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September 2008
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Electoral College: Lots of Changes, McCain takes the Lead!!

There were seemingly hundreds of polls since yesterday’s update. Just tons. Slogging through them all, we find there are polls in 35 states… and… finally… at long last… a poll in the District of Columbia. So we now have complete polling coverage across all electoral votes, and I will no longer have to say things like “and assuming Obama wins DC”. Which is a good thing.

In any case, there are a full six states (and DC) changing status today. Four of those are good news for McCain, three are good news for Obama. So it is kind of a mixed day, but I’m going to have to still give the day to McCain, as one of the changes is a swing state (Colorado) flipping in his direction, and moving us out of a tied electoral vote situation and into an actual McCain lead in the “give everybody every state they are even slightly ahead in” metric.

I’ll break up the states to report on today into which direction they are moving.

States moving in McCain’s direction:

Texas (34 ev): Texas, which a long time ago early in the race had a few tantalizing polls indicating that maybe Obama had a chance, now moves to a greater than 10% McCain lead, making the state “Solid McCain”.

Arizona (10 ev): Despite being McCain’s home state, McCain’s lead had always been less than 10%. No more. McCain solidifies his lead and moves his lead to more than 10% and puts Arizona into the “Solid McCain” category, where it possibly should have been all along.

Wisconsin (10 ev): Obama’s lead in Wisconsin drops to less than 5%. This moves the state from “Weak Obama” to “Lean Obama”. This makes Wisconsin now a swing state, and potentially in play for McCain. Despite the lower electoral college total, this is probably actually the most significant move toward McCain in today’s update. It gives another place where McCain can push into Obama territory and put Obama even more on the defensive.

Colorado (9 ev): As usual I will caution that although this is the state that made me give the day to McCain, we have a swing state moving from “Lean Obama” to “Lean McCain”. In today’s update we went from Obama being ahead by 0.6% to McCain being ahead by 0.4%. Either way the state is really too close to call, and we should treat it that way. So this change in status, may not really be a change at all. We’re just bouncing around within error of the zero line. But never the less, it puts the over all electoral college total in McCain’s favor for the first time since May.

States moving in Obama’s direction:

Florida (27 ev): McCain’s lead in Florida, which a few days ago had moved over 5% pulling the state out of swing state category. But today, the five poll average once again slips below 5%, thus moving Florida from “Weak McCain” back to “Lean McCain”. So Florida is once again a swing state, and is once again in play for Obama. Obama has never been ahead in Florida. But for most of the year it has been close. It is once again close.

West Virginia (5 ev): Perhaps a surprising one, although I have read a few commentators mention that this state could actually be vulnerable. And McCain’s strength there is weakening. The state has been very lightly polled, with only four polls so far this year. But this latest poll moves the average to a less than 10% lead for McCain, so the state moves from “Strong McCain” to “Weak McCain”. If Obama was still in a strong position overall, he might want to start throwing resources into West Virginia to try to turn it into a swing state. But the trends have been against him lately and he is actually behind overall at the moment, he’d probably be better off concentrating on the actual swing states right now.

District of Columbia (3 ev): This one is of course no surprise to anybody, which is one of the reasons that it has taken so long for anybody do to a poll here. Nobody expected anything different than what we got. The first poll shows 82% Obama, 13% McCain… a 69% lead for Obama. Yeah, this is “Strong Obama” country.

McCain Best Case – McCain 326, Obama 212
Obama Best Case – Obama 355, McCain 183

If everybody gets their leans – McCain 278, Obama 260

Has the McCain “bump” peaked yet? Well, Obama actually has some states with good news, which has been very unusual lately. And Florida being competitive again is definitely very good news for Obama. But I’m not ready to say yet that things are actually moving in Obama’s direction.

If we start having a few days with more things moving in Obama’s direction again than moving toward McCain then perhaps we’ll be able to say that. But for today, I’d still have to say McCain wins the day. But barely.

A Video Clip to Warm Ivan’s Heart

Paul Begala Rips Carly Fiorina
(SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars, 17 Sep 2008)

On Tuesday, McCain’s Chief Economic Adviser Carly Fiorina told Andrea Mitchell that both Sarah Palin and John McCain were unqualified to run a major corporation. Later in the day on “Hardball,” Paul Begala went to town on Fiorina, arguing that she is a massive incompetent who couldn’t even run Hewlett-Packard herself.

(Actual video is linked from the article above)