Mark Blumenthal | October 30, 2008
Topics: Status Update
We logged 38 new surveys yesterday. Of these, 20 were updates from surveys conducted earlier in October by the same pollster, and 15 of the 20 showed nominal movement in McCain's direction, while only 4 showed nominal movement in Obama's direction. So if we focus only on the tracking updates, we some evidence of a slight narrowing at the state level.
However, the most recent tracking updates do not tell the whole story. The new surveys that were not recent updates -- including eight new statewide polls from AP/Gfk -- had a net positive impact on Obama's margins on our current trend estimates in 15 of 17 battleground states.
The bottom line is that with only five days left until Election Day, we have Barack Obama leading by margins big enough to qualify for "lean" status in states adding up to 311 Electoral votes. Obama's support is at or very near 50 percent in all of these states (the "very near" is Ohio at 49.5%). Moreover, Obama's lead is large enough to qualify for dark blue "strong" status in states adding up to 272 Electoral Votes -- two more than needed to win.
The McCain campaign has signaled that it considers Pennsylvania crucial to a winning scenario. Without it, McCain would need to sweep all of the states we currently rate as toss-ups and all of the states currently leaning to Obama and still pick off either Virginia, Minnesota or Wisconsin. Five new surveys released there yesterday show what a difficult task that will be. The five show Obama leading by margins of 11 to 14 percentage points, with Obama's share of the vote ranging between 52% and 55%.
At the national level, the tracking surveys for the last few days do show a slight narrowing that amounts mostly to an uptick of a point or two (on average) in John McCain's support on those surveys (see last night's tracker update for more details). The table below (which shows the most recent track we have logged as compared to the previous non-overlapping sample from that pollster) reflects the same trends. Even if real, the slight trend implied by these national trackers is not steep enough to overtake Obama by Tuesday.