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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.

 

Comments
DTM:

A final postscript on the issue of poll mix and the national trend: the shape of the trends on the default and less sensitive national charts have more or less converged again, meaning on the default chart there is now more of a leveling of Obama's support as opposed to the dip it was recently showing. And although the trackers are themselves rebounding a bit for Obama, it seems the inclusion of the new non-trackers was what really moved the default trend back into line with the less sensitive trend.

So, I think the evidence is pretty good that the recent poll mix briefly shifting to all trackers over last weekend did in fact overstate the magnitude of the tightening of the race during that period, specifically to the extent it made it look like Obama's support was dipping when in fact it may just have been leveling. Accordingly, this does seem like a factor worth monitoring in the future.

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youston:

Take a quick gander at the Zogby (internets) polls within states. In 8 of 10 cases, they show movement in a McCain direction. But in most of these cases, they are sharply at odds with the existing poll averages or with a simultaneous poll. For instance, is McCain +2 in Ohio (Zogby-i) or -1.7 (Pollster.com estimate)? Is McCain tied in Colorado (Zogby-i) or -6.7 (Pollster.com)? Is McCain -1 in New Hampshire (Zogby-i) or -6.6 (Pollster.com)?

Either Zogby is a few chapters ahead of the rest of us, or he's in a different book.

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Thatcher:

@youston -

those are internet interactive polls you are quoting from Zogby ... which have not proven as reliable as traditional telephone polling this election year. Perhaps in the future internet interactive polls will be the way to go - but this year ... not so much.

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CTPonix4BHObama:

Glad to see you used my "nose" recommendation.

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Mike:

A serious question about the value of a poll of polls.....

Look at Florida for a second. Check out the trend line for the Live Interviewer polls, then the trend line for for just the IVR polls. Using "increased sensitivity" both show a relatively stable Obama advantage (sizable in the first case, small in the second case), yet the combined trend line for the two sets shows a rather dramatic narrowing of the race.

I could be wrong (I'm not a statistician, a pollster or a polling statistician) but it seems to me the only explanation is that a shift in the the mix of polls is projected a "false" impression.....

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jme:

I think the WV trend lines deserve a mention in tomorrow's morning update. Poster child for high variance! Almost comical, really.

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