24 Days out: State of the Race

Three debates, one economic free fall and a couple of Saturday Night Live sketches and we are in a whole new ball game. I warned the economic turn would help Obama and also that this was a fluid race. It is still a fluid race. Whereas, the last map seemed to be similar to the worst case scenario for Barack Obama, this seems to be the opposite. The trend lines are really, really optimistic for Obama, about a 2.5% bounce in most states for him.

States that I'd previously thought would go red are definitely jotting towards being blue. First, I want to congratulate DFA and other Vermonters on this list for the new numbers coming out of your state. Rasumussen says 65-32 but I call it a dismantling. Not that the state was ever in doubt mind you. I usually go swing state by swing state but there are so many now because of an absolute tearing apart of the old map. The absolute proof that this is not a 2000 or 2004? North Carolina is going to vote Democratic for the first time since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The polling numbers from the Civitas Institute are rather astounding, Obama 48%, McCain 43% Barr 2%. It's the first time Obama has led this poll (MoE 4.2%) and in February he trailed 46-36. Other polls collaborate on that.

But if you absolutely want to use the 2000 and 2004 maps, well Republican pollster Strategic Vision has numbers that should make Republicans weep. Florida 52-44% lead for Obama where Obama leads McCain by 20 points on the Economy. In Ohio Strategic Vision shows a 48-46 Obama lead but again on the economy a 22 point blowout for Obama. Rasmussen shows a tighter 50-47 lead for Obama in Florida, and 59% say the economy is most important. ARG shows a 3 point lead for Obama in Ohio. Florida shows a definite trend towards the Democrats, Ohio a bit less so.

We've seen five swing states go off the map, Michigan where polls show Obama leading big now, including Rasmussen showing a 16% gap [56-40] For Obama. Virginia has an 8 point gap now for Obama according to Democratic polling outfit PPP and a 10% lead according to SUSA. It's a blue state now. I'm hearing from a couple of people that are either phone banking or canvassing areas that should be red and enemy territory instead feels like friendly. Colorado isn't a swing state anymore, with a 7% lead from Insider Advantage (R)'s of 52-45 and a near similar 51-45 lead according to Research 2000 for liberal site Dailykos. Don't forget that in every edition I'd predicted that New Hampshire would be red and really believed McCain's image there would carry him over the goal line.Well, we all make mistakes and ARG points mine out with a 53-43 lead. CNN backs it up [53-45 for Obama while SUSA ends any doubt with a 53-40 blowout. Finally, Iowa is off the map as well, with a 13% Obama lead according SUSA 54-41. Also, we see an even bigger 55-39 by Research 2000. McCain has doubled his campaign operation here and is there this weekend trying to get Obama to buy in.

Alaska has gone from a 7 point gap to a 15 point gap for McCain. Sarah Palin has helped but now we're starting to find out the results of the Troopergate investigation, where they say she abused power. It won't be enough to turn the polling on it's head, but it will narrow the race a little bit.

And introducing a new swing state, one in which Obama shouldn't be competitive. (Appalachians wouldn't vote for a black man! Right, CNN/Fox/MSNBC?) It's called West Virginia and it may be voting Democrat. Now the sampling for this state I think is a bit overreaching for Democrats, as ARG predicts a 55% Democratic turnout in the state and only a 35% one for Republicans. Even worse they predict only 10% of independents. Still last poll done here by ARG showed a 49-45 McCain lead. So this 50-42% lead for Obama is impressive. Rasmussen showed that lead but for McCain. I still think it's a lean red state but the economic woes are hitting here hard, and it's the same thing that made Michigan change so drastically.

Indiana per Rasmussen shows a 50-43 lead for McCain But Research 2000 for Daily Kos shows a 46-46 tie after showing a 46-45 McCain lead. A CNN/Time poll shows a 51-46 gap. I've heard really negative stories from the field out here and don't think it'll happen for Obama. While the west has the ad market from Illinois, the east and south are not coming around fast enough. I think it's also a slight lead for McCain here until we can see something different.

As for Missouri, the leader for the St. Louis area Democratic Party says that it looks very good. The most recent poll shows an Obama 3% lead (50-47 from Rasmussen/Fox News) is good, but other polls show a slight McCain lead ARG McCain 49-46 I think this is the only state in the United States where it is a total tossup. It's interesting because one of Obama's best surrogates is Senator Claire McCaskill. The Pollster.com average shows Obama winning Nevada 47-49.The thing that stands out for me is an Insider Advantage (R) poll that shows Obama winning exactly by that margin. Research 2000 shows a 7 point lead for Obama of 50-43. Rasmussen shows a 4% McCain deficit but an improvement over their previous one for him. I give this state to Obama based on the economic factors and also that Nevada seems to be getting saturated with volunteers from Western California.

So after predicting a 300-238 lead for Obama and then a 269 tie for both sides, the map has changed. Incredibly the 2.75 trillion dollars we lost this last week in stocks helped McCain because it kept the ethics story for Palin off the news as much, as well as the horrible things going on at his rally. It's something else when you have to defend your own opponent and get booed for it at your own rally. Things are looking bad for McCain and the electoral map shows him defending and holding the Kerry states, while making DEEP inroads in other states. Georgie is about a 4-5% difference according to a bunch polls too.

The state of the race 24 days before the election shows one clear factor: Obama is gaining big. It's gonna take a disastrous third debate or a huge external event to change this race. And even that may not get much play if banks and companies continue folding.

The State of the Race is a whopping 353-185 shift in the Electoral College for Barack Obama.

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