Monday, September 8, 2008

First State Polls Since Conventions are a Mixed Bag -- Told Ya Not to Panic! :)

Courtesy of Nate Silver at, the first new polls since the conventions were held:
State/Pollster  WAS          NOW            SWING
OH Rasmussen McCain +5 McCain +7 McCain +2
MI PPP Obama +3 Obama +1 McCain +2
PA Rasmussen Obama +3 Obama +2 McCain +1
VA Rasmussen McCain +1 McCain +2 McCain +1
VA SurveyUSA McCain +1 McCain +2 McCain +1
FL Rasmussen McCain +2 TIE Obama +2
CO Rasmussen McCain +1 Obama +3 Obama +4
AVERAGE McCain +0.6 McCain +0.7 McCain +0.1
As you can see, McCain's big bump in national poll numbers has resulted in only a mixed bag on the ground in these key battleground states. Remember that these polls were taken just yesterday, so they effectively represent the peak of McCain's post-convention bounce, as well as any effects from Palin's announcement and speech. Given that, this is not exactly anything that would thrill me were I a McCain supporter -- it suggests that all the hysteria over Palin likely just made red states redder, while having a net neutral effect on undecided and independent voters, which are the ones that matter. (As you'll recall, I listed the potential differences between national and state polls as #1 on my list of 10 reasons for Obama supporters not to panic.)

McCain's biggest gains have been solidifying Ohio and getting dangerously close to Obama in Michigan. But on the flip side, he's actually lost ground in a big way in Colorado, home of the (infamous) Dobson, and Obama has pulled even in Florida.

Of all of these moves, the ones in Michigan and Florida are most important, in my view. It is unlikely that McCain can take MI or Obama can take FL, but if either does, the other guy is in serious trouble. Obama can afford to lose Michigan only if he takes at least one or two other states that would be difficult for him. If McCain loses Florida, he almost certainly loses the election. This means that both campaigns may be drawn into spending a lot more money in these states than they would have done otherwise.

I'll have more to say about Florida a bit later.

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