Pollster.com

October 19, 2008 - October 25, 2008

 

VA: Obama 52, McCain 43 (PPP-10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Public Policy Polling (D)
10/21-23/08; 1,231 likely voters, MoE +/-2.8
Mode: IVR

Virginia
Obama 52, McCain 43
(10/6-7: Obama 51, McCain 43

Senate:
Warner (D) 60, Gilmore (R) 32
(10/6-7: Warner 58, Gilmore 31)


IA: Obama 54, McCain 39 (Res2000-10/19-22)

Topics: PHome

Research 2000 / Courier-Lee Enterprises
10/19-22/08, 600 likely voters, MoE +/- 4
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Iowa
Obama 54, McCain 39


AZ: McCain 44, Obama 40 (Myers/Grove-D-10/23-24)

Topics: PHome

Myers Research (D) and Grove Insight (D) for Project New West
10/23-25/08, 600 likely voters, MoE +/- 4

Arizona
McCain 44, Obama 40, Nader 3, Barr 2


KY: McCain 55, Obama 39 (R2K-10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

Herald-Leader/WKYT/Research 2000
10/19-21/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Herald Leader presidential story, results; Senate results

Kentucky
McCain 55, Obama 39

Previously released
Sen: McConnell (R-i) 47, Lunsford (D) 43


DailyKos/R2000: AR, SD, TN

Topics: PHome

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews, for each state: 600 likely voters, MoE +/- 4%

Arkansas
McCain 52, Obama 41

South Dakota
McCain 50, Obama 41
Sen: Johnson 57, Dykstra 35

Tennessee
McCain 54, Obama 38
Sen: Alexander 59, Tuke 37


CO: Obama 52, McCain 40 (RckyMtnNews 10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Rocky Mountain News/CBS News 4/
Public Opinion Strategies (R)/
RBI Strategy & Research (D)
10/21-23/08; 500 likely voters, +/- 4.3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(Rocky Mountain News story, CBS4 Story)

Colorado
Obama 52, McCain 40, Barr 1, Nader 1
(Aug: McCain 44, Obama 41, Barr 3, Nader 2)


OH: Obama 49, McCain 46 (UCincinnati-10/18-22)

Topics: PHome

The Ohio Newspaper Poll
University of Cincinnati /The Ohio News Organization
10/18-22/08; 886 LV, 3.3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
Cleveland Plain Dealer story, results; Dayton Daily News story, full results

Ohio
Obama 49, McCain 46, Nader 2, Barr 1
(10/4-8: McCain 48, Obama 46, Nader 2, Barr 1)


PA: Obama 53, McCain 41 (Muhlenberg 10/21-25)

Topics: PHome

Muhlenberg College
10/21-25/08; 597 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania
Obama 53, McCain 41
(10/20-24: Obama 52, McCain 41)


US: Obama 51, McCain 43 (Gallup-10/22-24)

Topics: PHome

Gallup Poll
10/22-24/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

2,793 Registered Voters:
Obama 51, McCain 42
(10/21-23: Obama 52, McCain 42)

2,358 Likely Voters-Expanded:
Obama 51, McCain 43
(10/21-23: Obama 51, McCain 44)

2,413 Likely Voters-Traditional:
Obama 51, McCain 44
(10/21-23: Obama 50, McCain 45)


US: Obama 53, McCain 44 (ABCPost-10/21-24)

Topics: PHome

ABC News / Washington Post
10/20-24/08; 1,331 likely voters, margin of error 2.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(ABC, Post)

National
Obama 53, McCain 44
(10/19-23: Obama 53, McCain 44)


US: Obama 46, McCain 42 (IBD/TIPP-10/20-24)

Topics: PHome

Investor's Business Daily(IBD)/TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP)
10/20-24/08, n=989 likely voters, margin of error +/- 3
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 46, McCain 42 (10/19-23: Obama 46, McCain 42)


US: Obama 50, McCain 43 (Hotline 10/22-24)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline
10/22-24, 08; 869 LV 3.3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 43


US: Obama 52, McCain 44 (Rasmussen 10/22-24)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/22-24,08; 3,000 LV 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 52, McCain 44


Morning Status Update for Saturday (10/25)


A very busy Friday brings 21 new statewide polls and three new stand-alone national surveys in addition to the eight daily trackers. With the possible exception of the national trend, the net impact on where the race stands is virtually nil. Looking at them collectively, the most recent polls suggest that vote preferences are holding steady.

Ten of the 21 new statewide polls represent updates from previous surveys by the same pollster conducted earlier in October. Four of these show slight movement to Barack Obama, six show slight movement to John McCain. The new national releases, as compared to the previous sample with non-overlapping field dates, shows the same, mostly random pattern.

081025 new polls.png

The net impact of the new surveys on our trend estimates in battleground states is similarly random. The margins shifted slightly in Obama's direction in five states and in McCain's direction in four. Over the last week, there is a hint of improvement for Obama, as the margins in 12 states shift slightly to Obama and 6 slightly to McCain.


081025 trends.png

Please keep in mind that the estimate numbers in the table above --and the status classifications -- will likely change during the course of the day as we add new polls. So if you're reading this late in the day, the numbers on the map may not match this table.

Speaking of which, after noting the shift of Virginia to dark blue, "strong" Obama status in yesterday's update, the new Winthrop/ETV poll, showing Obama with a one-point advantage (45% to 44%) nudged the estimates enough in McCain's direction to move Virginia back to the "lean" Obama column.

Movement on our current national trend indicates that any "narrowing" of the margin seen earlier this week was either temporary or an artifact of the brief lull in non-daily-tracker national poll releases just before and after the third debate. Having said that, Obama's margin on our trend estimate (+8.7% as of this writing) is the largest we have seen to date.


US: Obama 51, McCain 42 (Zogby 10/21-24)

Topics: PHome

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby
10/21-24, 08; 1,203 LV 2.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 51, McCain 42


US: Obama 52, McCain 40 (Daily Kos 10/22-24)

Topics: PHome

Daily Kos (D)/Research 2000
10/22-24,08; 1,100 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 52, McCain 40


The Art and Science of Choosing Likely Voters

Topics: ANES , Barack Obama , Likely Voters , Validation

On Wednesday Nate Silver posted a helpful table that compared registered voter and likely voter samples on seven recent national surveys, including both the "traditional" and "expanded" likely voter models reported ever day by Gallup.

081023_538 table

He noticed that the polls "appear to segregate themselves into two clusters," on showing a 4-6 point difference between the likely and registered voter models and one showing essentially no difference:

The first cluster coincides with Gallup's so-called "traditional" likely voter model, which considers both a voter's stated intention and his past voting behavior. The second cluster coincides with their "expanded" likely voter model, which considers solely the voter's stated intentions. Note the philosophical difference between the two: in the "traditional" model, a voter can tell you that he's registered, tell you that he's certain to vote, tell you that he's very engaged by the election, tell you that he knows where his polling place is, etc., and still be excluded from the model if he hasn't voted in the past. The pollster, in other words, is making a determination as to how the voter will behave. In the "expanded" model, the pollster lets the voter speak for himself.

Nate offered several good reasons why the traditional likely voter models may be missing the mark this year, as well some reasonable suggestions of ways pollsters might check their assumptions. His bottom line, however, is that he considers the 4-6 point gap between registered and likely voters "ridiculous" and issued a "challenge" to the pollsters showing closer margins to "explain why you think what you're doing is good science."

Now I'm a fan of Nate's work at FiveThirtyEight.com and I share his skepticism about placing too much faith this year in more restrictive likely voter models that place great emphasis on past voting. But having said that, I think it's a bit unfair to imply that the models used by pollsters like Franklin & Marshall and GfK amount to bad "science."

The science and art of likely voter models is worth considering. I've long argued that political polling is a mix of both science and art (just check the masthead of my old blog), and no where is the "art" of this business more evident than in the way pollsters select likely voters. Whether it's the likely voter model or screen or decisions about what sort of sample to use or how to weight the results, pollsters typically make a series subjective judgements that are at best informed by science. One reason that no two pollsters use exactly the same "model" is that the science of predicting whether a given individual will vote is so imprecise.

As I wrote in my column earlier this week, likely voter models had their origins in a series of "validation" studies first done by pollsters in the 1950s, when they mostly interviewed respondents in person. Since the interviewer visited each respondent at home, they could easily obtain their name and address. After the election, pollsters with a sufficient resources could send their interviewers to the offices of local election clerks to look up whether each respondent had actually voted. Gallup used proprietary validation studies to help develop its traditional likely voter model, and the validation data collected by the University of Michigan's American National Election Studies (ANES) from the 1950s through the 1980s helped guide a generation of political pollsters.

Unfortunately, the ANES stopped doing validation studies in 1980, but the data is readily available online, I downloaded the 1980 survey and ran the cross-tabulations that follow. In 1980, ANES followed its standard practice, conducting an in-person interview with a nationally representative random sample of voters in October, then following up with a second interview with the same respondents after the election in November.

The following table shows results from questions asked before the 1980 election about whether the respondent was registered and whether they intended to vote, plus a question asked afterwards about whether they had actually voted. (A few caveats: first, the data shown here are unweighted, as I could find no documentation or weight variables in the materials online. Second, roughly 18% of the respondents are omitted from this table because the researchers could not firm their registration status. Third, obviously, the study is 28 years old, although a more recent validation study conducted by in Minnesota by Rob Daves, now a principal of Daves & Associates Research, yielded very similar findings).

081024 NES1980_A.png

The middle column represents respondents who were actually registered to vote, but had no record of voting in the 1980 general election. And no, that's not a typo. Eight-four percent (84%) of these confirmed non-voters said they planned to vote. Their answers were more accurate after the election, but still, nearly half (44%) of the non-voters claimed inaccurately a few weeks later that they had voted.

The far right column shows the respondents who were confirmed as non-registrants. Nearly a third (30%) told the interviewer that they were registered to vote during their first, pre-election interview, and 45% said they intended to vote. After the election one in five of those with no record of being registered to vote (21%) claimed they had cast a ballot.

These results are not unusual. They are broadly consistent with previous ANES studies. Collectively, they illustrate the fundamental challenge of identifying "likely voters." If you "let the voter speak for himself," he (or she) often overstates their true likelihood of voting. Looking back, many also claim to have voted when they have not -- something to keep in mind in looking at crosstabulations for out this week for those reporting they have voted early.

Now check the patterns by two additional questions about past voting and interest in the campaign. Again, you also see strong but imperfect correlations. Those who say they usually vote and who express high interest in the campaign tend to vote more often than those who do not.

081024 NES 1980-2.png

Since voters tend to overstate their intentions, pollsters like Gallup (and most of the others in Nate Silver's table) typically combine questions about intent to vote, past voting, interest in politics and (sometimes) knowledge of voting procedures into an index. A respondent who says they are registered, plans to vote,has voted in all previous elections and is very interested in politics might get a perfect score. A respondent that reports doing none of those things gets a zero. The higher the score, the more likely they are to vote. [I should add: I'm giving you the over-simplifed, "made-for-TV-movie" version of how this typically works -- as per one of the comments below, Gallup and many others give "bonus points" to younger voters to try to compensate for their inability to say they've voted in previous elections].

Some pollsters (such as Gallup and others who use variants of their "traditional" model) will use that index to select the portion of their adult sample that corresponds to the level of turnout they expect (they use the index to screen out the unlikely voters). A few pollsters (CBS News/New York Times and Rob Daves when he conducted the Minnesota Star Tribune poll) prefer to weight all respondents based on their probability of voting. The table below (from my post four years ago on the CBS model) shows a typical such a scale used for this purpose based on the same 1980 validation data presented above.


081024 traugott table.png

So given all this evidence, why am I skeptical of more restrictive models? Look again at any of the tables above. Neither the individual questions nor the more refined index can perfectly predict which voters will turn out. For example, in the table above, more than a quarter (27.6%) of the voters with the lowest probability of voting -- those who would be disqualified as "likely voters" by most "cut-off" models -- did in fact vote in 1980. And almost as many of the voters scored with the highest probability of voting did not vote (that's one reason why I like the CBS model that weights all registered voters on their probability of voting seems rather than tossing out the least likely).

Still, the best any of these models can do, as SurveyUSA's Jay Leve put it in an email to me last week in describing his own procedures, is "capture gross changes" in turnout from year to year. "We believe," he continued, "no model in 2008 is capable of capturing fine changes" in turnout. I agree. I also fear, as I did four years ago, that models that try to closely "calibrate" to a particular level of turnout overlook the strong possibility that the respondents willing to participate in a 5 to 15 minute interview on politics are probably more likely to vote than those who hang up or refuse to participate. In other words, some non-voters have already screened themselves out before the calibration process begins.

The best use of these highly restrictive "likely voter models," in my view, is to determine when the level of turnout has the potential to affect the outcome of an election. Put another way, the likely voter models typically produce results that differ only slightly from the larger pool of registered voers. However, in relatively rare elections -- and 2008 appears to be such an example -- the marginal voters tilt heavily to one candidate. Surveys have been showing for months that Barack Obama stands to benefit if his campaign can help increase turnout among the kinds of registered voters that typically do not vote.

The fact that the likely voter models are producing inconsistent results, provides additional confirmation of that finding. As Nate Silver points out, some likely voter models (presumably the ones putting more emphasis on past voting) are showing closer results than other models that appear to be less restrictive. The problem is that determining which model is the most appropriate is not a matter of separating science from non-science, and the differences between them are sometimes subtle. Many of the presumably less restrictive models used by national pollsters (ABC/Washington Post and CBS/New York Times, for example) likely include at least some measures of past voting. The true margin that currently separates Obama and McCain probably falls somewhere in between these various "likely voter" snapshots.

Once the votes are counted, we will have a better idea which models are coming closest to reality. Either way, no single model can claim unique "scientific" precision. All involve judgment calls by the pollsters.

[Typo corrected]


Panagakis: Race a Wild Card for Pollsters

Topics: Barack Obama , Bradley/Wilder , Race

Guest Pollster Nick Panagakis is president of Market Shares Corporation, a marketing and public opinion research firm headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill.

The National Council on Public Polls analyzed national presidential poll accuracy In 2004. The found that eleven of fifteen pollster margins were off by 0% to only 2% from the winning margin., well within the margin of error.

This year polls are now showing Obama from +5 points to +13 ahead, more variability than four years ago this week. This year a demographic variable appears to be having an acute effect on voting estimates. That variable is race and may explain the difference in poll margins.

I did a "what if" spreadsheet analysis with hypothetically variable percentages of black composition of total voters and corresponding variable percentages of the white/other races of turnout. I set a constant result for the vote for president by African-Americans.

Typically, polls lack sufficiently large samples of black voters to reliably estimate their voting intentions. I derived my estimate from a tracking poll's pooled results: 95% of African-American would vote for Barack Obama, 3% for John McCain and 2% for other candidates. A one or two point disparity from 95% for Obama doesn't make much difference in this analysis. If anyone has better results, please respond to this column.

The key variables are the racial distribution of voters and how white/race voters will vote.

Exit polls in the last few elections have shown African-American varying from 10% to 12% (in 2004) of total voters. My analysis ranged from 10% to a hypothetical 15% to check incremental margin gain.

General voter interest in this election may be so high, black composition could remain at 12%. But if it increases to 13%, that adds a one-point margin gain for Obama. For each one percentage point increase in black composition, the overall margin for Obama increases by one percentage point.

The other variable is how whites and others would vote. The following hypothetical scenarios cover most of the overall margins current polls are showing. They range from +4.8 to +9.4 Obama winning margins.

Assuming McCain is ahead by 7 points among whites/others and with 12% African-Americans of all voters, overall results are a Obama win of +4.8%. At 13% black voter of total turnout this would result in a +6.0 point Obama win.

Assuming McCain ahead by only 5 points among whites/others and with 12% African-American sample composition. This would yield an Obama win of +6.6 points. At 13% black voter composition results are a +7.6 point Obama win.

Assuming McCain down to +3 points among whites/others and with 12% black voter sample composition. This would yield an Obama win of +8.4 points. At 13% black voter composition results in a +9.4 point win for Obama.

In closing this analysis has nothing to do with the Bradley Effect theory. And nothing to do with reverse-Bradley. (Since when can a theory have it both ways?) Pre-election poll versus exit poll or post election analysis examining such variables could have confirmed or denied the effect.


PA: Obama 52, McCain 41 (Muhlenberg 10/20-24)

Topics: PHome

Muhlenberg College
10/20-24/08; 601 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania
Obama 52, McCain 41


Rasmussen: IA, NH (10/23)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/23
Mode: IVR

Iowa 500 LV, 4.5%
Obama 52, McCain 44
Sen: Harkin (D-i) 57, Reed (R) 41

New Hampshire 700 LV, 4%
Obama 50, McCain 46
Sen: Shaheen (D) 52, Sununu (R-i) 46


OH: Obama 51, McCain 44 (PPP-10/4-5)

Topics: PHome

Public Policy Polling (D)
10/4-5/08; 993 likely voters, margin of error +/- 3.1%
Mode: IVR

Ohio
Obama 51, McCain 44
(10/4-5: Obama 49, McCain 43)


US: Obama 53, McCain 41 (Newsweek-10/22-23)

Topics: PHome

Newsweek / PSRA
10/22-23/2008
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(story, results)

National
Likely voters - n=882 likely voters, margin of error +/- 4%.
Obama 53, McCain 41

Registered voters - n=1,092 registered voters, margin of error +/- 3.7%
Obama 53, McCain 40
(10/8-9: Obama 52, McCain 41)


Daily Tracking Update (Friday 10/24)

Topics: Daily Trackers

Another day of what looks like random noise in the national daily tracking. Four trackers show slight, nominal movement to Obama (Gallup, Diageo Hotline, DailyKos/Research 2000 and IBD-TIPP). Three show slight movement to McCain (ABC/Washington Post, Reuters Zogby and GWU/Battleground) and one (Rasmussen) shows no change. As usual, all of these shifts are well within the margin of error of each poll.


081024 trackers.png

On the other hand, as of this hour, Obama's lead on the more variable "nose" of our national trend chart has increased for the fifth straight day to an 8.4 point margin (50.9% to 42.5% - as of this hour).


US: Obama 53, McCain 44 (ABCPost-10/20-23)

Topics: PHome

ABC News / Washington Post
10/19-22/08; 1,331 likely voters, margin of error 2.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(ABC, Post)

National
Obama 53, McCain 44


US: Obama 46, McCain 42 (IBD/TIPP-10/19-23)

Topics: PHome

Investor's Business Daily(IBD)/TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP)
10/19-23/08, n=1,008 likely voters, margin of error +/- 3.5
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 46, McCain 42



NC: McCain 50, Obama 48 (Rasmussen-10/23)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/23/08; 700 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

North Carolina
McCain 50, Obama 48


US: Obama 51, McCain 44 (Gallup-10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Gallup Poll
10/21-23/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

2,787 Registered Voters:
Obama 52, mcCain 42

2,365 Likely Voters-Expanded:
Obama 51, McCain 44

2,406 Likely Voters-Traditional:
Obama 50, McCain 45


OR: Obama 48, McCain 34 (Riley-10/10-20)

Topics: PHome

Riley Research
10/10-20/08; 499 LV, 4.4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Oregon
Obama 48, McCain 34
Sen: Merkley (D) 36, Smith (R-i) 35, Brownlow (C) 4


MI: Obama 51, McCain 37 (EPICMRA-10/19-22)

Topics: PHome

EPIC-MRA / Detroit News
10/19-22/08; 400 LV, 4.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Michigan
Obama 51, McCain 37, Barr 1, Nader 1
Sen: Levin (D-i) 58, Hoogendyk (R) 30


US: Obama 49, McCain 41 (Economist-10/20-21)

Topics: PHome

Economist / YouGov-Polimetrix
10/20-21/08; 1,000 LV, 3%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 49, McCain 41


US: Obama 50, McCain 43 (Hotline 10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline
10/21-23, 08; 766 LV 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 43


US: Obama 52, McCain 43 (DemCorps-10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Democracy Corps (D) /
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D)
10/21-23/08; 1,000 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 52, McCain 43, Nader 2, Barr 1


StrategicVision: FL, GA, OH, PA (10/20-22)

Topics: PHome

Strategic Vision (R)
10/20-22/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Florida 1,200 LV, 3%
McCain 48, Obama 46

Georgia 800 LV, 3.5%
McCain 51, Obama 45
Sen: Chambliss (R-i) 46, Martin (D) 44, Buckley (L) 5

Ohio 1,200 LV, 3%
McCain 48, Obama 45

Pennsylvania 1,200 LV, 3%
Obama 50, McCain 43


Politico/InsAdv: OH, FL, GA (10/22)

Topics: PHome

Politico / Insider Advantage
10/22/08
Mode: IVR
(source)

Florida 562 LV, 4.5%
Obama 48, McCain 47

Ohio 408 LV, 5%
Obama 52, McCain 42


InsiderAdvantage
10/23/08; 615 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

Georgia
Obama 48, McCain 47
Sen: Chmabliss 44, Martin 42, Buckley 2


US: Obama 49, McCain 46 (GWU 10/19-23)

Topics: PHome

GWU/Battleground
Tarrance Group (R)/Lake Research (D)
10/19-10/23, 08; 1,000 LV 3.1%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 49, McCain 46


Winthrop/ETV: NC, SC, VA (9/28-10/19)

Topics: PHome

Winthrop/ETV
9/28-10/19/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(source)

North Carolina 744 LV, 3.6%
Obama 45, McCain 44

South Carolina 617 LV, 3.9%
McCain 55, Obama 35

Virginia 665 LV, 3.8%
Obama 45, McCain 44


US: Obama 52, McCain 45 (Rasmussen 10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/21-23,08; 3,000 LV 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 52, McCain 45


IN: Obama 49, McCain 45 (SurveyUSA-10/21-22)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/21-22/08; 631 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

Obama 49, McCain 45
Gov: Daniels (R-i) 54, Long Thompson (D) 35, Horning (L) 7


Morning Status Update for Friday 10/24

Topics: Status Update

Yesterday's new polls helped solidify Barack Obama's standing on our electoral map, although the most recent updates and national tracking polls showing relative stability in the race. Still, with Ohio shifting to the lean Obama column, we now show 306 electoral votes in the Obama column, and 268 electoral votes -- just two shy of the 270 needed to win -- now in the strong Obama column.

Of 29 new statewide polls we logged yesterday, the most recent updates indicate no consistent trend. Six (6) of the new polls are updates by previous tracking surveys by the same pollster earlier in October. Of these, 3 show gains for Obama, 2 shows gains for McCain and the margin on one is unchanged. If we include the three updates from Quinnipiac University from previous tracks fielded in late September, the tally is 4 up for Obama, 3 up for McCain, one unchanged.

However, Obama's performance on three new Allstate/National Journal surveys, and seven new "Big 10" Surveys in midwestern states (the latter representing updates from surveys conducted just after the peak of McCain's post convention bump peaked in mid-September), have a greater impact on our trend estimates.

081024 todays.png

The net impact of the new surveys on our trend estimates is virtually all good news for Obama, expanding his margins over McCain in 11 of 12 battleground states.

081024 trends

The one exception to the overall trend is Pennsylvania, where we logged five (yes five) new surveys yesterday. The results are remarkably consistent, showing Obama with leads of 10 to 13 percentage points and 51% to 53% of the vote. The new surveys narrow Obama's margin on our trend estimate to 13.4% (52.9% to 39.5%). The margin is just over two points narrower, but still comfortably in the "strong" Obama category.

Two new surveys in Ohio from Quinnipiac and Big Ten, both show Obama leading by double-digits, margins far greater than other recent Ohio polls. Their impact on the trend estimate is a 2.8-point jump in Obama's Ohio margin there -- he now leads by 4 points (49.5% to 45.5%) -- enough to shift Ohio and its 20 electoral votes to the "lean" Obama column.

Three new surveys in Minnesota also show Obama ahead by double digits, expanding his trend estimate there by nearly two percentage points (to +8.8%, 51.4% to 42.6%), enough to shift Minnesota's 10 electoral votes to "strong" Obama.

In Michigan, the new Big Ten survey showing Obama with a crushing 22 point lead is also the first new survey there in two weeks. That scenario gives the new survey great influence in the way the regression trend line plots, so it increases Obama's margin by an almost ridiculous 5.9 points in one day. Still, notice that our trend line is still cautious about the most recent polls, drawing the Obama line just below his recent results and the McCain line just above his.

A new Wesleyan University poll in West Virginia, showing McCain leading by five points, helps narrow his lead there slightly, though I had neglected to notice that new polls from Wednesday shifted West Virginia to the strong McCain classification.

Today's results may represent a momentary high water mark, given some of the surprisingly positive results for Obama released yesterday, but it's worth taking note of Obama's current dominance on the electoral map. Our strong Obama classification (typically involving leads of eight points or more) now accounts for 268 electoral votes, just two short of the 270 needed to win. We show another four states, representing 38 more electoral votes, in lean the lean Obama column, for a total of 306. And Obama has a nominal lead in five of the remaining seven states classified as "toss-ups."

Yesterday's national trackers were a picture of statistical noise, as noted previously (3 up slightly for Obama, 2 up slightly for McCain, 3 unchanged). While Obama's margin increased slightly again yesterday -- for the fifth straight day -- the more recent twitches in the national trend may represent the impact of the brief lull in non-tracker national surveys last week. The trend for the national trackers (in the chart below) has flat-lined over the last two weeks.

Trend in the 8 National Tracking Polls:


US: Obama 52, McCain 40 (Daily Kos 10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Daily Kos (D)/Research 2000
10/21-23,08; 1,100 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 52, McCain 40


US: Obama 51, McCain 41 (Zogby 10/21-23)

Topics: PHome

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby
10/21-23, 08; 1,203 LV 2.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 51, McCain 41


Very Sleepy "Outliers"


George Bishop takes up likely voters at TPM Cafe.

Gallup finds Obama 74% of Jewish voters, 65% of first time voters, but no increase in their proportions since since 2004.

The Pew Research Center finds Obama's image improving, interest in the campaign growing since 2004 and 64% familiar with "Joe the Plumber."

Jennifer Agiesta finds perceptions of the candidates ideologies holding steady.

The Center for Rural Strategies survey finds McCain losing rural support during October.

PPP offers a useful caution on those early voting numbers, and asks you where they should poll next.

Nate Silver charts the polls on California's Prop 8.

Marc Ambinder trusts Mason-Dixon and Schroth-Eldon (St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald) in Florida.

Mickey Kaus would like to see the Time/CNN Ayres and ACORN questions tabbed by the vote.

Greg Sargent has the latest television advertising buy data from Evan Tracey.

The Onion: "Zogby Poll: John Zogby Coolest Dude in America."


PA: Obama 52, McCain 40 (Muhlenberg 10/19-23)


Muhlenberg College
10/19-23/08; 608 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania
Obama 52, McCain 40


Obama's Double-Digit Lead? The Cell Phone Only Difference in the National Trend Estimate


One can get lost in the deluge of polls which, just this week, show anything from a narrow 1% Obama lead (AP-Gfk) to a substantial margin of 14% (Pew). One pattern that seems to have become particularly evident this week is that the polls showing the biggest leads for Obama tend to be those that are polling the cell phone only population (such as Pew, CBS/New York Times, and ABC/Washington Post). We know from the recent Pew report that excluding cell phone only respondents from the sampling frame reduces Obama's margin by 2-3%, even when the sample is weighted. But how does this affect the national trend estimate, which takes into account all polling?

One of the great features of the new interactive tracking charts available on this site is the ability to select or remove particular pollsters. I used this feature to create two national trend estimates--one including only pollsters that include cell phone only respondents, and one including all other pollsters.

National Trend Estimate for Pollsters Reaching Cell Phone Only Respondents


National Trend Estimate for Pollsters not Reaching Cell phone Only Respondents

The comparison between the two trends is remarkably consistent with what the Pew Report would lead us to expect. While the trend that includes pollsters not calling cell phones shows an Obama advantage in the 6-7% range, the trend for those reaching cell phone only respondents shows an Obama lead greater than 10%. Obama's support increases by almost 3% in the national trend that includes polls reaching cell phone only respondents while McCain's support decreases by about 1%.

The difference between these two trends is hardly trivial since an extra 3-4% in the national vote could very well mean that several additional states tip in Obama's favor, producing a substantial electoral college landslide (keep in mind that most statewide polls are not including cell phone only respondents). If we assume that polls that reach the cell phone only population are more accurate, then Obama's lead may very well be in double-digits. But on November 4th, it will be worth checking back on these two trends to see whether the cell phone only pollsters actually do fare better in predicting the election outcome.

UPDATE: One of the nice things about the dynamic charts is that they will continue to update themselves. Thus, if you want to keep track of the differences between the separate trends for the next 11 days, you can bookmark this post and keep checking in.


Rasmussen: GA, LA, MN, WA (10/22)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
Mode: IVR

Georgia 10/22, 500 LV, 4,5%
McCain 51, Obama 46
Sen: Chambliss (R-i) 47, Martin (D) 45

Louisiana 10/21, 500 LV, 4.5%
McCain 57, Obama 41
Sen: Landrieu (D-i) 53, Kennedy (R) 43

Minnesota 10/22, 500 LV, 4.5%
Obama 56, McCain 41
Sen: Franken (D) 41, Coleman (R-i) 37, Dean Barkley (Ind) 17

Washington 10/22, 500 LV, 4.5%
Obama 54, McCain 43
Gov: Gregoire (D-i) 50, Rossi (R) 48



US: Obama 52, McCain 39 (CBSTimes-10/19-22)

Topics: PHome

CBS News / New York Times
10/19-22/08; LV (from a sample of 1,046 RV)
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(CBS story)

National
Obama 52, McCain 39


Daily Tracking Update


Here's a quick update on the daily tracking survey releases: Another day, another picture of trendless noise on the vote preference question on the eight daily tracking surveys. As usual, the result for today on each poll is well within each poll is within sampling. Three show a slight uptick for Obama, two show a slight movement to McCain and three show now change in the margin.


081023 trackers2.png


US: Obama 54, McCain 43 (ABCPost-10/19-22)

Topics: PHome

ABC News / Washington Post
10/19-22/08; 1,335 LV, 2.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(ABC, Post)

National
Obama 54, McCain 43


FL: Obama 49, McCain 42 (StPete-10/20-22)

Topics: PHome

St Petersberg Times /
Bay News 9 /
Miami Herald
10/20-22/08; 800 likely voters, 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Florida
Obama 49, McCain 42


KS: McCain 53, Obama 41 (SurveyUSA-10/21-22)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/21-22/08; 613 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Kansas
McCain 53, Obama 41
Sen: Roberts (R-i) 57, Slattery (D) 35, Hodgkinson (L) 2, Martin (Ref) 2


ME: Obama 56, McCain 35 (CInsights-10/16-19)

Topics: PHome

Critical Insights
10/16-19/08; 443 LV, 4.7%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Maine
Obama 56, McCain 35
Sen: Collins 54, Allen 42


PA: Obama 53, McCain 41 (SurveyUSA-10/21-22)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/21-22/08; 620 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania
Obama 52, McCain 41


MT: Obama 44, McCain 40 (MSU-10/16-20)

Topics: PHome

MSU-Billings
10/16-20/08; 403 Adults, 5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Montana
Obama 44, McCain 40, Paul 4, Barr 1, Nader 1


AR: McCain 51, Obama 36 (UofArk-10/1-21)

Topics: PHome

University of Arkansas
10/1-21/08; RV (from a sample of 1,682 Adults)
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Arkansas
McCain 51, Obama 36


US: Obama 51, McCain 45 (Gallup-10/20-22)

Topics: PHome

Gallup Poll
10/20-22/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

2,788 Registered Voters:
Obama 50, McCain 43

2,349 Likely Voters-Expanded:
Obama 51, McCain 45

2,399 Likely Voters-Traditional:
Obama 50, McCain 46


NationalJournal: MN, PA, WI (10/16-20)

Topics: PHome

AllState / National Journal
10/16-20/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Minnesota 402 RV, 4.9%
Obama 50, McCain 40

Pennsylvania 412 RV, 4.9%
Obama 51, McCain 41 **

Wisconsin 405 RV, 4.9%
Obama 53, McCain 40

** Corrected


CA: Obama 56, McCain 33 (PPIC-10/12-19)

Topics: PHome

Public Policy Institute of California
10/12-19/08; 1,186 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

California
Obama 56, McCain 33


TX: McCain 54, Obama 44 (Rasmussen-10/21)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/21/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Texas
McCain 54, Obama 44
Sen: Cornyn (R-i) 55, Noriega (D) 40


WV: McCain 49, Obama 44 (Orion-10/20-21)

Topics: PHome

West Virginia Wesleyan College / Orion Strategies
10/20-21/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(WV Weslelyan, Orion)

West Virginia
McCain 49, Obama 44
Sen: Rockefeller (D-i) 60, Wolfe (R) 36


KY: McConnell 47, Lunsford 43 (R2K-10/19-21)


Herald-Leader/WKYT/Research 2000
10/19-21/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Kentucky
Sen: McConnell (R-i) 47, Lunsford (D) 43


US: Obama 48, McCain 43 (Hotline 10/20-22)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline
10/20-22, 08; 769 LV 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 48, McCain 43


US: Obama 52, McCain 45 (Rasmussen 10/20-22)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/20-22,08; 3,000 LV 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 52, McCain 45


Big10: US, IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, OH, PA, WI (10/19-22)

Topics: PHome

Big Ten Battleground Poll
10/19-22/08; 4.2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(source)

National 1,014 LV, 3.1%
Obama 52, McCain 43

Illinois 572 LV
Obama 61%, McCain 32%

Indiana 586 LV
Obama 51%, McCain 42%

Iowa 586 LV
Obama 52%, McCain 39%

Michigan 562 LV
Obama 58%, McCain 36%

Minnesota 583 LV
Obama 57%, McCain 38%
Sen: Franken (D) 40, Coleman (R-i) 34, Barkley (I) 15

Ohio 564 LV
Obama 53%, McCain 41%

Pennsylvania 566 LV
Obama 52%, McCain 42%

Wisconsin 584 LV
Obama 53%, McCain 42%


US: Obama 49, McCain 45 (GWU 10/16, 10/19-22)

Topics: PHome

GWU/Battleground
Tarrance Group (R)/Lake Research (D)
10/16, 10/19-22, 08; 1,000 LV 3.1%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 49, McCain 45


Quinnipiac: FL, OH, PA (10/16-21)

Topics: PHome

Quinnipiac University
10/16-21/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(source)

Florida 1,433 LV, 2.6%
Obama 49, McCain 44

Ohio 1,360 LV, 2.7%
Obama 52, McCain 38

Pennsylvania 1,425 LV, 2.6%
Obama 53, McCain 40


US: Obama 51, McCain 41 (Daily Kos 10/20-22)

Topics: PHome

Daily Kos (D)/Research 2000
10/20-22,08; 1,100 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 51, McCain 41


Morning Status Update for Thursday 10/23

Topics: Status Update

Yesterday's 17 new statewide and 12 new national poll releases look like a picture of stability in the race for President. The state of Washington shifts back to strong Obama dark blue, but otherwise, the new surveys show mostly random change in both directions.

At the state level, 11 of the 17 polls show movement of at least a point in Obama's direction, 4 in McCain's direction since the last survey by the same pollster. If we focus only on the 9 that follow up on previous polls conducted earlier in October, they have a hint of more recent gains by Obama: 6 show movement in Obama's direction, 2 in McCain's direction and 1 with no net change.

081023 todays.png

The impact on our trend estimates within the more contested states is again mostly offsetting. The margin shifts slightly in Obama's direction in 6 states and in McCain's direction in 4. Over the past week, Obama's margins have increased in 13 of the more competitive states, McCain's in 7.

081023 trends.png

In the state of Washington, a new Elway survey showing Obama leading by 19 points (55% to 36%). That bumps Obama's lead on the Washington trend estimate to 9.3%, enough to qualify for "strong" Obama status.

Florida is one state that has shown significant movement back to McCain. Although Obama still leads by two points on our trend estimate there (48.1% to 45.9), the margin has narrowed from a 6.1% Obama lead a week ago. Yesterday's new Mason-Dixon survey, showing a dead heat of McCain 46%, Obama 45% helps confirm that tightening.

At the national level, the new surveys again bump up Obama's margin slightly for the fourth day in a row. Of the eight national trackers, yesterday's releases shifted margins slightly in Obama's direction on four (including Gallup's "expanded" likely voter universe), in McCain's direction on two and showed no change on two.

081023 trackers.png


US: Obama 52, McCain 40 (Zogby 10/20-22)

Topics: PHome

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby
10/20-22,08; 1,206 LV 2.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 52, McCain 40


PA: Obama 52, McCain 42 (Muhlenberg-10/18-22)

Topics: PHome

Muhlenberg College
10/18-22/08; 602 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania
Obama 52, McCain 42


Wish My Team Were in the World Series "Outliers"

Topics: Outliers Feature

At TPMCafe discussion with David Moore, Scott Althaus looks at whether likely voter models captured the Bush "ground game" in 2004.

Gallup says 80% of Americans are aware of Colin Powell's endorsement, but only 12% are more likely to vote for Obama as a result.

Jon Cohen finds the Powell endorsement has a bigger impact with independents.

Gary Langer finds an Obama advantage in battleground states.

The UChannel shares a discussion on the reliability of state polling via YouTube.

Michael Barone considers the Bradley Effect and the problems of exit polls.

The Hill finds chatter about an "internal" Obama poll showing a closer race in Pennsylvania.

Politico finds Pennsylvania analysts and insiders who think the race is closer than the polls there suggest.

PPP profiles swing voters in North Carolina.

DJ Drummond finds that media pollsters have offices on the East Coast, concludes that all polls are therefore wrong (via Sullivan)


KY: McCain 52, Obama 44 (Rasmussen-10/21)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen Reports
10/21/08; 500 LV, 4.5%
Mode: IVR

Kentucky
McCain 52, Obama 44
Sen: McConnell (R-i) 50, Lunsford (D) 43


NC: Obama 48, McCain 46 (WSOCTV-10/20-21)

Topics: PHome

WSOC-TV / Marshall Marketing and Communications
10/20-21/08; 500 LV, 4.4%
Mode: IVR

North Carolina
Obama 48, McCain 46
Sen: Hagan (D) 44, Dole (R-i) 43
Gov: Perdue (D) 44, McCrory (R) 44


US: Obama 54, McCain 43 (ABCPost-10/18-21)

Topics: PHome

ABC News / Washington Post
10/18-21/08; 1,330 LV, 2.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(ABC, Post)

National
Obama 54, McCain 43


CNN/TIME: NV, NC, OH, VA, WV (10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

CNN / TIME / ORC
10/19-21/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(source)

Nevada 700 LV, 3.5%
Obama 51, McCain 46

North Carolina 644 LV, 4%
Obama 51, McCain 47

Ohio 737 LV, 3.5%
Obama 50, McCain 46

Virginia 647 LV, 4%
Obama 54, McCain 44

West Virginia 674 LV, 4%
McCain 53, Obama 44


Comments Problem

Topics: Comments , Pollster.com

For those who have tried to post comments this morning and received the following message:

Comment Submission Error

Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

You are not allowed to add comments.

You have not been banned. The problem, which we are looking into, appears to have blocked all comments since a little after 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.  

We apologize for the inconvenience and will update with more information when we have it. 

Update:
The bug has been solved and our comments feature is back and running.


WV: McCain 42, Obama 41 (Rainmaker-10/14-15)

Topics: PHome

Rainmaker Media Group (D)
10/14-15/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

West Virginia
McCain 42, Obama 41


US: Obama 44, McCain 43 (AP-Gfk-10/16-20)

Topics: PHome

AP-Gfk
10/16-20/08; 800 LV, 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 44, McCain 43


US: Obama 49, McCain 40 (FOX-10/20-21)

Topics: PHome

FOX News / Opinion Dynamics
10/20-21/08; 936 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(story, results)

National
Obama 49, McCain 40


US: Obama 52, McCain 44 (Gallup-10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

Gallup Poll
10/19-21/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

2,799 Registered Voters:
Obama 51, McCain 42

2,331 Likely Voters-Expanded:
Obama 52, McCain 44

2,420 Likely Voters-Traditional:
Obama 50, McCain 45


WI: Obama 52, McCain 41 (R2K-10/20-21)

Topics: PHome

Research 2000 / WISC-TV
10/20-21/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Wisconsin
Obama 52, McCain 41


Mason-Dixon: FL, VA (10/20-21)

Topics: PHome

Mason-Dixon
10/20-21/08; LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(source)

Florida
McCain 46, Obama 45

Virginia
Obama 47, McCain 45


WI: Obama 51, McCain 38 (WPR-10/9-17)

Topics: PHome

Wisconsin Public Radio / St Norbert College
10/9-17/08; 400 LV, 5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Wisconsin
Obama 51, McCain 38


Lundry: A Different Kind of Bradley-Wilder Effect?


Alex Lundry is the research director at the Republican polling firm, TargetPoint Consulting.

With only two weeks remaining, pollsters and journalists alike have rightly been reexamining the legitimacy of their polling numbers. In particular, there have been caution flags regarding three phenomena that may be unaccounted for in many of the public polling numbers: 1) the difficult to poll cell-phone only voter, 2) a possible surge in youth and minority turnout missed by likely voter models, and 3) the Bradley-Wilder Effect causing artificially deflated numbers for McCain.

Unfortunately, poll-watchers today have another reason to be wary: a likely over-report of voter registration, especially among African American voters, possibly causing surveys of both registered voters and likely voters to overstate support for Barack Obama.

A 2007 article in Public Opinion Quarterly (link, gated) by Andrew Fullerton, Jeffrey Dixon, and Casey Borch, looked specifically at the problem of registration over-reporting - in which unregistered respondents inaccurately state they are registered voters. Their analysis relied upon National Election Study (NES) validation studies between 1976 and 1980 (the most recent year for which both registration and voter validation data are available - an analytical shortcoming the authors freely admit to). Seeking the drivers of this behavior, they found that blacks are more likely to overreport their registration (along with those that are better educated, live in the "Deep South", and have strong partisan beliefs). The implications of this are particularly relevant to this year's election polls, as the authors detail in this critical point:

If the level of registration overreporting is comparable today, as we believe it is, this subpopulation inflates the number of potential voters in pre-election surveys because they are typically based on samples of self-reported registrants. More importantly, if our finding that blacks are more likely to overreport registration than voting holds true today, as we think it may, this could skew the results of pre-election surveys, likely in favor of a Democratic candidate given blacks' historical affiliation with this party.

If ever there was an election in which black respondents felt a social desirability bias to over-report their registration, this would be it. Support for Barack Obama among African Americans is nearly monolithic, and we are treated to frequent numeric and anecdotal accounts of increased enthusiasm and engagement among the black community. A reasonable person would conclude that an unregistered African American, called to participate in a survey, would feel some sort of pressure (either known or unknown) to say that he or she is indeed registered, and continue with the survey.

How significant could the bias be? Word of increased registration and enthusiasm among African Americans makes it difficult to assign a precise number, but the data itself can at least provide us with a guidepost: between 1976 and 1980, 11% of NES respondents overreported their registration. Among this group, two-thirds (7% of all respondents) later claimed in a post-election study to have actually voted.

These findings should lead us to be especially wary of recent polling in Georgia and North Carolina showing Barack Obama within striking distance of John McCain, as Fullerton et al.'s analysis indicates that residence in the "Deep South" - states with the heaviest concentration of blacks - also makes a meaningful difference in registration over-reporting (though, to be fair, North Carolina is considered a "Peripheral South" state in their treatment). Still, one way to mitigate this problem - voter registration based sampling - is used by Insider Advantage, a frequent pollster in Georgia, as well as PPP, which has been active in North Carolina.

Still, as much as these findings intuitively "make sense" there are a number of reasons to be skeptical: first, the authors themselves point to a number of issues with their analysis (old data, problems with the validation of African Americans' registration records, etc.), and second, the very reasonable assumption that even if this effect did exist, it could be cancelled out if African Americans turnout at higher rates than pollsters predict they will.

Despite these limitations, Fullerton et al.'s analysis should give pollsters and poll consumers sufficient pause as they read the inevitable flood of horserace results over these remaining weeks.


Abramowitz: Tracking the Tracking Polls: Real Change or Random Noise?


Alan I. Abramowitz is the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a frequent contributer to Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball.

It may take some time for historians to decide whether the contest between Barack Obama and John McCain should be considered one of the most important presidential elections in American history. But we already know that it will be the most thoroughly polled presidential election in American history. Lately it seems that not a day goes by without dozens of new national and state polls being released. There are now no fewer than eight national tracking polls underway. These are polls that interview a random sample of voters every day and then combine the results over three or more days, adding one new day and dropping one earlier day, in order to measure changes in candidate preferences within the electorate.

In the past few days there has been a lot of speculation in the media about whether the presidential race has been tightening. Some pundits have argued that such tightening is inevitable in the final days of a presidential race. So what do the national tracking polls tell us about the state of the race between Obama and McCain with less than two weeks left until Election Day?

An analysis of the seven national tracking polls that have been up and running since at least October 12th (Rasmussen, Gallup, DailyKos/R2K, Diageo/Hotline, Battleground, IBD/TIPP, and Zogby) leads to several conclusions. Perhaps the most important one is that despite differences in sampling, interviewing, and weighting procedures, Barack Obama led John McCain on every day in every poll. Beyond that basic finding, however, there are some clear differences in the results of these seven tracking polls.

The results in Table 1 show that while all seven tracking polls have had Obama ahead over the past ten days, the size of that lead has varied considerably. During this time period Obama's average lead has ranged from a low of 4.4 points in the IBD/TIPP Poll to a high of 9.8 points in the DailyKos/R2K Poll. In addition, some of the tracking polls have shown much more volatility than others: the standard deviation of Obama's lead has ranged from a low of 0.8 points in the Rasmussen Poll to a high of 3.9 points in the Battleground Poll which has had both the smallest (1 point) and the largest (13 points) Obama lead in the past ten days. In contrast, Obama's lead in the Rasmussen Poll has varied only from a low of 4 points to a high of 6 points. In general, polls like Rasmussen that weight their results by party identification tend to produce more stable results than polls that do not weight by party identification.

Alan1022tab1.png

There is no evidence in these data of any tightening of the presidential race over this time period.
Figure 1 shows the trend in Obama's average lead in six tracking polls that provided results every day between October 12 and October 20 (the Battleground Poll does not report results on the weekend). While Obama's lead increased in some polls and decreased in others during this period, the results in Figure 1 show that the overall average changed very little. Obama led by an average of 6.5 points on October 12thand he led by an average of 7.0 points on October 20st, the final date included in this analysis.

alan1022fig1.png

If there is no overall trend, then what explains the day to day movement in the tracking polls? One possibility is that most if not all of the day to day movement was due to sampling variation-that it was nothing more than random noise. In order to test this hypothesis, I calculated the correlations among the day-to-day results of the seven tracking polls over these ten days. The correlations between individual pairs of polls varied considerably. Some were strongly positive, some were very weak, and some were strongly negative. Nothing much should be made of this, however, because of the very limited number of days on which these correlations were based. What is significant, however, is that the average correlation among the seven tracking polls over this ten day period was -.06. This means that there was basically no relationship in the day-to-day movement of these polls during this time period. Whether Obama's support was going up or down in one poll was unrelated to whether his support was going up or down in the other six polls.

The lesson that should be drawn from these findings is not that there is any fundamental flaw in the tracking polls. Random variation is unavoidable in public opinion polling. What these findings do indicate, however, is that poll-watchers should not pay too much attention to the day to day movements in these polls unless they see all or most of them moving consistently in one direction over a period of time. Similarly, polling organizations should avoid overemphasizing the significance of the day to day movements in their own polls and pay more attention to whether their results are consistent with those of other polls.


ME: Obama 51, McCain 39 (PanAtl-10/13-16)

Topics: PHome

Pan Atlantic SMS Group
10/13-16/08; 400 LV, 4.9%
Mode: Live telephone Interviews

Maine
Obama 51, McCain 39
Sen: Collins (R-i) 57, Allen (D) 36


US: Obama 47, McCain 42 (Hotline 10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline
10/19-21, 08; 782 LV 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 47, McCain 42


AK: McCain 53, Obama 42 (IvanMoore-10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

Ivan Moore Research
10/17-19/08; 500 LV, 4.4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Alaska
McCain 53, Obama 42
Sen: Begich (D) 46, Stevens (R-i) 45
At-Large: Berkowitz (D) 51, Young (R-i) 43


WA: Obama 55, McCain 36 (Elway-10/16-19)

Topics: PHome

The Elway Poll
10/16-19/08; 405 RV, 5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Washington
Obama 55, McCain 36
Gov: Gregoire (D-i) 51, Rossi (R) 39


US: Obama 50, McCain 45 (F&M-10/13-19)

Topics: PHome

Franklin & Marshall College / Hearst-Argyle
10/13-19/08, LV (out of 1,365 RV), 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 45


US: Obama 49, McCain 47 (GWU 10/15-16,10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

GWU/Battleground
Tarrance Group (R)/Lake Research (D)
10/15-16, 10/19-21, 08; 1,000 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 49, McCain 47


US: Obama 51, McCain 45 (Rasmussen 10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/19-21,08; 3,000 LV 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 51, McCain 45


PA: Obama 52, McCain 41 (Muhlenberg-10/17-21)

Topics: PHome

Muhlenberg College
10/17-21/08; 594 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania
Obama 52, McCain 41


A Likely Voter Story

Topics: Cell Phones , Likely Voters , Party Weighing

My NationalJournal.com column for the week is now posted online. It looks at pollster likely voter models and the question of whether they will be able to capture an increase in turnout should it occur this year. The short version is that very few are placing great weight on measures of past voting, and virtually none are using methods that would systematically exclude new registrants.

The topic is likely voter models is rich and complex and next to impossible to try to summarize in an 800 word column. Four years ago this week, I did an eight part series on the topic (including a guide to the methods used by almost all of the best known pollsters), and most of what I wrote then still applies. I tried to use today's column to concentrate on the degree to which the current models stress past vote behavior (answer: not much). In preparation for this column, I sent some additional questions to various pollsters about this topic, and I will try to blog those over the coming week.

I'll have more to say about this over the next two weeks, but the combination of cell phone interviewing (or the lack thereof), party weighting and the emphasis given to reports of past voting in likely voter models or screen questions appears to explain why some polls (IBD/TIPP, Battleground, Zogby/Reuters and possibly Rasmussen) are showing a slightly closer race nationally than other surveys.


ME: Obama 54, McCain 39 (SurveyUSA-10/19-20)

Topics: PHome


SurveyUSA
10/19-20/08; 642 LV, 3.9%
Mode: IVR

Maine
Obama 54, McCain 39
Sen: Collins (R-i) 54, Allen (D) 43


US: Obama 51, McCain 41 (Daily Kos 10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

Daily Kos (D)/Research 2000
10/19-21,08; 1,100 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 51, McCain 41


US: Obama 52, McCain 42 (Zogby 10/19-21)

Topics: PHome

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby
10/19-21,08; 1,208 LV 2.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 52, McCain 42


Morning Status Update for Wednesday 10/22

Topics: Status Update

The 26 new statewide polls logged yesterday finally show some lagging indication of the slight narrowing of the Obama margin we saw over the weekend in the national tracking polls. On the other hand, the new national surveys show no evidence of a continuing trend. If anything, the surveys at the national level which always lead the statewide results, indicate that Obama's lead may be expanding again.

Of the 26 new statewide surveys entered into our system yesterday, 14 represented tracking updates of prior surveys conducted by the same pollster earlier in October. Eleven (11) of the 14 showed a slight uptick for the McCain-Palin ticket.

081022 todays.png

The impact of the new polls is more evident on our trend estimates in the battleground states. Of 11 states with new polls, 10 showed slight movement in McCain's direction. The new surveys made no changes to the classifications on our map, however (although Florida shifted back to the toss-up column yesterday, a change overlooked at first in my update yesterday due to a data entry error).

081022 trends

On the other hand, the new national surveys show, if anything, evidence of a trend in the opposite direction. Obama's lead at the "nose" of our national trend lines has increased slightly each of the last three days, and (as of this writing) stands at 6.4 points (49.8% to 43.4%). Of the eight daily tracking polls, three showed movement yesterday in Obama's direction, one showed movement to McCain and four showed no change. And of the three new national non-daily-tracking surveys released yesterday, one (ARG) showed a one point movement to McCain, while two (NBC/Wall Street Journal and Pew Research Center) showed shifts to Obama during October of 4 and 7 points on the margin respectively.

[Update: DailyKos' DemFromCt notices that with the "sensitivity" tool set to high, the recent narrowing of the Obama margin seen in our national trend chart reverses].

081022 trackers.png

While the presidential map was unchanged, we did have a shift on our Senate map. A new survey in Kentucky by SurveyUSA showing a dead even race (48% to 48%)between incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford into "toss-up" status. This new poll comes on the heels of a Daily Kos/Research 2000 survey over the weekend showing McConnell leading by just four points (46% to 42%) and releases of internal surveys last week by both campaigns showing McConnell's vote at 48% (by the Democrats) and 46% (by the Republicans).

Right now, the Senate races strongly or leaning Republican would leave the Republicans with just 38 seats. Along with Kentucky, we show the contests in Georgia, Minnesota, Alaska and the special election between Wicker and Musgrove in Mississippi in the toss-up category and three states (North Carolina, New Hampshire and Oregon) leaning Democratic. These contests will determine the size of the likely Democratic majority in the next term.


Tuesday's "Outliers"

Topics: Outliers Feature

Over at the TPMCafe discussion of polling, David Moore thinks pollsters should need to more to measure and report voter uncertainty, and George Bishop thinks voters may mean very different things when they say they're "undecided."

Gallup looks at subgroups of Hispanic voters.

Gary Langer says Obama is winning more support than ever from Clinton Democrats.

Mark Mellman sticks up for Steve Schmidt.

David Hill says early voting is changing everything

Jon Cohen notes that cell-phone only voters favor Obama by 2:1.

Tom Edsall weighs in on whether the race is tightening.

Nate Silver evaluates the tracking polls.

PPP teases more of their upcoming polls.


US: Obama 50, McCain 42 (Ipsos-10/16-20)

Topics: PHome

Ipsos/McClatchy
10/16-20/08; 773 LV, 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 42


US: Obama 52, McCain 42 (NBC-WSJ-10/17-20)

Topics: PHome

NBC News / Wall Street Journal
10/17-20/08; 1,159 RV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(NBC story results, WSJ story results)

National
Obama 52, McCain 42


Politico/InAdv: NV, NC (10/19)

Topics: PHome

Politico/InsiderAdvantage
10/19/08
Mode: IVR
(source)

Nevada 690 LV, 3.6%
McCain 47, Obama 47

North Carolina 698 LV, 3.6%
Obama 49, McCain 48

InsiderAdvantage
10/20/08; 576 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

Colorado
Obama 51, McCain 46


US: Obama 53, McCain 44 (ABC/Post-10/17-20)

Topics: PHome

ABC News/Washington Post
10/17-20/08; 1,324 LV, 3%
Mode: IVR
(ABC, Post)

National
Obama 53, McCain 44


Rasmussen: SC, TN, WV (10/16-20)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen Reports
Mode: IVR

South Carolina 10/20, 500 LV, 4.5%
McCain 54, Obama 43

Tennessee 10/16, 500 LV, 4.5%
Sen: Alexander (R-i) 62, Tuke (D) 34

West Virginia 10/20, 500 LV, 4.5%
McCain 52, Obama 43
Gov: Manchin (D-i) 71, Weeks (R) 21


NC: McCain 47, Obama 47 (SurveyUSA-10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/18-20/08; 627 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

North Carolina
McCain 47, Obama 47
Sen: Hagan (D) 46, Dole (R-i) 45, Cole (L) 5
Gov: McCrory (R) 46, Perdue (D) 43, Munger (L) 7


US: Obama 53, McCain 39 (Pew-10/16-19)

Topics: PHome

Pew Research Center
10/16-19/08; 2,599 RV, 2,382 LV - 2.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

Registered Voters
Obama 52, McCain 38

Likely Voters
Obama 53, McCain 39


KY: McCain 54, Obama 41 (SurveyUSA-10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/18-20/08; 535 LV, 4.3%
Mode: IVR

Kentucky
McCain 54, Obama 41
Sen: McConnell (R-i) 48, Lunsford (D) 48


14 Days to Go and No Change in the Trajectory of This Election


Two weeks from Election Day and this much is clear: Barack Obama has owned the last 30 days. This has propelled him into the lead and provided him with considerable momentum heading into the final stretch. The deteriorating economy continues to be the driving factor in this race; it is the fuel in the Obama engine and it seems unlikely that it will run out. The LCG regression model projects that if the election were held today John McCain would lose by 7.7 points. If the current trend is projected to Election Day he loses by double digits.

However, this election-more than ever before-is about the 24-hour news cycle, tactical maneuvers and rapid response, some of which may impact the general trajectory of the campaign. Accordingly, here is our real-time assessment of the campaign as it stands at 9:00 am today:

  • Anytime this campaign is not about the economy is good for McCain and yesterday Joe Biden may have done just that. Biden stated that in the first six months of an Obama Presidency, "Mark my words, we are going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis to test the mettle of this guy (Obama)...and he is going to need help." We just finished watching Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs on Morning Joe explain what Biden meant by the statement. This has the potential to occupy the attention of the Obama campaign for 24-36 hours. McCain is already using the statement to his advantage in his stump speech.

  • The above has shortened the impact of the Powell endorsement. Powell helped Obama because his endorsement sends a signal to many older voters who are unsure about Obama's ability to lead in wartime. The endorsement was in the works for months and was perfectly timed. This was a perfectly executed tactical maneuver. Too bad Biden didn't get the memo.

  • Obama will suspend his campaign on Thursday and Friday to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. There should be minimal effect for team Obama because of this (the campaign will use surrogates at events). However, markets and states visited by the candidates in the closing days of a campaign have proven to be far more effective than campaign advertising.

Some quick thoughts on the current status of the Presidential campaign:

  1. Obama "won" the last 30 days in part because he flat out beat McCain in the debates. Obama was perceived as the more serious and stable candidate. He connected with voters. Importantly, he reassured many swing voters who were unsure about him (both personally and with respect to his ability to be President). Gallup conducted national polls after each debate among uncommitted voters and we decided to average those polls. The outcome based on all three debates: Obama 53%/ McCain 29%. McCain performed best in the last debate and he still lost that one (according to the post-debate Gallup poll) by 12 points. Below is the Gallup question wording and a table with the results.

    "Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the better job in last night's debate: John McCain or Barack Obama?"

    debate poll table oct 21.png
  2. McCain is losing in part because he mishandled the economic crisis. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll released today, 55% of voters say they trust Obama more on handling the economy while only 39% trust McCain more. The gambit to return to Washington failed (when the bailout failed) and with it, McCain's chances to demonstrate he was a superior leader. While the fact is that much of this was out of McCain's hands (his party killed him here), the perception was that McCain couldn't get it done. Team Obama demonstrated a sound strategic sense when they latched on to this and portrayed McCain as erratic.

  3. Team Obama is putting the pedal to the metal and staying on offense. In stunning moves Obama went up with advertising in West Virginia and continued strong pushes in North Carolina and Missouri. They are playing in red states and forcing team McCain to spend resources in places that they should not have to.

  4. Obama is rewriting the record books on election fundraising and spending. McCain is doing better than topline fundraising reports may indicate because of matching funds from the RNC, but it still isn't close. Take October 12th: Obama spent $6.5 million during the Sunday shows and NFL games. That same day, McCain spent just $1 million. Or look ahead to October 29th: Obama has purchased a half hour of airtime on NBC, CBS and Fox, immediately prior to the start of Game Six of the World Series. Meanwhile, McCain is no longer buying ad time on national networks or national cable. With September FEC reports just announced, here are some additional notes (culled from the AP):

    • Senator McCain took the $84 million in public funding, so he is prohibited from raising additional money in September and October.

    • However, the RNC appears to be matching much of his ad spending. The RNC raised $66 million in September and has $77.5 million in cash on-hand. While not all of this is being spent to help McCain, the RNC can continue to raise money this month and is likely to bring in an additional $40 - $50 million. (The RNC also has a $17 million independent expenditure account designated for running ads to help McCain that can't be directly coordinated with the campaign.)

    • McCain's campaign spent $37 million in September, ending the month with $47 million in the bank. With the RNC matching funds, McCain effectively has $95 million left for October.

    • Obama announced on Sunday that he had raised $150 million in September, or $5 million a day. He has 3.1 million total donors this cycle--including 600,000 new donors in September alone--and has raised $605 million since his campaign began. These are all record fundraising numbers. 

    • Sometime this week, he will break the $188 million spending record set by President Bush in 2004. This is double what McCain has spent. With $135 million in the bank after September, and additional money continuing to pour in, Obama already has more money available than McCain and the RNC combined.

    • Because he refused public money, the DNC can spend freely to assist Obama. The DNC raised $50 million in September--and will continue to fundraise this month--to add to its $28 million in cash on-hand. By a conservative estimate, Obama has at least $200 million at his disposal in the final month. Depending on the course of the race, his actual outlays might be lower. On the other hand, if his campaign and the DNC choose, he might spend over $300 million.

  5. The Democratic edge on party identification is a huge built-in advantage. We averaged the party ID for several national polls over the last several months and found that on average 36% of registered voters claim to be Democrats while only 28% say they align with the Republican party. We conduct dozens of national polls each year and, while our numbers have varied 2-4 points from the above, they have consistently showed a 6-9 point advantage for Democrats. Obama has also closed the long-standing partisan vote gap. National tracking polls show both candidates holding 85-87% of their party's vote, where in recent years Republicans have enjoyed a 3-5 point advantage. Combine the two, and this is a very difficult hurdle for McCain to overcome. He will need to win independents by at least 15 - 20 points to overcome the party ID deficit. The below graph was developed based on Harris polls conducted since 1969. Note the drop in Republican party identification in the last four years.

party id oct 21.png

LCG EV Map

There are no changes to this week's presidential electoral count. We considered moving Ohio into the lean McCain column but decided to wait a week. Additionally, recent polling data suggests that Virginia is trending toward Obama but we are hesitant to move it at this time.

map oct 21.png

With all of this in his favor, Obama may just want to lock away Joe Biden for the next two weeks.


14 Days to Go and No Change in the Trajectory of This Election


Two weeks from Election Day and this much is clear: Barack Obama has owned the last 30 days. This has propelled him into the lead and provided him with considerable momentum heading into the final stretch. The deteriorating economy continues to be the driving factor in this race; it is the fuel in the Obama engine and it seems unlikely that it will run out. The LCG regression model projects that if the election were held today John McCain would lose by 7.7 points. If the current trend is projected to Election Day he loses by double digits.

However, this election-more than ever before-is about the 24-hour news cycle, tactical maneuvers and rapid response, some of which may impact the general trajectory of the campaign. Accordingly, here is our real-time assessment of the campaign as it stands at 9:00 am today:

  • Anytime this campaign is not about the economy is good for McCain and yesterday Joe Biden may have done just that. Biden stated that in the first six months of an Obama Presidency, "Mark my words, we are going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis to test the mettle of this guy (Obama)...and he is going to need help." We just finished watching Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs on Morning Joe explain what Biden meant by the statement. This has the potential to occupy the attention of the Obama campaign for 24-36 hours. McCain is already using the statement to his advantage in his stump speech.

  • The above has shortened the impact of the Powell endorsement. Powell helped Obama because his endorsement sends a signal to many older voters who are unsure about Obama's ability to lead in wartime. The endorsement was in the works for months and was perfectly timed. This was a perfectly executed tactical maneuver. Too bad Biden didn't get the memo.

  • Obama will suspend his campaign on Thursday and Friday to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii. There should be minimal effect for team Obama because of this (the campaign will use surrogates at events). However, markets and states visited by the candidates in the closing days of a campaign have proven to be far more effective than campaign advertising.

Some quick thoughts on the current status of the Presidential campaign:

  1. Obama "won" the last 30 days in part because he flat out beat McCain in the debates. Obama was perceived as the more serious and stable candidate. He connected with voters. Importantly, he reassured many swing voters who were unsure about him (both personally and with respect to his ability to be President). Gallup conducted national polls after each debate among uncommitted voters and we decided to average those polls. The outcome based on all three debates: Obama 53%/ McCain 29%. McCain performed best in the last debate and he still lost that one (according to the post-debate Gallup poll) by 12 points. Below is the Gallup question wording and a table with the results.

    "Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the better job in last night's debate: John McCain or Barack Obama?"

    debate poll table oct 21.png
  2. McCain is losing in part because he mishandled the economic crisis. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll released today, 55% of voters say they trust Obama more on handling the economy while only 39% trust McCain more. The gambit to return to Washington failed (when the bailout failed) and with it, McCain's chances to demonstrate he was a superior leader. While the fact is that much of this was out of McCain's hands (his party killed him here), the perception was that McCain couldn't get it done. Team Obama demonstrated a sound strategic sense when they latched on to this and portrayed McCain as erratic.

  3. Team Obama is putting the pedal to the metal and staying on offense. In stunning moves Obama went up with advertising in West Virginia and continued strong pushes in North Carolina and Missouri. They are playing in red states and forcing team McCain to spend resources in places that they should not have to.

  4. Obama is rewriting the record books on election fundraising and spending. McCain is doing better than topline fundraising reports may indicate because of matching funds from the RNC, but it still isn't close. Take October 12th: Obama spent $6.5 million during the Sunday shows and NFL games. That same day, McCain spent just $1 million. Or look ahead to October 29th: Obama has purchased a half hour of airtime on NBC, CBS and Fox, immediately prior to the start of Game Six of the World Series. Meanwhile, McCain is no longer buying ad time on national networks or national cable. With September FEC reports just announced, here are some additional notes (culled from the AP):

    • Senator McCain took the $84 million in public funding, so he is prohibited from raising additional money in September and October.

    • However, the RNC appears to be matching much of his ad spending. The RNC raised $66 million in September and has $77.5 million in cash on-hand. While not all of this is being spent to help McCain, the RNC can continue to raise money this month and is likely to bring in an additional $40 - $50 million. (The RNC also has a $17 million independent expenditure account designated for running ads to help McCain that can't be directly coordinated with the campaign.)

    • McCain's campaign spent $37 million in September, ending the month with $47 million in the bank. With the RNC matching funds, McCain effectively has $95 million left for October.

    • Obama announced on Sunday that he had raised $150 million in September, or $5 million a day. He has 3.1 million total donors this cycle--including 600,000 new donors in September alone--and has raised $605 million since his campaign began. These are all record fundraising numbers. 

    • Sometime this week, he will break the $188 million spending record set by President Bush in 2004. This is double what McCain has spent. With $135 million in the bank after September, and additional money continuing to pour in, Obama already has more money available than McCain and the RNC combined.

    • Because he refused public money, the DNC can spend freely to assist Obama. The DNC raised $50 million in September--and will continue to fundraise this month--to add to its $28 million in cash on-hand. By a conservative estimate, Obama has at least $200 million at his disposal in the final month. Depending on the course of the race, his actual outlays might be lower. On the other hand, if his campaign and the DNC choose, he might spend over $300 million.

  5. The Democratic edge on party identification is a huge built-in advantage. We averaged the party ID for several national polls over the last several months and found that on average 36% of registered voters claim to be Democrats while only 28% say they align with the Republican party. We conduct dozens of national polls each year and, while our numbers have varied 2-4 points from the above, they have consistently showed a 6-9 point advantage for Democrats. Obama has also closed the long-standing partisan vote gap. National tracking polls show both candidates holding 85-87% of their party's vote, where in recent years Republicans have enjoyed a 3-5 point advantage. Combine the two, and this is a very difficult hurdle for McCain to overcome. He will need to win independents by at least 15 - 20 points to overcome the party ID deficit. The below graph was developed based on Harris polls conducted since 1969. Note the drop in Republican party identification in the last four years.

party id oct 21.png

LCG EV Map

There are no changes to this week's presidential electoral count. We considered moving Ohio into the lean McCain column but decided to wait a week. Additionally, recent polling data suggests that Virginia is trending toward Obama but we are hesitant to move it at this time.

map oct 21.png

With all of this in his favor, Obama may just want to lock away Joe Biden for the next two weeks.


FL: Obama 48, McCain 47 (PPP-10/16-19)

Topics: PHome

Public Policy Polling (D)
10/16-19/08; 1,158 LV, 2.9%
Mode: IVR

Florida
Obama 48, McCain 47


US: Obama 52, McCain 42 (Gallup-10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

Gallup
10/18-20/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

2,784 Registered Voters
Obama 52, McCain 41

2,299 Likely Voters-Expanded
Obama 52, McCain 42

2,384 Likely Voters-Traditional
Obama 51, McCain 44


NJ: Obama 55, McCain 38 (Monmouth-10/15-18)

Topics: PHome

Monmouth University/Gannett
10/15-18/08; 723 LV, 3.7%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

New Jersey
Obama 55, McCain 38


NC: Obama 48, McCain 45 (Civitas-10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

Civitas Institute/Tel Opinion Research (R)
10/18-20/08; 600 LV, 4.2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

North Carolina
Obama 48, McCain 45, Barr 1
Sen: Hagan (D) 44, Dole (R-i) 41, Cole (L) 4
Gov: Perdue (D) 43, McCrory (R) 43, Munger (L) 2


US: Obama 49, McCain 45 (ARG-10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

American Research Group
10/18-20/08; 1,200 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 49, McCain 45


US: Obama 47, McCain 41 (Hotline 10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline
10/18-20,08; 791 LV 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 47, McCain 41


IN: Obama 48, McCain 46 (PPP-10/18-19)

Topics: PHome

Public Policy Polling (D)
10/18-19/08; 1,411 LV, 2.6%
Mode: IVR

Indiana
Obama 48, McCain 46
Gov: Daniels (R-i) 57, Thompson (D) 36


IL: Obama 56, McCain 32 (ChiTrib-10/16-18)

Topics: PHome

Chicago Tribune / Market Shares Corp
10/16-18/08; 500 LV, 4.4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Illinois
Obama 56, McCain 32, Nader 2, Barr 0


NJ: Obama 59, McCain 36 (Quinnipiac-16-19)

Topics: PHome

Quinnipiac University
10/16-19/08; 1,184 LV, 2.9
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

New Jersey
Obama 59, McCain 36
Sen: Lautenberg (D-i) 55, Zimmer (R) 33


SurveyUSA: OK, WY (10/18-19)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/18-19/08
Mode: IVR

Oklahoma 561 LV, 4.2%
McCain 59, Obama 35
Sen: Inhofe (R-i) 51, Rice (D) 39, Wallace (I) 7

Wyoming 604 LV, 4%
McCain 58, Obama 37
At-Large: Lummis (R) 50, Trauner (D) 44, Herbet (L) 4


US: Obama 50, McCain 46 (Rasmussen 10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/18-20, 08; 3,000 LV 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 50, McCain 46


US: Obama 48, McCain 47 (GWU 10/14-16, 19-20)

Topics: PHome

GWU/ Battleground
Tarrance Group (R)/Lake Research (D)
10/14-16,19-20, 08; 1,000 LV 3%

National
Obama 48, McCain 47


US: Obama 50, McCain 42 (Daily Kos 10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

Daily Kos (D)/Research 2000
10/18-20, 08; 1,100 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 42


Morning Status Update for Tuesday 10/21


With two weeks to go until the election, the pace of new poll releases is accelerating, and while yesterday's batch of new polls produces some notable shifts and at least one odd outlier, the overall pattern is stability.

We logged 19 new statewide polls yesterday. Of the new polls that update results collected by the same pollster earlier in October, most as usual showed very small, non-significant changes although the overall pattern hints of a slight improvement for McCain: 7 of 11 show slight shifts to McCain, 4 show slight shifts to Obama

081022 daily.png

The impact of all of the new polls on our trend estimates in the more competitive states was mixed, showing a pattern that suggests random statistical noise. The margins moved in Obama's direction in 6 states and in McCain's direction in 5. Over the last week, the shifts are still slightly in Obama's favor: 14 move toward Obama, 5 to McCain and one unchanged.

081021 trends.png

The biggest shift yesterday came as the result of two new automated surveys in Virginia from SurveyUSA and Rasmussen Reports showing Obama with large leads -- 6 and 10 percentage points respectively. The new polls increase Obama's lead on our trend estimate to nearly nine points (52.4% to 43.5%), enough to qualify for dark blue "strong" Obama status on our map.


[Update: The orginal version of this post reflected a data entry error for the latest Fox/Rasmussen poll in Florida.  The correct margin -- McCain 49%, Obama 48% -- dropped Obama's lead on our margin to 3.3%, just enough to shift Florida and its crucial 27 electoral votes back to "toss-up" status=. 

Yesterday also produced at least one example of the sort of outlier that leaves poll watchers scratching their heads. Rasmussen/Fox News reported a new Ohio survey showing McCain leading by 2 point (49% to 47%) representing a slight but non-significant improvement for McCain since their survey last week. At the same time, Suffolk University released a new survey showing Obama leading by nine points (51% to 42%). Our trend estimate performed as intended, muting the impact of the Suffolk result and leaving Obama with a small advantage (48.4% to 46.7%), well within the "toss-up" range.

Finally, I want to look more closely at the national trend, which has been receiving quite a bit of attention over the last few days. Our overall trend estimate, based on all available national polls, shows the same pattern seen by other aggregators: A one and a half point upturn in McCain's total from a smoothed low low of 42.2% a little over a week ago to 43.7% as of this writing. Meanwhile, Obama's total has dropped about a half point, from a high of 50.2% a week ago to 49.7% now.

Several observers -- from Pollster reader DTM to the Washington Post's Ben Pershing -- have speculated that the drop appears to result mostly from a change in polls influencing the trend estimate over the last week (an issue also summarized yesterday by the Wall Street Journal's Carl Bialik). We saw a pause last week in new releases of by non "daily-tracker" national pollsters, presumably an issue of timing around the final debate. Since, as I noted yesterday, three of the trackers typically show a slightly closer margin, perhaps their greater influence has caused the narrowing margin.

One reason why I'm hesitant to dismiss the slight narrowing altogether: If I use our chart's filter tool to look at only the six daily trackers that have been tracking since the beginning of October (which excludes the new IBD/TIPP tracker), which produces a much more "apples-to-apples" comparison, we still see a slight narrowing of the trend.

Still, these are relatively small changes and, as of yesterday at least, do not appear to represent a continuing trend. Yesterday, four of six trackers showed slight shifts to Obama, two to McCain since the previous release on Sunday. If we add the GWU/Battleground tracker (which doesn't interview or release on weekends), and compare to Thursday (the last with interviews conducted before Wednesday's debate), we see three surveys shifting to Obama, three to McCain and one showing no change.

081021 trackers from mon.png


US: Obama 50, McCain 42 (Zogby 10/18-20)

Topics: PHome

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby
10/18-20,08; 1,214 LV 2.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 42


PA: Obama 52, McCain 42 (Muhlenberg 10/16-20)

Topics: PHome

Muhlenberg College
10/16-10/20
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania 600 LV, 4%
Obama 52, McCain 42


Fox/Rasmussen: CO, FL, MO, NC, OH (10/19)

Topics: PHome

Fox/Rasmussen
10/19
Mode: IVR

Colorado 1000 LV, 3%
Obama 51, McCain 46

Florida 1000 LV, 3%
McCain 49, Obama 48

Missouri 1000 LV, 3%
Obama 49, McCain 44

North Carolina 1000 LV, 3%
Obama 51, McCain 48

Ohio 1000 LV, 3%
McCain 49, Obama 47


Two Weeks to Go "Outliers"

Topics: Outliers Feature

The Washington Post's Ben Pershing doesn't think McCain is gaining.

DemFromCt agrees.

Jay Cost thinks a five point margin makes a McCain comeback "difficult, but not inconceivable."

Carl Bialik tries to sort it out (and I'll have my own take in the morning...just too tired tonight).

The Politico's David Paul Kuhn looks at preparations for this year's exit polls.

Researchers at NYU show Obama leading McCain among Jewish voters, 51% to 25% (via Jerusalem Post via M.J. Rosenberg).

PPP drops hints about their soon to be released Indiana and Florida polls. 

Zogby shows Obama leading among Hispanics, 70% to 21%.

Daniel Libit thinks we need a Pollster.com for fact checking (via ModerateVoice).

Meghan McCain says "ignore the polls...if the polls knew anything that Romney and Hillary would be the nominees right now" (we think she means Giuliani).


The Army Vote & The Military Times Surveys


Today's Guest Pollster contribution comes from Jason Dempsey, who is an infantry officer assigned to the Army's 10th Mountain Division and the author of the forthcoming book, Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations. He also has an article on the political attitudes of military personnel in the most recent issue of the The New Republic. The views presented here are his own and do not reflect the views of the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense.

While the veteran vote is not attracting as much attention as it did in 2004 it is still a salient election issue, and we could use more discussion of available data. For the most part, the most current available data is provided by the Military Times family of newspapers. [Note--does anyone know if NAES is attempting to do a focused military survey again this year?] However, the Military Times surveys have to be used for what they are: Surveys of subscribers to the Military Times papers (Army Times, Air Force Times, etc.) As such they are not representative of the entire military population. And we should note that they don't claim to be, although that is often lost in interpretations and use of the data.

Briefly, I'd like to address the methodology of the surveys and the ways in which these surveys can be useful, some trends revealed in these surveys since 2004, and some thoughts on the results of their 2008 election survey.

Methodology

First off, I think the Military Times do a good job of explaining that these surveys are not representative (see here), even if the headlines and commentary resulting from these surveys often imply otherwise. As the crowd at Pollster.com is the type that likes the fine print I think this is a great venue for discussing the potential as well as the limitations of these surveys.

The survey in the news last week was this year's election-specific survey. In September the Military Times sent e-mails to about 69,000 subscribers. (They sent original messages to about 80,000, but many came back as undeliverable. Some of this should be expected, and appropriately discounted, given the high mobility of the active-duty military community, but it is not clear how many with invalid addresses were active as opposed to being retirees or in the Guard/Reserve). From this they collected responses from 4,515 retirees, 1,515 members of the National Guard and Reserves, and 2,982 active-duty members of the military (although of these 316 were left out of analysis because they were not registered or did not intend to vote). Of the active-duty respondents, 1,543 were in the Army. I limit analysis in my research, and here, to the active Army population within the surveys as I can appropriately compare this subgroup with the overall Army population. However, I think the discussion of the representativeness of the Army subsample probably applies equally to the other active-duty groups.

As with previous Military Times surveys the respondents in 2008 were disproportionately white, male and officers. The actual Army population is about 85% male, 14% regular commissioned officers (not including Warrant Officers), and 60% white. The active-duty members of the Army who responded to the Military Times poll were 90% male, 45% regular commissioned officers, and 71% white. Furthermore, the Army's junior enlisted ranks are dramatically underrepresented in the Military Times surveys. About 47% of the Army serves in the ranks of E-1 through E-4. These ranks comprise only 6% of the active Army population included in the 2008 Military Times survey. (The samples of each of the previous Military Times surveys are nearly identical in the degree to which they represent the active military population). Bottom Line: these surveys should in no way be used to assess aggregate attitudes across the force.

However, this does not mean that the Military Times surveys aren't valuable (that is far from the case). Rather, it highlights that interpretations of the Military Times survey results have often been inappropriately extrapolated to the entire military population.

These surveys can be useful in two ways. First, they can be useful as a gauge of opinion trends. While the results of these surveys might not present an accurate estimate of overall military attitudes in a given year, over time they reflect how the opinions of a portion of the military are shifting. By extension we might assume that the rest of the military is shifting to a similar degree, even if the starting point is not the same. (See the discussion of Robert Shapiro and Ben Page on 'parallel publics' in The Rational Public).

Secondly, if we limit analysis of the survey data to senior officers then the 'subscriber bias' is likely to be minimal, in that the attitudes of senior officers in the Military Times subscriber database are likely to be similar to the attitudes of senior officers generally. Whereas a junior soldier or officer who subscribes to the Army Times is likely to have a more careerist outlook than his or her peers, in that subscribing can be interpreted as an act of dedicated interest in the profession as a whole, the difference between subscribers and non-subscribers is likely to be more muted in the senior officer ranks.

Trends: 2003 to 2007

If one assumes these surveys can be useful as a gauge of opinion trends, if not a comprehensive view of aggregate attitudes, then the Military Times surveys do tell us something about military attitudes over time. I believe we can also view them as fairly accurate portrayals of the opinions of the subset of senior Army officers. Below are the results of what I found when parsing out the opinions of active-duty Army officers in the ranks of major and above (typically 10 to 20+ years of service) from the 2003 through 2007 Military Times annual surveys.

The single datapoints reflect the results from the Citizenship & Service: 2004 Survey of Military Personnel (Completed with Bob Shapiro and support from the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University. See here). The C&S Survey included a higher number of women and minorities and the resulting data was weighted to reflect the general Army population on the dimensions of rank, race/ethnicity, and gender. Notably, the results from comparing senior officer attitudes from the C&S Survey with the attitudes of senior officers in the Military Times survey show a pretty close match.

These Military Times survey results show that support for the Republican Party among senior members of the Army, the group most likely to identify as Republican, declined significantly between 2004 and 2006 before leveling off at about 49% in 2007. Also interesting is that the data show no corresponding change in support for the Democratic Party.

The Army Vote.png

Because the Military Times did not conduct these surveys before 2003 we can't assess what this means historically, but we do have data from Ole Holsti's and James Rosenau's Foreign Policy Leadership Project surveys that were conducted every four years between 1976 and 1996. Looking at this data, the military is experiencing a shift comparable to what occurred between 1976 and 1980. During that period military leaders shifted decidedly toward the Republican Party. By the end of Carter's presidency the proportion of senior military leaders who identified with the Republican Party had increased by 13%. This data show a shift of comparable magnitude--only during this administration the military has begun to shift away from the Republican Party. Over the last three years the Military Times surveys have shown a decline in Republican Party identification of 14% among active-duty Army respondents and an overall decline of 13% among senior Army officers.

Notes on 2008

Unfortunately the 2008 Military Times Election survey did not ask party affiliation. They did, however, ask respondents both who they planned to vote for during this election and who they voted for in 2004. Not exactly panel data, but this again offers an opportunity to assess shifts in attitude among survey respondents.

The primary headline to come out of the Military Times surveys was that 68% of respondents backed the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain. However, lost in the analysis was a significant shift in support for the Democratic nominee. Looking at just the subset of active-duty members of the Army in the Military Times poll, 64% of these respondents reported voting for George Bush in 2004 and 15% reported voting for John Kerry. As for the 2008 election, 66% planned to vote for McCain while 25% reported planning to vote for Barack Obama.

There are two significant points to draw from these results. The first is the 10-point uptick in support for the Democratic candidate. While not indicative of a reversal of military preferences among officers, this increase in support for the Democratic candidate signals a significant shift in military opinion and indicates that military aversion to the Democratic Party may be on the wane.

A key discussion point from initial reports on the survey was that black members of the military overwhelmingly indicated support for Barack Obama, but looking at the demographics of those who reported shifting their preference to Barack Obama in 2008 reveals that this dynamic was not driven solely by minority respondents. Of those who shifted from Bush to Obama, 95% were male and 55% were white (n=79, again, I am only looking at active-duty Army respondents). Among those who voted for neither the Republican nor Democratic candidate in 2004 but were planning to vote for Obama in 2008, 77% were male and 39% were white (n=121). This indicates that the increased support for the Democratic presidential candidate among members of the Army is due to both a shift of the Army's traditional voting block away from the Republican Party as well as an infusion of new, predominantly minority voters into the Democratic column.

The second significant point to draw from these results is that McCain has been able to hold onto military votes at a time when the Republican brand is hurting nationally. He is holding a slightly higher portion of the senior officer vote than Bush did in 2004. This is probably not indicative of a shift back to 60% Republican Party identification among senior officers, but is probably due more to his own veteran status. Among active-duty Army respondents, 73% felt that the veteran status of the candidates was important in making the decision about who to vote for (32% felt it was 'very important'. Another 41% felt it was somewhat important.) I suspect that this explains a good portion of McCain's military support and that post-election assessments of the party identification of senior officers will be closer to the 2007 figures.

Finally, however, it must also be noted that comparisons with 2004 are problematic. As outlined by Jeremy Tiegen in his analysis of the veteran vote in 2004, the Swiftboat attack ads were successful in getting otherwise Democratic voters to vote for George Bush, so 2008 may be the 'norm' although, again, McCain's strong identification as a veteran further muddles analysis. Hopefully someone will attack the data and give us an answer after the election.

For those interested enough in military attitudes and polling to have read this far there will be more analysis of the attitudes of the active-duty Army (to include the enlisted ranks) in my forthcoming book Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations due from Princeton University Press in 2009.


TPM Cafe's Pollster Roundtable

Topics: David Moore , TPM

Here's a quick heads up that Pollster.com contributor David Moore is leading a special feature this week on TPMCafe that I will be joining, along with some very prominent academic survey researchers: George Bishop, Michael Traugott, Scott Althaus and Nancy Mathiowetz.

David's first post, "A New Version of the Vote Choice Question," argues that the standard vote preference question artificially minimizes the number of "undecided" voters. He proposes a new set of questions that would make it easier for respondents to say they "they haven't made up their mind" or could "change your mind before Election Day."

I just added my two cents. Here's part of it:

I used to be a campaign pollster -- someone hired by Democratic candidates to conduct polls for their campaign. One point I'd to add from that perspective is that virtually all campaign pollsters do something analogous to what David is proposing. They ask the standard vote question that presses respondents hard to make a choice. Then they follow-up with a question asking how certain they are to support that candidate on election day.

Campaign pollsters focus much more on the measure of certainty than on "undecided" in thinking about targeting messages and organization resources, because they have learned though experience that voters with a preference can sometimes change their minds.

I'll post links to subsequent entries in the series right here. It should be interesting, so stay tuned.


US: Obama 53, McCain 44 (ABCPost-10/16-19)

Topics: PHome

ABC News / Washington Post
10/16-19/08; 1,336 LV, 2.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(ABC, Post)

National
Obama 53, McCain 44


Crowley: Survey Says

Topics: IVR , Michael Crowley , Pollsters

The New Republic's Michael Crowley has produced a nearly 4,000 word must-read on the new and changing world of polls, pollsters and polling websites in the 2008 campaign. For Pollster.com regulars, and anyone intrigued by the business of polling these days, it is truly worth reading in full but here are three paragraphs that capture some of the important conflict in the world of political survey research:

Many pollsters insist that the way to restore public confidence in their profession is to re-impose methodological standards, which treat polling as a social science rather than an amateur's pursuit. But the problem is that, despite the meticulous nature of Gallup and Pew--and the quicker, less orthodox approach of Leve and some other newcomers to the field-the establishment firms don't necessarily have all the answers. Jay Leve['s firm SurveyUSA], as it turns out, actually has a very strong track record. In March, Nate Silver ranked SurveyUSA as the most accurate of 18 major national firms, ahead of more venerable outfits like Gallup and CNN's pollster, Opinion Research.

Leve's winning track record may be the result of the technology he uses; automated polling allows him to tap into a larger pool of voters at a faster rate than live human polling--offering an instant snapshot rather than results blurred by time, as with a slow camera shutter. But Leve's technique is subject to some of the same criticisms as traditional polling. For example, some phone surveys are missing young voters with cell phones but not land lines. Overall, response rates have been declining for years. And, this season, race and gender have added tricky new variables. In short, Leve's success is hard to explain-- affirming a postmodern sense that methodology no longer ensures accuracy more than instinct and dumb luck.

The irony is that this perception, one that critics use to deride polling, is now widespread even among pollsters themselves. Last January, after all the big pollsters failed to predict Clinton's stunning New Hampshire primary victory, aapor asked them to hand over their raw data for evaluation. Leve complied immediately but says others dragged their feet. "That report has never come out," he says with a shake of his head. Mathiowetz, the former aapor president, says the report is coming soon. But, she says, a wider lack of transparency is a sign of changing times. It wasn't just the Chicago Tribune that blew the 1948 Truman-Dewey presidential election call--it was the entire polling establishment. Afterward, a panel of public opinion professionals studied what went wrong. Almost every major polling firm cooperated and submitted data about their research. The thought of this lost era clearly moves Mathiowetz: "What a lovely ..." she says, trailing off. "It just kind of brings tears to my eyes."

Crowley's piece is thorough, smart and covers the most important ground with respect to polls and how they are produced in 2008. I know it's a blogger cliche, but I mean it: go read it all.


PA: Obama 48, McCain 40 (Susquehanna-10/16-18)

Topics: PHome

Tribune Review / Susquehanna
10/16-18/08; 700 LV, 3.7%
Mode: Live telephone Interviews
(story, results)

Pennsylvania
Obama 48, McCain 40, Nader 2, Barr 1


VA: Obama 54, McCain 44 (Rasmussen-10/16)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen Reports
10/16/08; 700 LV, 4%
Mode: IVR

Virginia
Obama 54, McCain 44
Sen: Warner (D) 61, Gilmore (R-i) 36


LA: Landrieu 47, Kennedy 42 (OnMessage-10/14-16)


OnMessage (R) / John Kennedy
10/14-16/08; 500 LV, 4.4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Louisiana
Sen: Landrieu (D-i) 47, Kennedy (R) 42


OR: Obama 52, McCain 39 (Grove-10/7-9)

Topics: PHome

Grove Insight (D)
10/7-9/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Oregon
Obama 52, McCain 39, Barr 1, Nader 1
Sen: Merkley (D) 41, Smith (R-i) 36, Brownlow (C) 3


VA: Obama 51, McCain 45 (SurveyUSA-10/18-19)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/18-19/08; 652 LV, 3.9%
Mode: IVR

Virginia
Obama 51, McCain 45
Sen: Warner (D) 60, Gilmore (R) 36, Parker (G) 1, Redpath (L) 1


DemCorps: US, GA (10/15-19)

Topics: PHome

Democracy Corps (D) /
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (D)
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National 10/15-19; 1,000 LV, 3%
Obama 49, McCain 44, Nader 2, Barr 2, Paul 0

Georgia 10/16-19; 600 LV, 4%
McCain 46, Obama 44, Barr 2, Nader 2
Sen: Chambliss (R-i) 48, Martin (D) 44


US: Obama 48, McCain 42 (Economist-10/11-12)

Topics: PHome

Economist /
YouGov-Polimetrix
10/11-12/08; 1,000 Adults, 4%
Mode: Internet

National
Obama 48, McCain 42


NC: Obama 51, McCain 44 (PPP-10/18-19)

Topics: PHome

Public Policy Polling (D)
10/18-19/08; 1,200 LV, 2.8%
Mode: IVR

North Carolina
Obama 51, McCain 44, Barr 2
Sen: Hagan (D) 49, Dole (R-i) 42, Cole (L) 4


Suffolk: OH, MO (10/16-19)

Topics: PHome

Suffolk University
10/16-19/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Ohio
Obama 51, McCain 42, Barr 1, Nader 1, Baldwin 0, McKinney 0, Moore 0

Missouri
McCain 45, Obama 44, Nader 1, Barr 0, Baldwin 0, McKinney 0


US: Obama 52, McCain 43 (Gallup-10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

Gallup
10/17-19/08, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

2,774 Registered Voters:
Obama 52, McCain 41

2,271 Likely Voters-Expanded:
Obama 52, McCain 43

2,340 Likely Voters-Traditional:
Obama 50, McCain 45


US: Obama 51, McCain 46 (CNN-10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

CNN / ORC
19/17-19/08; 746 LV, 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 51, McCain 46


NH: Obama 50, McCain 43 (R2K-10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

Research 2000 / Concord Monitor
10/17-19/08; 600 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

New Hampshire
Obama 50, McCain 43


US: Obama 47, McCain 42 (Hotline 10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline
10/17-19,08; 789 LV 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 47, McCain 42


US: Obama 50, McCain 46 (Rasmussen 10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/17-19, 08; 3,000 LV 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 50, McCain 46


MN: Obama 50, McCain 44 (SurveyUSA-9/16-18)

Topics: PHome

SurveyUSA
10/16-18/08; 655 LV, 3.9%
Mode: IVR

Minnesota
Obama 50, McCain 44
Sen: Coleman (R-i) 41, Franken (D) 39, Barkley (I) 18


US: Obama 49, McCain 45 (GWU 10/13-16, 10/19)

Topics: PHome

GWU/ Battleground
Tarrance Group (R)/Lake Research (D)
10/13-16/19, 08; 1,000 LV 3%

National
Obama 49, McCain 45


Sunday's Leftover "Outliers"

Topics: Outliers Feature

(Late because I fell asleep early last night...)

The Wall Street Journal looks at likely voters, party weighting and how they affect poll results.

PPP shows how their party ID results have fluctated since the conventions.

The Washington Post and ABC News share their poll's "final verdict" on the presidential debates.

Gary Langer summarizes the numbers on Colin Powell.

Michael McDonald creates a web page to track early voting turnout statistics.

Sam Wang expounds on why so few news organizations aggregate polls.

Andrew Gelman tests whether America is a "center right" nation.

Jon Martin sees McCain aping polling spin from Drudge.

The San Francisco Chronicle has love for polling geeks.


US: Obama 50, McCain 42 (Daily Kos 10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

Daily Kos (D)/Research 2000
10/17-19, 08; 1,100 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 42


Morning Status Update for Monday 10/20

Topics: Status Update

As noted here last night, John McCain has slightly narrowed Barack Obama's lead on our national trend estimate over the last week, but aside from the critical battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida (and possibly West Virginia), we do not see evidence of that trend at the state level. New polls logged yesterday show continuing progress for Obama in Wisconsin and Minnesota and a new poll in Montana nudges that state back into our toss-up category.

In addition to the seven new polls entered on Saturday, we logged another eight yesterday:

081020-daily.png

On Sunday, we added a new PPP survey in West Virginia that moved that state back to our "lean" McCain category. Yesterday, NBC released a new Mason-Dixon survey there, showing McCain leading by six points (47% to 41%), confirming the results from PPP and increasing McCain's margin there to nearly five percentage points (48.4% to 43.5%) on our trend estimate.

The new NBC/Mason-Dixon survey in Wisconsin , showing Obama leading McCain by 12 points (51% to 39%) nudged Obama's margin on our trend estimate to just over eight percentage points (50.7% to 42.6%), enough to shift Wisconsin to the "strong" Obama category.

Meanwhile, two new surveys in Minnesota from the Star Tribune and Daily Kos/Research 2000 show Obama solidifying his standing there. Obama's margin in Minnesota extends to seven points (50.5% to 43.5%), although the margins on the new polls are both "above trend."

Finally, in Montana, where we have seen just three surveys so far in October, the latest DailyKos/Research 2000 poll narrows McCain's lead on our trend estimate to just 3.7% (49.0% to 45.3%), just enough to move it into our yellow "toss-up" category.

081020 trend.png

Again, if you look at where are trend estimates are now as compared to where they a week ago, only Ohio, Florida, West Virginia and possibly Indiana show a narrowing Obama margin. All the other states show continuing progress for the Democrats, so the slightly narrowed national margin is something of a puzzle. As several readers have noted, the seven daily tracking polls have largely dominated the national trend over the last week. Since the daily trackers include three surveys (Ramussen, Battleground/GWU and Reuters/Zogby) that typically show narrower margins than the other national polls, their greater influence on the trend over the last week may help explain the narrowing. New data later this week will solve the puzzle.


Race and Late Deciders: Lessons from Harold Ford's Senate Campaign


"Undecided people are having a difficult time just culturally making the change, making the move for the first African-American president in the history of the United States of America."

Joe Biden, October 18th

There has been endless speculation about the role that race will play, if any, in polling the 2008 presidential race. I highly recommend Mark Blumenthal's posts on the issue as a starting point. In this post, I wanted to address one particular question about this dynamic suggested by the Biden quote above. That is, are the remaining undecided voters--those that will make their decisions between now and November 4th--more likely to break for McCain because of an unwillingness to come to grips with voting for a black president?

We obviously won't know the answer to this question until November 4th, but perhaps we can gain some insight from Harold Ford's unsuccessful race for the Senate two years ago. Ford lost a tight contest to Bob Corker in 2006. According to Pollster.com, the last five polls in that race showed an average 4 point lead for Corker (50-46%). The final outcome was a 51-48% win for Corker, suggesting that late deciders made little difference.

But we can consult the National Election Pool exit poll from that contest to gain a better sense of how race might have affected late deciders (those who said they made their vote choice during the last week and a half of the campaign). As the table below indicates, it was hardly the case that late deciders flocked away from the African American candidate. In fact, Ford performed better among late deciders than he did among those who had made up their minds earlier in the campaign. (Note: The exit poll showed a virtual tie despite the fact that Corker won by 3% of the vote). Evidently the late deciders were not predominantly citizens who were unable to come to grips with voting for an African American candidate.

But what about looking for race effects where they are most likely to exist? First of all, about 10% of the late deciders in Tennessee were African American voters who are unlikely to have been susceptible to concerns about Ford's race. Furthermore, particular subgroups of white citizens are more likely to be influenced by a candidate's race compared to others. Specifically, less educated, lower income, and older whites may have been particularly likely to break against Ford at the end. We might also have expected to find such a dynamic among rural whites, particularly those living in the eastern (Appalachian) part of the state. Comparisons between early and late deciders for each of these groups appear in the table below:

ford.PNG

The differences between early deciders and late deciders are opposite of what we would expect if there was a race effect among late deciders. Whites who decided within the last week and a half of the campaign were actually 8% more likely to vote for Ford than those who made up their minds earlier. The same pattern held for less educated whites, rural whites, and whites living in eastern Tennessee. The only two groups where Ford did not do better among late deciders was for low income whites and older whites. But even in this case, Ford performed about as well as he did with early deciders, not significantly worse.

What does this mean for the presidential race? It depends on the extent to which you think the case of Tennessee in 2006 can be applied to the 2008 presidential contest. On one hand, the demography of Tennessee would seem to make it a good place to look for race effects among late deciders. On the other hand, electing someone to the Senate in a midterm election is a bit different from electing a president. But if you believe the comparison, then the experience from Tennessee in 2006 would suggest that there is little reason to expect late deciders to break against Obama because of his race. To the contrary, Ford actually did slightly better among late deciders in 2006, something that allowed him to finish a few points closer than pre-election polling had indicated. If a similar dynamic works for Obama, he may win by a larger, not smaller, margin than the current polling suggests.


US: Obama 50, McCain 44 (Zogby 10/17-19)

Topics: PHome

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby
10/17-19,08; 1,211 LV 2.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 44


PA: Obama 53, McCain 41 (Muhlenberg 10/15-19)

Topics: PHome

Muhlenberg College
10/15-10/19
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania 607 LV, 4%
Obama 53, McCain 41


Sunday's Daily Trackers

Topics: Daily Trackers

A quick update on today's national tracking poll releases. First, the national trend now clearly shows a slight narrowing over the last week. The now smoothed trend line indicates that the Obama margin peaked at 7.8 points (50.1% to 42.3%) a week ago on October 12. As of this writing, it stands at 5.7 points (49.3% to 43.6%).


However, if we look just at the daily tracking polls since Thursday, the patterns across the six polls that report over the weekend are inconsistent.  On today's releases, two (Gallup and Rasmussen) show a slightly wider margin for Obama, two (Reuters/Zogby and IBD/TIPP) show slightly smaller margins and two (Kos/Research200 and Diageo/Hotline) have unchanged margins. If we compare today's releases to Thursdays, the pattern is the same: three slightly improved for Obama, three slightly improved for McCain.

081019 trackers



MN: Obama 52, McCain 41 (StarTrib-10/16-17)

Topics: PHome

Star Tribune / PSRA
10/16-17/08 - 1,049 LV, 3.8%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Minnesota
Obama 52, McCain 41


DailyKos/R2000: KY, MN, MT

Topics: PHome

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Minnesota (10/14-15, n=600 likely voters, +/-4%)
Obama 52, McCain 39
Sen: Franken (D) 41, Coleman (R) 39, Barkley (I) 18

Montana (10/15-16, n=500 likely voters, +/-4.5%)
McCain 49, Obama 45
Gov: Schweitzer (D) 57, Brown (R) 40

Kentucky (10/14-16, n=600 likely voters, +/-4.%)
McCain 53, Obama 39
Sen: McConnell (R) 46, Lunsford (D) 42


US: Obama 47, McCain 42 (IBD/TIPP-10/14-18)

Topics: PHome

Investor's Business Daily(IBD)/TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP)
10/14-18/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 47, McCain 40



US: Obama 51, McCain 44 (Gallup 10/16-18)

Topics: PHome

Gallup
10/16-18,08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

Registered Voters (n=2,798,2%)
Obama 52, McCain 42

**Likely Voters Expanded** (n=2,277,2%)
Obama 51, McCain 44

Likely Voters - Traditional (n=2,590,2%)
Obama 49, McCain 46


US: Obama 48, McCain 41 (Hotline 10/16-18)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline
10/16-18,08; 785 LV 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 48, McCain 41


Mason-Dixon/NBC: OH, WI, WV (10/16-17)

Topics: PHome

Mason-Dixon/NBC
10/16-17/08, all states: n=625 likely voters, margin of error +/- 4
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
First Read summary

Ohio
McCain 46, Obama 45

West Virginia
McCain 47, Obama 41

Wisconsin
Obama 51, McCain 39


Morning Status Update for Sunday 10/19

Topics: Status Update

Saturdays are typically slow for new statewide poll releases, but with Election Day just two weeks away, new surveys yesterday from PPP and Daily Kos/Research 2000 are worthy of an update. In particular, a new West Virginia survey from PPP helps move West Virginia and its five electoral votes back into the lean McCain column.

081019 daily.png

The new West Virginia poll from PPP is only the third there this month and one of only seven since the conventions. It shows the McCain-Palin ticket leading Obama and Biden by eight points (50% to 42%) and shifts our trend estimate nearly four points in McCain's direction, to a 49.5% to 45.3% lead, just enough to qualify for lean McCain status on our map.

The new Kos/Research 2000 poll in Maine showing the Democrats leading by 17 points (55% to 38%) also has a big impact on our trend estimate, bumping the Obama lead up nearly four points -- enough to shift Maine into "strong Obama" dark blue. Maine is also a state with very few recent surveys, just two in October.

081019 trend

Normally, our trend estimates are "small-c" conservative, tending to minimize the impact of any individual poll, especially if it deviates significantly from the overall trend. However, as I noted when a new poll shifted West Virginia into the toss-up category a month ago, the scenario in states like West Virginia and Maine -- very few polls, and a new poll that represents a big difference from the previous polls -- makes our trend estimate more sensitive. In the the West Virginia example, the trend line is now largely ignoring an outlier value of 42% for McCain from ARG in early October, and basing the recent McCain trend on McCain results of 50%, 49% and 50% on the most recent Rasmussen, InsiderAdvantage and PPP polls respectively.

Obama's lead on the national popular vote trend has narrowed since earlier in the week. It was down to 5.2% (49.1% to 43.9%) when I generated the table above, (although two new daily updates from Rasmussen and DailyKos, entered as I was writing, widened it slightly back to 5.4% -- 49.4% to 43.9%). The first table above, which compares individual poll results for the national trackers to their last non-overlapping samples from earlier in the week, shows a tightening margin on four of the six this week. As I did yesterday , I will try to post an update later today when we have the results from all six tracking polls that release on the weekend.


US: Obama 51, McCain 45 (Rasmussen 10/16-18)

Topics: PHome

Rasmussen
10/16-18, 08; 3,000 LV 2%
Mode: IVR

National
Obama 51, McCain 45


US: Obama 50, McCain 43 (Daily Kos 10/16-18)

Topics: PHome

Daily Kos (D)/Research 2000
10/16-18,08; 1,100 LV 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 50, McCain 43


US: Obama 48, McCain 45 (Zogby 10/16-18)

Topics: PHome

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby
10/16-18, 08; 1,211 LV 2.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National
Obama 48, McCain 45


PA: Obama 52, McCain 40 (Muhlenberg 10/14-18)


Muhlenberg College
10/14-10/18
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Pennsylvania 599 LV, 4%
Obama 52, McCain 40


 

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR