Sunday, November 2, 2008

Today's Polls, 11/2: Afternoon Edition

Polls conducted since our update last evening suggest some tightening toward John McCain, but he sits well behind both nationwide and in many key battleground states and remains a long-shot to win the election.

The good news for McCain? SurveyUSA has become the latest pollster to show the race tightening in Pennslyvania, now giving Barack Obama a 7-point lead after he'd been in the mid-double digits at various points in October. The Muhlenberg/Morning Call tracker has also continued to tighten, also settling on that 7-point number.

SurveyUSA also has Virginia tightening a bit to 4 points. And McCain gained incrementally in the Research 2000, Gallup, and Diageo/Hotline trackers, although this comes after a couple of days when Obama had been moving up. (Rasmussen held steady, whereas Obama ticked up in Zogby).

Overall, our model shows McCain closing Obama's gap in the national popular vote to about 5.4 points. His win percentage has increased to 6.3 percent, from 3.8 percent last night.

However, several cautions about reading too much into these numbers:

Firstly, I have the model programmed to be EXTREMELY aggressive this time of year. There have been relatively few 'fresh' polls conducted within the past 24-48 hours -- most of these state polls were in the field late last week. As we get more data in today and tonight, the model could very well decide that the race is not tightening at all. Moreover, polling conducted on a weekend -- particularly on a quasi- holiday weekend -- is generally unreliable.

Secondly, even with this tightening, McCain remains well short the 2/2/2 condition that we defined last week:
John McCain polling within 2 points in 2 or more non-partisan polls (sorry, Strategic Vision) in at least 2 out of the 3 following states: Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania.
Indeed, McCain has not come within 2 points of Obama in any polls in any of these states.

Finally, where McCain has made progress, it has come mostly from undecided voters rather than Obama's support -- this is particularly the case in Pennsylvania. Therefore, he may be running out of persuadables to persuade.




Posted: 12:30 PM ET

The RNC is using Hillary Clinton in a new robocall.
The RNC is using Hillary Clinton in a new robocall.

NEW YORK (CNN) – The Republican National Committee is using Hillary Clinton’s past criticism of Barack Obama to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of undecided voters in the final hours of the presidential campaign.

The RNC will begin an automated telephone campaign Sunday targeting millions of voters in key states that supported Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary or have a large concentration of blue collar voters, a Republican official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, tells CNN. The official was not able to specify which states, but added: keep an eye on Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Listen: RNC uses Clinton in new robocall

Full script:

“I am calling for John McCain and the RNC. Listen to what Hillary Clinton had to say about John McCain and Barack Obama:

‘In the White House there is no time for speeches and on-the-job training. Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002. I think that is a significant difference.’

This call was paid for by the Republican National Committee at 866-558-5591 and authorized by McCain-Palin 2008.”


Posted from

Today we continue our Road to 270 series with the Keystone State, Pennsylvania.

THE REPUBLICAN WHITE WHALE, Pennsylvania will give its 21 electoral votes to Barack Obama. Despite relentlessly wider public polling margins, Republicans argue that they are in a position to lose the state by 6 points, which is a 140% bigger margin than when John Kerry won the state in 2004. Even Michael Barone knows John McCain won't win the state, bitterly complaining that

The irony here is that voters motivated by anger at the decline in their wealth seem about to elect a president who has promised to embark on wealth-destroying policies.
Oh, Waah! Sounds like an elitist bitterly complaining that the voters are too dumb to realize what's good for 'em, huh? Don't be a poopy-pants, Mike, the Obama ground operation is just a bunch of "thug" kids waving signs. I mean, you wrote it, it must be true.

538 Western PA-1 -

There's More...


by: Liz Sidoti, The Associated Press

Barack Obama leads in national and key battleground state polling. Democrats look to this "election for the ages" to expand their powers in the White House and Congress. (Photo: Reuters)

Washington - Counting down to Election Day, Barack Obama appears within reach of becoming the nation's first black president as the epic campaign draws to a close against a backdrop of economic crisis and lingering war. John McCain, the battle-scarred warrior, holds out hope for a Truman-beats-Dewey-style upset. Whoever wins, the country's 44th president will immediately confront some of the most difficult economic challenges since the Great Depression. READ FULL STORY HERE»


BADP - 2008.10.15-21.24 (3618abbws) by BADigiFoto.


from Frank Rich's op-ed in today's New York Times

"Obama doesn’t transcend race. He isn’t post-race. He is the latest chapter in the ever-unfurling American racial saga. It is an astonishing chapter. For most Americans, it seems as if Obama first came to dinner only yesterday. Should he win the White House on Tuesday, many will cheer and more than a few will cry as history moves inexorably forward.

But we are a people as practical as we are dreamy. We’ll soon remember that the country is in a deep ditch, and that we turned to the black guy not only because we hoped he would lift us up but because he looked like the strongest leader to dig us out."


posted from

by: Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

Housing prices falling.

New York - Nearly one in five U.S. mortgage borrowers owe more to lenders than their homes are worth, and the rate may soon approach one in four as housing prices fall and the economy weakens, a report on Friday shows. About 7.63 million properties, or 18 percent, had negative equity in September, and another 2.1 million will follow if home prices fall another 5 percent, according to a report by First American CoreLogic. READ POST HERE»


Suddenly France has gone Obama crazy, Bloomberg reports. In Val de Reuil, in western France, the town has erected a 22-by-six-meter billboard with an image of Obama and his “Yes, We Can” slogan. Eight thousand French have joined the French Support Committee for Barack Obama. Thirty artists, inspired by the Democratic candidate, have contributed to an exhibit, “Barack Obama in Paris,”' with sculptures, paintings, sketches, T-shirts, books, pins, and posters. At Harry’s Bar they are serving cocktails named after the two candidates: McCain’s has fig liqueur, lemon juice and soda; Obama’s has cherry liqueur and grapefruit juice. Let’s hope not too many over here discover this unfortunate dimension of Obamamania. When John Kerry was labeled French, it doomed his bid for the White house.


Palin bonfire

Call it The Bonfire of the Vanities. The British appear to dislike Palin so much that America’s hockey mom-in-chief is to be burned in a 20-foot-high effigy tonight atop a bonfire on the site of the Battle of Hastings, the event that saw England’s King Harold shot dead with an arrow in the eye. The facsimile Palin, who has become an instant and recognizable figure of fun around the world, is dressed as Rambo brandishing an enormous machine gun and bedecked with bullets, all the better for shooting Alaskan wolves with, above a banner reading, “Too Hot to Handle.” Obama does not escape the attention of satirical fire raisers. He sits forlorn at Palin’s side, in a tin helmet only held up by his outsize ears.


posted from

VIEW OUR GALLERY of Halloween costumes inspired by the Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee.

It was a landslide—Sarah Palin was far more popular this Halloween than any other member of a major presidential ticket. There were celebrity Palins, Palins in drag, tween Palins, and plenty of Trig accessories, not to mention beehives, power pumps, and rimless glasses. It remains to be seen, however, whether the costume popularity translates into support on Election Day.

Palin costume



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)