Presidential Forecast, 8/11: Static Campaign Theory Gains Cred

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Aug 11, 2008 at 18:04


Electoral College: Obama 264, McCain 183, Toss-up 91 (270 to win)
National popular vote: Obama 45.9%-43.4% McCain


(Dark Blue (236): Obama +7.6% or more
Lean Blue (28): Obama +2.6%-+7.5%
White / Toss-up (91): Obama +2.5% to McCain +2.5%
Lean Red (87): McCain +2.6%-+7.5%
Dark Red (96): McCain +7.6% or more
)

New polls from Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Virginia and Washington since the last front-page update. Because both of recent polling and because I have tightened the categories a bit, Missouri moves from "Toss-up" to "Lean McCain." The categories are now in the final form they will take between now and Election Day. In the coming months, future changes will include increasing the number of polls in the averages from 4 to 5 and, come mid-October, removing all pre-October data from swing state polls.

Swing State Overview (270 to win, 269 to tie)
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin Obama Total
Obama Base 243 243
Michigan 17 46.0% 42.8% +3.2% 260
New Hampshire 4 45.5% 42.5% +3.0% 264
Colorado 9 46.8% 44.5% +2.3% 273
Ohio 20 45.4% 44.0% +1.4% 293
Virginia 13 46.0% 44.8% +1.2% 306
Nevada 5 42.3% 43.0% -0.7% 311
North Dakota 3 42.3% 43.5% -1.2% 314
Florida 27 44.7% 46.7% -2.0% 341
Indiana 11 43.3% 45.3% -2.0% 352
Montana 3 44.3% 46.5% -2.2% 355
Missouri 11 45.3% 48.0% -2.7% 366
North Carolina 15 43.4% 47.0% -3.6% 381

The longer the campaign goes on, the more I am drawn to the theory that says the campaign is basically static, excepting major changes in mid-March around Rev. Wright and early June when Obama secured the nod. For one thing, the state polling picture has barely changed at all, even from the days in mid-June when Obama led nationally by about 5%. Second, while the national average appears closer than mid-June, it actually isn't. Right now, pretty much the only polls impacting the national average are Gallup and Rasmussen which, for some unexplained reason, have consistently shown the campaign to be about 3.5% closer than other polls.

Overall, at either the state or national levels, I don't see any evidence that the campaign has changed in about two months. That isn't to say that it won't change in the future. Rather, I would argue that the appearance of daily change brought on by the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls is a mirage. A more comprehensive look at polling indicated that this is where the campaign has been ever since Obama clinched the nod.

State by state details in the extended entry.  

Chris Bowers :: Presidential Forecast, 8/11: Static Campaign Theory Gains Cred
Solid Obama: 236 Electoral Votes
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin # Polls
California 55 52.8% 36.3% +15.5% 4
Connecticut 7 54.5% 36.3% +18.2% 4
Delaware 3 50.0% 41.0% +9.0% 1
D.C. 3 -- -- +80.0% 0
Hawaii 4 61.0% 31.0% +30.0% 1
Illinois 21 55.5% 35.3% +20.2% 4
Maine-AL* 2 50.3% 36.0% +14.3% 4
Maine-01* 1 -- -- +17.5% 0
Maine-02* 1 -- -- +11.1% 0
Maryland 10 51.5% 37.3% +14.2% 4
Massachusetts 12 51.6% 35.2% +16.4% 5
Minnesota 10 48.3% 40.3% +8.8% 4
New Mexico 5 48.5% 40.3% +8.2% 4
New Jersey 15 51.0% 40.0% +11.0% 4
New York 31 51.5% 33.8% +17.7% 4
Oregon 7 49.5% 40.0% +9.5% 4
Pennsylvania 21 48.8% 40.8% +8.0% 4
Rhode Island 4 50.8% 31.0% +19.8% 4
Vermont 3 60.0% 32.5% +27.5% 2
Washington 11 51.0% 38.2% +12.8% 4
Wisconsin 10 48.8% 40.0% +8.8% 4

Lean Obama: 28 Electoral Votes
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin # Polls
Iowa 7 47.0% 41.3% +5.7% 4
Michigan 17 46.0% 42.8% +3.2% 4
New Hampshire 4 45.5% 42.5% +3.0% 4

Toss-up: 91 Electoral Votes
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin # Polls
Colorado 9 46.8% 44.5% +2.3% 4
Florida 27 44.7% 46.7% -2.0% 6
Indiana 11 43.3% 45.3% -2.0% 4
Montana 3 44.3% 46.5% -2.2% 4
Nevada 5 42.3% 43.0% -0.7% 4
North Dakota 3 42.3% 43.5% -1.2% 4
Ohio 20 45.4% 44.0% +1.4% 5
Virginia 13 46.0% 44.8% +1.2% 4

Lean McCain: 87 Electoral Votes
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin # Polls
Alaska 3 42.3% 48.8% -6.5% 4
Georgia 15 41.8% 48.5% -6.7% 4
Missouri 11 45.3% 48.0% -2.7% 4
Nebraska-02** 1 -- -- -7.0% 0
North Carolina 15 43.4% 47.0% -3.6% 5
South Carolina 8 40.0% 46.8% -6.8% 4
Texas 34 39.3% 45.8% -6.5% 4

Solid McCain: 96 Electoral Votes
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin # Polls
Alabama 9 36.0% 50.8% -14.3% 4
Arizona 10 37.0% 46.5% -9.5% 4
Arkansas 6 38.0% 49.0% -11.0% 4
Idaho 4 38.0% 52.5% -14.5% 2
Kansas 6 36.8% 51.0% -14.2% 4
Kentucky 8 38.0% 50.8% -12.8% 4
Louisiana 9 38.5% 51.3% -12.8% 4
Mississippi 6 43.0% 51.3% -8.3% 4
Nebraska-AL** 2 35.3% 53.3% -18.0% 4
Nebraska-01** 1 -- -- -12.0% 0
Nebraska-03** 1 -- -- -36.0% 0
Oklahoma 7 30.0% 53.0% -23.0% 4
South Dakota 3 38.8% 47.5% -8.7% 3
Tennessee 11 34.8% 50.8% -16.0% 4
Utah 5 32.0% 55.3% -23.3% 4
West Virginia 5 36.0% 49.0% -13.0% 2
Wyoming 3 37.5% 53.5% -16.0% 2

* 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.

  1. For each state, take the last four polls conducted for the state, and average them.
  2. 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.
  3. If polling dates overlap, and make it difficult to determine which polls were the four most recent, include all of the overlapping polls.
  4. 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%.  


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Static Campaign (0.00 / 0)
Will be put to the test by the conventions. Centered around Labor Day and post-Olympics, that's the time that movement might start showing up if there's gonna be any.

John McCain opposes the GI Bill.

Solid Votes (0.00 / 0)
If this analysis of the "solid" votes is correct, McCain is in a world of hurt.  For him to win means that a whole lot of things have to break his way; he has a much smaller margin of error.  Obama starts in a more comfortable position, with a much bigger number of reliable votes.  

Given that the corporate media is cheerleading 24/7 for McCain, I think this race is going to be closer than it should be, but I'm having a very hard time visualizing the McCain constituency.


Well, maybe not (0.00 / 0)
If you were to add 2.4% across the board, McCain would win by turning CO, VA, and OH. Unless I'm reading this wrong.

I'm not expecting that to happen but at the same time, that's not a very big swing at all.


[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
It would only take a small 'across the board' movement in McCain's favor to open up several easy paths to 270. And it is certainly worth remembering that even though there are a healthy number of toss-up states, most of these generally go Red by pretty decent margins.  

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Disagreed (0.00 / 0)
How can it possibly be a bad thing that the toss-up states in this election are "traditionally" (i.e., in '00 & '04) red states.

What that means is: we are winning.

And yes, it's true that if McCain were doing 2.5% better, he'd have an outside chance of winning, if everything went right. But of course, if Obama were doing 2.5% better, it'd be a landslide. Those are just the margins these elections are decided at.


[ Parent ]
Interesting analyis via Political Wire (4.00 / 1)
Seems appropriate to post it here.

http://ballotbox.governing.com...

"For the last few weeks, Democrats, with their unique brand of optimism, have been suffering from a severe case of "Here we go again."

The sentiment: Why is Barack Obama blowing it? Why isn't he winning by more? Is he another John Kerry?

The answer to that last question is "no" -- or at least "not yet." Just look at the polling.

Pollster.com aggregates state polling data in all 50 state to come up with an estimate of where the Electoral College stands. The details of their methodology are here. What I've done is compare those numbers to the 2004 results -- meaning compare Obama to Kerry.

So, for example, if George W. Bush won a state 50% to 48% in 2004 and now Obama leads John McCain 47% to 44% in that state, Obama would be running ahead of John Kerry by 5 percentage points (he turned a 2-point deficit into a 3-point advantage). A few general points, before I get to the state-by-state results:

-The overall picture is very favorable for Obama. McCain is only running ahead of Bush's 2004 result in four states. Obama is doing at least 2.46 percentage points better than Kerry in 41 states. In 2004, 2.46 was Bush's margin of victory in the national popular vote.

Another way of thinking about this: If you take the 50 pollster.com figures and then weight them according to the populations of the states (a very crude way of extrapolating a national popular vote forecast from state polling), you end up with Obama 46.4%, McCain 41.6%. In other words, state polling is consistent with the recent Time, AP-Ipsos, and CBS polls that had Obama up by 5-6 points, not with the Gallup poll that gave McCain a four-point advantage. That also means that, nationally, Obama is running a little more than seven points ahead of Kerry."


To what extent (4.00 / 2)
Do you figure Obama is running a two-term campaign?  After all, he's only one state away from his 51% victory, but continues to invest heavily all over the place.  It occurs to me that he's laying the groundwork for his second run, or maybe for key 2010 Senate races.

From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

# 1.4 Republican Incumbent Races in 2010

   * 1.4.1 Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
   * 1.4.2 Mel Martinez of Florida
   * 1.4.3 Johnny Isakson of Georgia
   * 1.4.4 Mike Crapo of Idaho
   * 1.4.5 Jim Bunning of Kentucky
   * 1.4.6 Kit Bond of Missouri
   * 1.4.7 Richard Burr of North Carolina
   * 1.4.8 George Voinovich of Ohio
   * 1.4.9 Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
   * 1.4.10 Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania
   * 1.4.11 Jim DeMint of South Carolina


Nah (4.00 / 2)
He just realises the best way to 51% is to compete everywhere.

The liberal wiki
Send an email to terra@liberalwiki.com


[ Parent ]
Sure (0.00 / 0)
He's even looking at Senate races in 2008. North Carolina and Georgia for two examples. Liddy Dole is vulnerable this year, and the smaller the margin for McSame, the easier for Hagan to take that NC Senate seat. It will be really easy for Hagan if Obama carries the state, and that still seems possible. Georgia seems more of a long shot for both Obama amd Jim Martin. But Chuck Schumer of the DSCC thinks it's worth a shot against Shameless Saxby Chambliss. And the community organizer side of Obama knows that the best way for him to get more Democrats registered in Georgia and to make an upset possible there is to keep it in play in the Presidential race.

Anyway, Obama doesn't risk much by creating a handful of new battleground states. Atlanta broadcast is expensive, but a out 20 counties along the Florida border get their TV signals from Jacksonville and Tallahassee. He needs to be on the air in those cities since he's making a play for FL, and the polls show him close enough to make that effort worthwhile as well. And the whole notion of his competing in these former Confederate states gets him favorable free media. One campaign stop in Macon, GA will get more national press attention than his fourth, fifth, and sixth stops in Dayton combined.


[ Parent ]
Support the National Popular Vote bill (4.00 / 2)
The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do in the closely divided battleground states, but that we shouldn't have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote -- that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes - 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote...    


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