I haven't done an update in the last couple of weeks, because it's silly to look at the electoral college map or the polls during the conventions. It's probably still too soon after the Republican convention to look, but I really don't want to wait another week.
Here's the current standings with difference since August 22 in parentheses:
- Michigan (17): Democrat last 4 elections, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) currently leads by 1 pt. (-6)
- Indiana (11): Republican last 4 elections, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) by 2 (-5).
- Ohio (20): Picked winner in last 4 elections, McCain by 7. (+3)
- Missouri (11): Picked winner in last 4 elections, McCain by 7.
- Pennsylvania (21): Democrat last 4 elections, Obama by 2. (-3)
- Iowa (7):Picked Winner in 3 of last 4 (had Gore in 2000), Obama by 15. (+9)
- Virginia (13): Republican last 4 elections, McCain by 2. (+2)
- Florida (27): Picked Winner in last 3 elections, currently tied (-3 McCain).
- Colorado (9): Republican last 3 elections, Obama by 3. (+6)
- New Mexico (5): Picked Winner in 3 of last 4 (had Gore in 2000), McCain by 2. (+7)
- Montana (3): Republican last 3 elections, McCain by 11. (+10)
- North Dakota (3): Republican last 4 elections, McCain by 14. (+11)
- Nevada (5): Picked winner last 4 elections, Obama by 5. (+8)
- Minnesota (10): Democrat last 4 elections, Obama by 12. (+9)
- New Hampshire (4): Democrat three of last 4 elections (had Bush in 2000), Obama by 1.
- North Carolina (15): Republican last 4 elections, McCain by 20. (+17)
Bellwether states (EV totals in parentheses):
McCain: OH, NM, MO (36)
Obama: IA, NV (12)
Battleground EV Totals (diff since August 15 in parentheses): McCain 81 (-23), Obama 73 ( +9), Tied: 27 (+14)
Rest of map: McCain 157, Obama 200
Totals: McCain 238, Obama 273
The numbers reflect the difficulties in the polls right now. I have problems believing the poll #'s in MI, IN, IA, NM, MT, MN, and NC. I'd hope that in the next week or so we can get new polls in all of those states and might have a better idea of where things stand.
As I've said many times now, it's still Obama's race to lose. If he can hold all of these, he wins. And a win without FL would be impressive.
McCain must pick up FL and flip CO.
One of my comments from last time is interesting:
[Obama's] done well as the "rock star", and not so well as the "presumed winner". It remains to be seen how he does in a tight race. Remember that he didn't do very well down the stretch in the Democratic primaries.
Based on the behavior of his campaign the last couple pf weeks, I think we can answer that so far with "not well". But he's still polling well, so that's really all that matters.
I said this last time about McCain:
I still say that for McCain to win, he has to pick up all of FL, IN, MO, OH, NV, and VA, which seems a tall order. Right now he leads in five of those and the sixth is too close to call. Obama has many ways to win, but in general, he just needs to pick up one of those six states.
I didn't include CO in that list, because I really didn't realize how well Obama was doing there, or perhaps I underestimated the bump he'd get from having his convention there. CO needs to be added to the list. As a matter of fact, I now feel slightly more confident that McCain will pick up IN, MO, OH, and VA, which means that what's left on the table is CO, FL, and NV. I keep pointing out that McCain really should be leading by bigger margins in FL, and I keep expecting that to happen. There have been some polls showing some movement there, but the current latest has it back to a tie race. Once again, McCain is left hoping that's the outlier and that movement is heading his direction. I just don't know. Assuming it is, McCain must win CO and NV. And news is looking worse and worse for him in CO.
One thing that bears pointing out is that there has been a significant closing in the last month or so in the gap between people calling themselves Democrats and those calling themselves Republicans. And this tightening is pre-Palin. For most of the year, this gap has been in the double-digit territory. Rasmussen has it down to 5.7 at the end of August, and USAToday/Gallup's recent poll has it at 1. Gallup seems a little low to me, but Rasmussen might actually be high. Very few of the state polls currently recognize this tightening, which could cause a fundamental shift in the electoral picture. I don't think we'll see many state polls taking that into account before the end of September.