Mark Blumenthal | October 26, 2008
Saturday remains a relatively slow day, even with just 10 days to go until the Election. We logged 16 new surveys yesterday, 9 statewide surveys and the 7 national daily tracking polls that report results over the weekend. Although two states changed color on our map, these few polls collectively provide little evidence of a significant shift nationally.
A new PPP poll in Virginia shows Obama leading by 9 points (52% to 43%). It marks the 15th consecutive survey this month to show Obama with a mathematical lead in Virginia and helps, helps nudge the state back to dark blue "strong" Obama status (where it had been Friday morning).. If John McCain needs Virginia to win, and virtually every analysis says he does, his 8-point deficit to Obama on our trend estimate makes that task look very daunting.
The new Ohio Newspaper Poll from the University of Cincinnatti shows Obama leading by four points (49% to 46%), only slightly lower than on our current trend estimate for Ohio (49.6% to 45.2%). The results in Ohio have been more mixed than Virginia, but of 7 of 11 polls released in the last week show Obama with a nominal lead.
A new Research 2000/DailyKos (D) poll in South Dakota, showing McCain leading by nine points (50% to 41%), confirms a slightly narrower McCain margin (48% to 41%) reported earlier in the week by Mason-Dixon. Convinced by the new result. our trend estimate shifts enough to Obama to move South Dakota from strong to lean McCain.
Yesterday's national daily tracker results once again look like the perfect picture of random, trendless noise: None of the likely voter releases varied by more than a single percentage point from the previous day's results. Three surveys showed nominal movement to Obama, one to McCain and four showed unchanged margins.
The latest release just in this morning from Zogby might lead you to believe otherwise. "McCain gains as race continues to tighten," the headline reads. The release tells us:
The race now stands at 49.4% to 44.1% in favor of Obama. Obama led McCain by 9.5 points in yesterday's report.
"There is no question that this race continues to tighten and that McCain is finding his message again," said Pollster John Zogby. "It is after all about the economy and that is how McCain tightened it up the last time. I have said over and over again, when he focuses on extraneous issues, he screws up. In today's single day of polling, it was 49% to 46% in favor of Obama. McCain has moved his own numbers each of the three days and Obama has gone down from 54% to 50% to 49%
As regular Pollster commenter Thatcher points out via email, single day results of 54%, 50% and 49% for Obama cannot possibly average to 49.4%. What is more likely is that Obama received 54% on Wednesday's calling, 50% on Thursday and 49% on both Friday and Saturday. Those numbers would be consistent with today's numbers and would tend to explain the gradual rise and fall in Obama's margin on Zogby's poll over the last week. More important: The story here is less likely a "tightening" race than a regression to Zogby's mean after an outlier result in Obama's favor Wednesday night.
Update: Zogby's communications director Fritz Wenzel emails with a clarification. The one-night 54% result for Obama did occur on Wednesday night: "The 54% on Wednesday dropped off and was replaced with a 49%. that
explains the drop. The rolling three-day average of a 49, 50, 49 is