Just Statistical Noise: Obama by 7%

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 15:13


National tracking polls are pointing down today. However, swing state polls are pointing up. Which is correct? My instinct tells me it is statistical noise in both directions, and that Obama's lead continues to hover around 7.0%. Obama never actually led by 8%, and even now his lead has not dropped to 6%. A look at swing state polls conducted entirely since October 23rd, which matches up very closely to the current tracking poll range, suggests that the 7.0% thesis is correct:

More in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: Just Statistical Noise: Obama by 7%
Swing State Chart, 10/23-10/27
States not shown here are further in either direction
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin Polls Obama EVs
Obama Lock 217 217
New Mexico 5 --- --- --- 0 222
Pennsylvania 21 52.0% 41.5% +10.5% 2 243
New Hampshire 4 51.7% 41.3% +10.4% 3 247
Iowa 7 52.0% 44.0% +8.0% 1 254
Wisconsin 10 50.5% 42.5% +8.0% 2 264
Nevada 5 49.0% 42.0% +7.0% 2 269
Virginia 13 51.7% 45.0% +6.7% 3 282
Colorado 9 50.5% 44.5% +6.0% 2 291
Ohio 20 49.3% 45.0% +4.3% 3 311
Florida 27 49.0% 45.5% +3.5% 4 338
North Carolina 15 49.0% 47.7% +1.3% 3 353
Missouri 11 48.0% 47.0% +1.0% 3 364
North Dakota 3 --- --- --- 0 367
Georgia 15 47.0% 48.0% -1.0% 1 382
Indiana 11 46.0% 48.5% -2.5% 2 393
Montana 3 44.0% 48.0% -4.0% 1 396
Arizona 10 43.0% 47.5% -4.5% 2 406
Lock McCain 132 538
This actually serves as a glimpse into the future, since these numbers are the start of Friday's state polling averages. Compared to today's numbers, Obama reaches 269 at 7.0%, instead of the current 8.0%.. He avoids the Electoral College tie scenario at 6.7%, and still has 291 "solid" electoral votes. Obama's numbers in Florida, Georgia and New Hampshire improve, while is numbers in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa and Montana slip backward a bit. Everywhere else, he is within 1% of his current totals. New Mexico and North Dakota become poll-less mysteries.

A look at the long-term Pollster.com trends for October indicates that Obama's lead has consistently hovered between 6-8%. My state polling averages during the month show the same range for Obama's lead. Through it all, 7% has been the median. The quick rises to 8%, and the quick falls to 6% that have tortured us poll watchers so badly have, in my estimation, simply been statistical noise. The lead has consistently been 7.0% for at least three weeks now--possibly four. The upds and downs are simply the inevitable fluctuations within the margin of error.

If I am wrong, we will know by Friday. My guess is that Obama will have recovered to lead by 7.0% or more in the tracking polls on that date, and that he will do the same in sate polls. We shall see.  


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non-tracking average? (0.00 / 0)
I'm curious what Obama's national lead would look like using just regular national polls (non-tracking).

You can figure this out by using Pollster... (0.00 / 0)
Click Tools->Filter and remove all the tracking polls.  I'm not sure if one can embed objects in a comment  - otherwise, I would show it here.

[ Parent ]
Here (4.00 / 1)
This link is pretty much what you want - or at least a good starting point:

Pollster Without Trackers


[ Parent ]
not all the trackers are down (0.00 / 0)
Some were steady.  The race was never going to be a 10 point win.  A 5 point win is much more likely.

No change (0.00 / 0)
in the projected national vote from the state polling through yesterday.  27 State Polls were completed Oct 26th, the most thus far this year.  The projected national vote from state polling has not varied more than 1.5% since Oct 5th.  It is the picture of stability.



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