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Friday, October 24, 2008

Polls Trolls

WestBankMama says it well enough - only November 4th matters - and points to a decent piece in the NYTimes on the subject, but for all those concerned about the polls, here's a quick breakdown of possible swing states. Before calculating these states, assume 255 electoral votes to Obama, 174 to McCain, including a Bush state, Iowa (7), to Obama. 270 are needed to win. Red went to Bush, blue went to Kerry. Note that polls have a margin of error between 2 and 4 points, usually, and that polls tend to skew slightly to the left. In a given state, I'd put anything that is less than 2 points toward Obama into the red column, and anything less than 4-6 points into a tossup.

I'm using the Zogby Interactive Poll from 10/19 (McCain has been surging since, for what it's worth), since it's a more reliable poll than most. Jim Zogby is an open Democrat and a solid pollster.
  • Colorado (9): Obama +0.3
  • Florida (27): Obama +3.6
  • Missouri (11): McCain +0.3
  • Nevada (5): McCain +7.5
  • New Hampshire (4): Obama +0.3
  • New Mexico (5): Obama +0.6
  • North Carolina (15): Obama +3.1
  • Ohio (20): McCain +2.8
  • Virginia (13): Obama +3.6
In none of these states does Barack Obama have greater than a 3.6% lead according to Zogby, which essentially puts them all in serious play. It's important to note that the last-second undecideds may often flip toward McCain in many of these states; not only are they red-leaning states, but people will either prefer a steady hand over an inexperienced one or will not wish for a liberal supermajority (White House - Senate - House of Representatives all blue).

McCain can lose either Virginia; Missouri; Colorado + New Hampshire; or any two of NM, NH, and NV and still win. He can lose all three of NM, NH, and NV or CO and NM or NV and still tie.