack Obama trailing by 23 points in Kansas — he had been down by just 10 last month — is a little ominous. Obama’s numbers are bad across the board: he’s getting a relatively low percentage of Democrats, trailing by 17 points among independent voters, and his approval ratings are negative. Obama had recently been polling well in other states like Iowa and the Dakotas, and so this may turn out to be some kind of outlier. But the real question is what’s going to happen the next time states like Ohio and Indiana are polled, which they haven’t been in several weeks and where there’s a little bit more at stake. In the meantime, our model is starting to hedge its bets a little more in the Midwest.
Obama has no such problems on the West Coast. Rasmussen has him ahead by 9 in Oregon; the Field Poll gives him a 24-point edge in California, and SurveyUSA has him up by 16 in Washington. Any advantage John McCain might have gained by being a Westerner is being outweighed by his positioning on foreign policy, as the Pacific Coast tends to be the most dovish region of the country.