(Dark Blue (236): Obama +8.0% or more
Lean Blue (28): Obama +3.0%-+7.9%
White / Toss-up (102): Obama +2.9% to McCain +2.9%
Lean Red (86): McCain +3.0%-+7.9%
Dark Red (86): McCain +8.0% or more)
Since the last front-page update, there have been new polls from California, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carlina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania (2), South Carlina, and Washington. There are three category changes:
New Mexico upgrades from "Lean Obama" to "Solid Obama"
North Carolina downgrades from "Toss-up" to "Lean McCain"
Pennsylvania upgrades from "Lean Obama" to "Solid Obama."
It is heartening to see Pennsylvania and New Mexico removed from the swing state list, and placed into the solid category. Truth be told, I should probably remove Iowa and Michigan from the swing state list, too. The election will be won and lost in the other eleven states listed. Obama starts that fight with 260 electoral votes, while McCain only has 154.
* Maine four electoral votes are awarded as follows: two for the statewide winner, and one for the winner of each congressional district. ME-01 is about 3.5% more Democratic than the state as a whole, while ME-02 is about 3.5% less Democratic than the state as a whole.
** Nebraska's five electoral votes are awarded as follows: two for the statewide winner, and one for the winner of each congressional district. NE-01 is about 6.0% more Democratic than the state as a whole, NE-02 is about 11.0% more Democratic than the state as a whole, and NE-03 is about 18.0% less Democratic than the state as a whole.
Methodology I will update at least once every day between now and November 4th. The methodology is simple and straightforward.
For each state, take the last four polls conducted for the state, and average them.
If more than four polls were conducted in the state over the previous thirty days, all polls conducted during that time period are included in the averages.
If polling dates overlap, and make it difficult to determine which polls were the four most recent, include all of the overlapping polls.
No polling firm discrimination whatsoever. Polls are never excluded because the organization has a bad or partisan reputation. Also, if a polling firm has conducted more than one of the most recent four polls, all of the polls from that organization are included.
As we move closer to the election and more data becomes available, both the time frames for polls included in the averages will decrease and the definition of a "solid" lead will eventually drop to 7.0%.