Confused over the national presidential polls? I am. We have a number of updated poll data amounting to some disparate information. Real Clear Politics has some of the major poll resuts up. The June 23-25 Gallup Poll shows Barack Obama and John McCain at a tie. Yet, the Newsweek and L.A. Times/Bloomberg polls show Obama with a 15% and 12% lead, respectively. 0%-15% is a large margin. Real Clear Politics, taking the average of eight national polls, puts Obama ahead by 6.3%. If we exclude the two extreme polls (Gallup and Newsweek), Obama is ahead by 6% nationally.
By most estimates, the General Election is a tight race nationally. But lest we forget, I will remind us all the popular vote of the United States does not elect the president. Just ask Samuel Tilden, Grover Cleveland, and Al Gore. And in rare circumstances, the House of Representatives decides. Just ask Andrew Jackson. So while some McCain devotees will cling to the fact that, nationally, the two major candidates for 2008 are in what appears to be a tight contest, what really count right now are the States’ votes. And it is there that we find that Obama is well ahead of McCain.
Like 2000 and 2004, 2008 is going to be about specific battleground. Unlike 2000 and 2004, 2008 is going to be about multiple states rather than only one (Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004). Just last month, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida were considered “toss-up” states, with McCain leading head-to-head against Obama. When Hilary Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination to Obama, the latter surged to a 12% lead in Pennsylvania. Obama also took the lead from McCain in Ohio (up 6%) and in Florida (up 4%). Those three states make up 68 Electoral votes.
Today, CNN reports that Quinnipiac University polls show that Obama now has a double-digit lead in the “toss-up” states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Together, these two states comprise 20 electoral votes. So while some ask where Obama’s bump is, 80 Electoral votes answer loud and clear.
According to CNN’s conservative estimate, Obama is looking like he has at least 231 Electoral votes with 270 needed for victory. However, CNN is not counting New Hampshire, were Obama leads by 11%. According to Rasmussen Reports, Obama’s 11% lead is up from 5% last month. Rasmussen also shows Obama ahead 47-39 in New Mexico, a state that CNN still has as “leaning” toward McCain. Survey USA shows Obama leading McCain by 4% in Iowa, which CNN is calling a “toss-up” state. CNN is not ready to say that Michigan is “leaning” toward Obama, but Public Policy Polling has Obama up by 11% in that “toss-up” state.
States to watch:
Obama is also surging in Georgia, which was up to about a month ago considered to be a lock for McCain. Obama has narrowed McCain’s lead to 43-42. In May, McCain led Obama by 14% in Georgia, by 10% on June 10, and now by only 1% when Libertarian candidate Bob Barr is factored into the mix. Georgia is worth 15 Electoral votes. The polls that show McCain up by double-digits in Georgia present a head-to-head match-up without Barr.
Granted, we have four full months of campaigning to go, so a lot can happen. But at this moment, it appears that Obama has gotten his “bump” not nationally, but in crucial swing states that will ultimately decided this election.