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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Meanwhile, the Latest National Poll…

posted by on August 19 at 14:54 PM

…shows Obama and McCain in a statistical dead heat.

These national polls are not nearly as important as the state polls—especially the polls in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, and other battlegrounds that could be key to any winning electoral math.

Still, this is not good news for Obama, and it presents a very good occasion to change the subject by announcing his VP pick.

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McCain's at 43%. McCain's ALWAYS at 43%. 43% ain't gonna win the election.

Posted by DOUG. | August 19, 2008 3:04 PM

Where can we see the polling for the individual states, and how does it look for Obama in the Electoral college? (Which, unfortunately, is the only thing that matters).

Posted by elswinger | August 19, 2008 3:10 PM

I've got my passport ready should things end poorly.

On that note, any gay Canadians want to get married...?

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | August 19, 2008 3:13 PM

O's got the college when you include leaners. Remember, all of the polling goes to homes that still have land lines. What do you think the polling data looks like for people without a home phone? I bet if you strawed polled yahoo and google, you probably get about 65% or 70% Obama. I don't think their margin of error is based on strong statistical assumptions.

Posted by Ben Lyon | August 19, 2008 3:16 PM

Wasn't the idea about the cell phones skewing the polls floated during the 2004 election when Kerry was shown in a dead heat race with Bush? Unfortunately, that theory didn't pan out. Maybe it will be different 4 years on-probably more people use cells as their primary line than did in 2004. Let's hope so!

Posted by Cell phone polling | August 19, 2008 3:29 PM

The land line issue had never occurred to me. Verrry iinterestink.

Posted by robo | August 19, 2008 3:31 PM

you can see extensive polling for individual states at

click on their electoral map

click on the no toss up view, showing this race is about even.

below it they have the list of all the states, starting with the most swingy swing states and then ending up with the states that are most "safe" for either Obama or McCain

Posted by PC | August 19, 2008 3:33 PM

People might be polling for McCain, but come election night, I think many Republicans are going to stay home. Evangelical Christians don't like McCain, the NRA has put him on their Most Hated list, he's foiled many a Republican plan in congress, and so on...

He's not "Maverick McCain" because he stomped all over hippies back in the 60's; he's "Maverick McCain" because he's never played ball with the GOP. He's said to have even flirted with the idea of changing sides and become a Democrat. That might make him an admirable, independent-minded politician in some eyes, but it makes him a terrible Republican in the eyes of the GOP.

I think Republican apathy is going to play a big part in this election.

Posted by JC | August 19, 2008 3:34 PM

14% of households are considered no landline households...they've already found statistically significant linkage:

Posted by Ben Lyon | August 19, 2008 3:37 PM

Thanks #7

Posted by elswinger | August 19, 2008 3:43 PM

@8: Don't count on that. You think an evangelical or NRA nut is going to vote for Obama? No way; they'll do what we did with Kerry in 2004...hold their noses and hope for the best. This is going to be yet another close one, and that's a real problem for Obama. It's his election to lose. There's no fathomable reason why he shouldn't have a lock on this thing already.

Posted by laterite | August 19, 2008 3:47 PM

"August 19, 2008 5:21 PM

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf and Jennifer Parker report: As Delaware Sen. Joe Biden was leaving his house in Wilmington this afternoon, he slowed down and said to the gathered news reporters outside his home: "Hey guys, I'm not the guy. See ya." "

Posted by PC | August 19, 2008 3:48 PM

@2, also see for state-by-state polls.

Posted by mp | August 19, 2008 3:51 PM

From the LAT story:

"The survey found that 63% of voters have confidence in Obama's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis, while 77% feel that way about McCain."

This is what the worldwide whirlwind goodwill tour produced? Ouch.

Posted by laterite | August 19, 2008 3:51 PM

Hmm. This is also interesting and a bit scary: electoral votes this day in 2004:

Posted by mp | August 19, 2008 3:53 PM

@11: Obviously, I don't think conservatives are going to vote for Obama. I just think that enough of them will be apathetic enough to not vote for John McCain, driving his percentages down. There's some considerable animosity to him from within the GOP. I'm sure than many Republicans will hold their noses and vote their party, but there's many a Republican that can't stomach the idea of voting for McCain.

Anyway, just an opinion of mine. I have no fancy numbers of charts to point to.

Posted by JC | August 19, 2008 4:04 PM

I'd feel pretty confident if I could take a week or two off and still be tied with my opponent when I got back.

Posted by Banna | August 19, 2008 4:09 PM

What is the "subject" that Obama will try to change with the VP announcement?

As for the polls, they have been inaccurate for Obama all along during the primaries - presumably because people don't want to tell pollsters they're too racist to vote for the black guy, or just don't realize it themselves.

FURTHER...the polls now aren't super-accurate for at least two reasons:
1) At this time in 2000 and 2004, Gore and Kerry were ahead, but still lost.
2) About 10% of voters haven't made up their mind. Whoever these clueless and indecisive people are, which team they break is what will matter way more than the 2 or 3 percent of voters who are going back and forth between McCain and Obama

Posted by Fawxer | August 19, 2008 4:17 PM

National polls don't mean shit in a presidential election...calm down and take a deep breath...

and who the fuck do those polls talk to anyway? I've NEVER been polled and I'm fucking ancient...has ANYONE on here been polled, (pun fully intended) or known anyone who has? And who the hell answers questions posed from a stranger anyway? (or The Stranger, for that matter...) Aren't these PHONE polls? Only an idiot gives out info on the phone. And, do they ever call people who only use CELL PHONES?

I seriously think, that the modern pollster is getting most of their statistical data from 14 year olds and senior citizens...

Posted by michael strangeways | August 19, 2008 4:29 PM

The reason we are in such a dead-heat mess is because the Dems don't get the GOP strategy. The GOP trends toward the right, they don't shy away from being 100% republican. AND THEY WIN.

The Dems, on the other hand, always try and play the middle (and have in-fighting because of it) and end up looking like no nothing, flip-flopping, not hard on any issues, untrustworthy, etc. People can't trust them. AND THEY LOSE.

Dem's need to grow a pair and be a STARK difference to the GOP. They need to embrace all the scary positions and go for it. No middle man, no pandering. Straight up "I am a liberal and I am going to do this". They'd get respect they don't currently have.

But they won't. And I really worry that they'll lose again.

Posted by Original Monique | August 19, 2008 4:37 PM

With Nader, Barr and others included (as they will be on most state ballots), Obama leads 42-41.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | August 19, 2008 4:48 PM

I am shocked that, during a period when people take vacations and aren't even at their landline phones not screening calls, Obama might slip in the polls.


Never mind.

Wake me in October when it matters.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 19, 2008 5:05 PM

And think about what 43 percent means.

It means McCain really is McSame - he's got the same percent as Bush has for Presidential number.

Now, if he had 41 percent, he might have a chance.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 19, 2008 5:08 PM

"Statistical dead heat" is one of those phrases used without much regard for what it actually means.

Posted by tsm | August 19, 2008 5:09 PM

Now on electoral map no toss up view McCain is ahead 274-264; Indiana has flipped from being +0.5 for Obama to being +1.3 for McCain.

Oh well let's all go surfing in Hawaii, nothing to worry about here, oh I know what:

let's pick the VP candidate who DIDN'T get 18 million votes!

Because, you know, Obama would be so weak in the White House, he just couldn't handle those big, strong Clintons.

Fucking brilliant.

Posted by you know who | August 19, 2008 5:24 PM

Comparisons to 2004 don't really work.

Kerry picked his running mate just after July 4th and had his late July. Those two things tend to help poll numbers.

McCain just had his best month of the campaign and has dick to show for it. Why isn't that the story? He's gone all-out negative and outspent Obama on the ad at an unsustainable pace as he burns through his primary cash. And he's had an opponent off the campaign trail for half the past month.

Post-convention, his hands will be tied by public-financing and people will actually be paying attention. Start worrying then.

Posted by ru shur | August 19, 2008 5:35 PM

On telephone surveys: In 1936 a telephone poll predicted a huge win for Republican Alf Landon running against FDR's second term. Landon, of course, lost by a landslide. In 1936 only the wealthy, who then voted Republican (this was before the GOP turned into the party of Jerry Springer trailer trash), had telephones so this has gone down in history as an example of flawed polling methods.

Unfortunately I don't think the landline vs cell phone theory applies today. They said the same thing in 2004 about Bush and Kerry and look what happened.

Posted by RainMan | August 19, 2008 6:49 PM

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