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September 2008
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Electoral College: Swapping Some States

As always these days, lots of polls. But only two changes.

Missouri (11 ev): McCain’s lead drops to less than 5%, once again putting Missouri in play as a swing state. It had slipped out of swing state territory into “Weak McCain” in the wake of the conventions. But that seems to have ended, and the state is reverting back to being a close state, although still on the McCain side of the fence.

North Dakota (3 ev): Since the beginning of this race North Dakota was one of the western states that Obama hoped to make a battle out of. And for the most part, earlier polls had shown McCain to be in the lead, but not by much. Recent polls though have started to change that, and today his lead moved above 5%, taking the state from “Lean McCain” to “Weak McCain” and pulling it out of the pool of swing states.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – McCain 331, Obama 207
Obama Best Case – Obama 363, McCain 175

If everybody gets their leans – 269/269 ELECTORAL COLLEGE TIE

Basically, the two states changing today are just swapping categories. We have the same number of swing states as we did before. Just a different mix of them. Although surely he would like both, for Obama having Missouri competitive is probably better than having North Dakota competitive since it has more electoral votes. So overall today is a net plus for Obama.

Given trends in national polls, one would expect things to start moving faster in Obama’s direction. But at least using my technique of looking at the last five polls in each state and categorizing the results as I do, there has been some movement in Obama’s direction over the past few days, but for the most part so far it has been in increasing the number of electoral votes in swing states by pulling states out of McCain’s “Weak” column, opening up the range of possibilities some, but not yet actually pulling states over to the Obama side.

There are some states right on the edge though, so, as usual, we’ll look for the next set of polls.

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