Sunday, November 2, 2008


It's Now or Never

All the candidates are giving it everything they have this weekend and the next two days. Barack Obama is in Ohio trying to hang onto a state where he has a slight lead. John McCain will be campaigning in Pennsylvania today, trying for a come-from-behind upset in this economically battered state. However, the McCain campaign has not abandoned Ohio as it sent Sarah Palin to campaign in Canton and Columbus today. Yesterday Obama was in Colorado, Missouri, and Nevada while McCain campaigned in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

Early Voting Soars

One problem with all this campaigning is that it for many voters it is too late. According to the Early Voting Information Center early voting is going to break all record. For example, in North Carolina, 42% of all Democrats, 35% of all Republicans, and 30% of all independents have already voted. In Florida the numbers are 22%, 15%, and 20%, respectively. Here is a summary of early voting at Daily Kos. CNN also has a story on early voting.

The latest national polls put Obama ahead by 7.8 points nationally. The Washington Post notes that in the most recent 159 national polls, Obama has led them all. He also leads in all the states John Kerry won in 2004, giving him a base of 252 electoral votes. He also has led all year in Iowa and New Mexico, bringing his total to 264. Thus he needs to find five or six electoral votes in states Bush won in 2004. Today's polls suggest Florida, Ohio, and Virginia as good hunting grounds, as he leads in all of them. In addition, he has led for weeks in Colorado and is effectively tied in North Carolina and Indiana. He even has a shot at North Dakota and Montana. McCain has to win all of them. If we assume that all eight of these states are 50-50, then McCain has to flip a coin and get heads eight times in a row. The chance of this is 1 in 256. But it is worse than that since a number of these states, especially Colorado, look a lot worse for McCain than 50-50.

Rasmussen Adjusts Partisan Targets

As he has been doing every week for several months, Rasmussen adjusted the partisan breakdown for the final week of polling. According to the most recent six weeks of his polling, Rasmussen believes that 39.9% of the voters are Democrats and 33.4% of the voters are Republicans, with 26.7% independent. These numbers are important not only for Rasmussen's polling, but for the election itself as about 80% of the people vote for their party's candidate. This partisan breakdown means that even if the independents split 50-50, Obama has an edge in the popular vote of roughly 3-4%. The last few days, both parties are fighting for the independents, who will decide the election.

Polls on California Propositions

In addition to races for President, Senate, House, and many state offices, in some states voters also have a number of propositions they can vote on. In fact, in California, with Obama the certain winner, politics has focused largely on the ballot propositions. According to new poll proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution too define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, is behind 50% to 47%. The poll also shows that for the most part, McCain voters are for 8 and Obama voters are against it.

Another hot-button item in California is proposition 4, which would amend the state constitution to prohibit a physician from performing an abortion on a minor until 48 hours after the physician informed the minor's parents. The backers hope this will reduce abortions performed on teenage girls, who represent a large fraction of all abortions. Opponents say it will lead to more back-alley abortions and deaths among pregnant teenagers. A SurveyUSA poll puts proposition 4 ahead 46% to 40%.

Obama Continues to Lead Nationally

In the national polls, Obama's average lead is now 7.8%, a bit more than yesterday, but not significantly more. Here are the numbers.

- CBS News (Obama +13)
- Diageo (Obama +7)
- Gallup expanded (Obama +10)
- IBD (Obama +5)
- Rasmussen (Obama +5)
- Research 2000 (Obama +7)
- Washington Post/ABC News (Obama +9)
- Zogby (Obama +6)

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