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September 2008

Electoral College: NC Weakens for McCain and Swings Again

Only one change today. North Carolina, which had flipped from being a swing state to being “Weak McCain” in the wake of the Republican Convention, now drops to below a 5% lead for McCain, and the state once again becomes a “Lean McCain” state and is in play as a swing state again.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – McCain 331, Obama 207
Obama Best Case – Obama 378, McCain 160

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

OK, NOW can we say the McCain bounce is over? I think we can certainly say that McCain seems to have peaked. The downside of the bounce is more complicated though. There is a clear pattern in what has happened so far. What we have been seeing is that “Weak McCain” states have been softening into “Lean McCain” states, perhaps putting them in play for Obama. This reverses SOME of what McCain achieved in his bounce.

Not all though. During the bounce, several states also moved out of “Weak Obama” status into “Lean Obama”. Those states have not yet returned to the Obama fold. They are still swing states.

And the “everybody gets their leans” number is still stuck stubbornly on a dead even tie.

So the overall result of the last few weeks has simply been to put more states in play. We now have 14 states and 171 electoral votes in the swing states that are too close to call. That is a huge amount. This race is still very very unsettled.

The momentum toward McCain has definitely been reversed. But to see a real benefit out of it, Obama needs to start pulling Lean McCain states to Lean Obama states and Lean Obama states to Weak Obama. We’ve seen lots of movement from Weak McCain to Lean McCain, but in the end, that isn’t enough. It just makes the “anything could happen” factor larger.

Having said that, McCain should be somewhat troubled. The big effect of the convention and Palin looked like it had been to strengthen the base and make red states redder. That seems to be fading.

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