Seven short days remain in Presidential Election

To me, someone who’s been covering this process since December of 2006, it seemed like it would never end. It’s hard to believe that during the time when I’ve been writing on this site and covering the election, I have finished my Bachelor’s degree and moved 300 miles to a new state. It’s been a long time, just shy of 2 years at this point, but only a couple months shy.

Friends and loyal readers, we’re heading down the end now and the race is clearly shaping up as the polls seem to tighten, depending on the source, though Obama still commands a lead.

The national polls are one thing, however, the individual states matter more at this point since the election hinges on just a handful of states. Here’s a look at each state with a bit of analysis, for what it’s worth.

North Carolina:

North Carolina went for Bush twice, by around 12 points in 2000 and 2004. My gut feeling is that North Carolina will stay red this year given past performance.


Florida:

Florida, as you know, was the hinge for the 2000 election in which Bush won by 0.1%. Bush won it again in 2004 by 5 points. Florida is a finicky state since local and state politics are very red, though based on the past two elections, it could easily go either way.


Ohio:

Ohio went for Bush in 2000 by 3.5 points and 2004 by 2.1. Ohio, up until very recently, seemed to be much closer to tied. Clearly now though the polls indicate Obama has some advantage. We’ll see how this shapes up over this week but right now Obama’s looking good.


Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania has been a blue state in the last two elections, going 4.2 for Gore in 2000 and a mere 2.5 for Kerry in 2004. I wouldn’t call it solid for Obama, especially since Hillary Clinton won the primary and western Pennsylvania seems to heavily favor McCain. Many news reports indicate that both McCain and Obama internal polling indicate a 4 to 5 point race but who knows. Either way, current polls put Obama in a good spot.


Virginia:

Virginia is an enigma this year. In the past two elections, it broke fairly hard for Bush twice by 8 points in 2000 and 2004. It has been a red state since 1964, however, this year Obama is looking for an upset. Northern Virginia is somewhere around 60/40 in favor of Obama. The more rural areas of central and western Virginia break toward McCain. I can’t make a call here since history would say this state will stay red, however, polls don’t agree so we’ll see what happens.


Colorado:

Colorado has been a red state the last two times around, going 8.4 for Bush in 2000 and then 4.7 for Bush again in 2004. This year could be different as you can see by the polls. Again though, with history as a guide, this has been a red state but anything could happen come Election Day.


Missouri:

Missouri is a fascinating “bellwether” state. According to the Wikipedia:

The Missouri bellwether is a political phenomenon that notes that the state of Missouri has voted for the winner in every U.S. Presidential election beginning in 1904 except in 1956. Missouri is also considered a bellwether of U.S. views on hot-button social issues such as stem cell research, school vouchers, and same-sex marriage. Some economists also consider the state a bellwether for economic trends such as consumer confidence and unemployment.

Obviously then Missouri went for Bush in 2000 by 3.3 points and again in 2004 by 7.3 points. As you can see, the polls have it basically tied, which is interesting. Obviously the “bellwether” phenomenon isn’t perfect and can always be broken, as in 1956, but we’ll see what happens this time around. Right now, the polls bode well for your candidate, depending on who you support since it’s essentially tied, under 1 percentage point which is well within the margin of error.

Report from AOL News on late upsets:

PRINCETON, N.J. (Oct. 27) – There have been only two instances in the past 14 elections, from 1952 to 2004, when the presidential candidate ahead in Gallup polling a week or so before the election did not win the national popular vote: in 2000 (George W. Bush) and 1980 (Jimmy Carter). And in only one of these, in 1980, did the candidate who was behind (Ronald Reagan) pull ahead in both the popular vote and the Electoral College and thus win the election.

The 1980 example is not necessarily one that John McCain can hope is duplicated this year. Reagan’s late-breaking surge that year is generally attributed to the only presidential debate between Carter and Reagan — held one week before the election, on Oct. 28 — which seemed to move voter preferences in Reagan’s direction, as well as the ongoing Iran hostage crisis, which reached its one-year anniversary on Election Day. After trailing Carter by 8 points among registered voters (and by 3 points among likely voters) right before their debate, Reagan moved into a 3-point lead among likely voters immediately afterward, and he won the Nov. 4 election by 10 points.

The 2000 example may have greater similarities to the kind of upset McCain hopes to achieve. Despite Bush’s generally leading position for much of the last month prior to the 2000 election, the race narrowed in the final few days, and Gore squeaked out a popular-vote victory, 48.4% to 47.9%. Of course, Gore failed to win the Electoral College vote and, thus, the election.

Races have tightened toward the end of the campaign in other years, although not to the point where the second-place candidate was able to win either the popular or the Electoral College vote. In 1968, the race between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey narrowed over the last month of the campaign, from double-digit leads for Nixon in late September to only an 8-point lead for him among registered voters in polling conducted Oct. 17-22. By Gallup’s final pre-election survey, conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 2, Nixon held only a 1-point edge among likely voters, and ultimately won the election on Nov. 5 by less than 1 percentage point, 43.4% to 42.7%.

There are a few scenarios right now.

1. Polls having Obama up by 10 points are correct and we might see a landslide.

2. Polls showing Obama up 10 points are over estimating Democratic and minority turnout, thus invalidating the poll.

3. Polls with the race at 4 to 7 points under the traditional model are correct, could tighten further giving McCain an opportunity

You can basically pick a scenario since, as I reported on with Jay Cost from RealClearPolitics.com the other day, the pollsters all disagree on the correct polling model this year. Thus, the same holds true on the state level where different pollsters have varying results based on polling model and the amount of Democrats, Republicans and Independents they include in the poll.

Polls with Obama up by 10 points or more tend to have a split around 40 percent Democrats, 30 percent Republicans, and 30 percent Independents. This can vary by 4 to 5 points in each group either way.

Polls with Obama up by 3 to 5 points tend to have a close split between voters mirroring likely voters in past elections. The term “likely voter” means someone who voted in the last election and will most likely vote again. The “registered voters” is more straightforward and means literally people registered to vote, however, they may or may not vote this time around.

So there it is, that’s where we are. Hope it was informative for some who may be watching the polls daily. The state polls may change quite a bit in the next 7 days, one way or another.

  • So Nate, are you still planning to continue this site in the form of YouDecidePolitics.com?

  • JD

    Obama should win this election. Pennsylvania and Ohio are going to be enough to put Obama over the needed amount.

    To be honest, I see him as only needing one of them.

    Here is how I think it will go per state.

    Obama States – Total Electortial votes = 337

    California – 55 Oregon – 7
    Washington – 11 Colorado – 9
    New Mexico – 5 Minnesota – 10
    Iowa – 7 Missouri – 11
    Missouri – 11 Illinois – 21
    Wisconsin – 10 Michigan – 17
    Ohio – 20 Penn. – 21
    Virginia – 13 North Carolina – 15
    D.C. – 3 Maryland – 10
    Delaware – 3 New York – 31
    New Jersey – 15 Connecticut – 7
    Rhode Island – 4 Vermont – 3
    New Hampshire – 4 Maine – 4
    Hawaii – 4 Nevada – 5

    McCain States – Total Electortial votes = 201

    Idaho – 4 Montana – 3
    Wyoming – 3 Utah – 5
    Arizona – 10 Alaska – 3
    North Dakota – 3 South Dakota – 3
    Nebraska – 5 Kansas – 6
    Oklahoma – 7 Texas – 34
    Arkansas – 6 Louisiana – 9
    Mississipi – 6 Alabama – 9
    Tennessee – 11 Kentucky – 8
    Indiana – 11 West Virginia – 5
    South Carolina – 8 Georgia – 15
    Florida – 27

    OBAMA WINS BY over 100 electorial Votes!!!

    Also, I could see Florida going over to Obama but I gave it to McCain for the heck of it.

  • Babs

    I think this year, more than ever, we’ll all be interested in seeing just how accurate the polls are in the end. So many factors have been in play in the media, from the Bradley effect, the youth vote once again not turning out, the number of Hillary supporters and Reagan Democrats, and to the opposite extreme of the Bradley effect, a larger turnout of African Americans voting for Obama. Then of course, there will be the major outcries over voter fraud in Ohio and other states when the votes are finally counted.

    I think the voters who have truly decided are voting now, and that accounts for about 11% of the population, according to the media. The other 80%+ are listening, and the last few days have not been good ones for Obama. They haven’t been excellent for McCain, but many voters vote against a candidate, not for a candidate.

    I think this election is still anyone’s guess, and I both look forward to Nov. 5th, and fear Nov. 5th. It’s predicted that if McCain wins, there will be rioting in the streets – I’m glad I don’t live on one. It’s predicted that if Obama wins, there will be major outcries of voter fraud. Either way, we will see a nation divided for a time. I believe Biden might have been a bit off in his geography of the “crisis” we will face soon. I believe it will be on our own soil, true enough, but it will not be outside forces. It will be from within our own country, and will be a testiment to the shallowness of this “new age” of Americans.

  • Babs

    And to further support my theory, the NAACP has already filed a law suit against Gov. Kaine of Virginia, an Obama supporter himself. The NAACP is pushing hard.

    “RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia NAACP sued Gov. Tim Kaine on Monday, arguing that the state failed to prepare for an unprecedented turnout of voters in next week’s presidential election.

    The complaint, filed late Monday in U.S. District Court in Richmond, alleged that with record increases in voter registration, the state failed to provide enough polling places. The group asked the court to put the federal government in charge of the election, reallocate voting machines to precincts most likely to have long lines and keep polls open for an additional two hours.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People contended in a 27-page lawsuit that the failure to provide more voting machines, particularly in majority black precincts, violates the state and U.S. constitutions and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

  • JD

    Babs – “opposite extreme of the Bradley effect, a larger turnout of African Americans voting for Obama.”

    The bradley effect is large number of people saying they are going to vote for a black candidate but on election day they don’t. So the opposite of the bradley effect would not be a larger turn out but rather that everyone that said they were going to vote for Obama do.

    Still, you bring up a good point which goes accross age, color and sex. FIRST TIME VOTERS. There will be more this year than ever and first time voters have shown themselves to be overwhelmingly for the Dems.

    I also want to point out that I have been getting requests left and right to volunteer with me to get people to the polls and vote. The Obama ground game is extremely organized and working like a well oiled machine since early voting started in my state of Texas but even still it will be a miricle to turn Texas blue.

    I believe McCain has a hard up hill battle to win this election… I can hear TAPS playing in the background for Babs, Conservative Gal, Stalin, EricF, and some others.

    RIP McCain presidential run…

  • Babs

    And another story of voter fraud in Mississippi out today:

    “JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – Mississippi’s voter situation is hard to believe. Places like Madison County have over 123% more registered voters than people over the age of 18.

    Sue Sautermeister, First District Election Commissioner in Madison County, tried to purge the rolls, but ran into trouble when it was discovered it takes a vote of three of the five election commissioners and the purge cannot take place within 90 days of a federal election.

    Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is the first to admit the situation with voter registration in this state is terrible.

    “It is terrible,” he says. “Combined with the fact that we don’t have voter ID in Mississippi, anybody can show up at any poll that happens to know the people who have left town or died — and go vote for them.”

    “Whenever we have a third party determined by payment, for example, as they did in Benton County — ‘walking-around’ money — and they determine what that vote is going to be, they’ve taken your vote, whether they may have voted like you would have or not, they’ve still thwarted the process and they’ve still have taken your vote away from you,” added Hosemann.

    Sue Sautermeister is working hard in the First District of Madison County to start a purging of the voter rolls as soon after the election as possible. She has file drawers full of names of people who haven’t voted in years and are known to be dead.

    “We have people who registered in 1965 who have never voted,” she says. “We have 486 people (registered who are) over 105.”

    Hosemann says 190,000 new voters have registered for this election and he believes the turnout will be historic.”

    486 people in one county registeredd who are over 105. My 90 year old Mom will happy to know that, she may even want to move to Miss., where apparently you live a lot longer.

  • NiceKing

    Is it me or Babs sound like he/she is crying??
    Babs, having said that McCain leads mississipi by approx. 14 points so are you suggesting that we should start arresting some republicans??
    Babs by the way if your mom is 90 then im guessing you’re like 2yrs older than McCain?? now i know you swear allegiance to the age not the candidate…”its an old-age thing i guess”
    i know ur gona come back and bite me so go for it…

  • Babs

    NiceKing, I’m not going to bite you. I’m 54, anyone that’s been around on this site for any length of time knows that. So you can save your sarcasm, didn’t your mother tell it’s not nice to be sarcastic to your elders? If not, she probably will before you reach the age of 5. Look forward to it. 😉

  • JD

    NiceKing,

    Babs and others are just setting up to cry foul after Obama wins. 🙂

    Let her play her game because it is about to be set and match.

  • Bob Sapp

    Nice, the polls are favoring the smarter candidate. Finally Americans are seeing right through the republicans. Obama/Biden 08

  • Babs

    You won’t think it’s nice when Obama restricts trade with your country, Bob Sapp. Also, don’t rely on the polls. Just ask old Dewey.

  • EricF

    http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/28/toledo-police-clerk-charged-in-joe-the-plumber-snooping-case/

    see the pattern yet?

    holy crap is there at least one legit Obama supporter out there or are you all this corrupt?

  • So Nate, are you still planning to continue this site in the form of YouDecidePolitics.com?

    Yes, yes indeed. I hope you’ll all migrate over eventually. There will be announcements and such, plus all old youdecide2008.com links will redirect to their new page at youdecidepolitics.com

    No ETA on when. Sometime between Election Day and Inauguration Day, that gives me enough ambiguity, but one of these days you’ll head to the site and be sent to the new site instead.

    We’ll transition to general politics and gear up for 2010 and beyond. Sounds lofty.. but we’ll see where it goes.

    Certainly the whole 2008 thing has been a resounding success, with everyone’s support of course.

  • I’m glad you’re going to keep this up, Nate!

  • Hey Bob Sapp

    Do you know a guy by the name of Ernesto Hoost?

    JD

    I got a few things for you to keep in mind. New Hampshire and The Bradley effect.
    It also isn’t too late for a severe foot in mouth.

  • J D

    Dreadsen,

    Bradley was 25 years ago. Times are different than 1982.

    But I will curb my enthusiasm.

  • IndiMinded

    We’re all horrifically corrupt ericf, every last one of us. We’re fond of kicking puppies too, and using naughty words in front of small children. Unfortunately for us, as you keep pointing out, Obama’s finished. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cry into my beer, and maybe waterboard my neighbor’s kitten. Good day.

  • Just to comment on a couple of points Babs made, because I like Babs 😉

    “I think this year, more than ever, we’ll all be interested in seeing just how accurate the polls are in the end.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Some of the polls have been so way out it’s mind boggling how they came up with the numbers. It’ll be good to see which pollsters were most accurate.

    “I think this election is still anyone’s guess, and I both look forward to Nov. 5th, and fear Nov. 5th. It’s predicted that if McCain wins, there will be rioting in the streets – I’m glad I don’t live on one. It’s predicted that if Obama wins, there will be major outcries of voter fraud. Either way, we will see a nation divided for a time.”

    I’m hoping come November 5th that there isn’t any rioting or outcries of voter fraud, but I think it might be inevitable such is peoples emotions.

  • The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes– 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  • Babs

    Wow, pud, you’re agreeing with me? Sounds like the old nzpudding to me, what have you done with that new jerk? 😉

  • I’ll agree with you Babs when you’re right, I always have, but you’ve been more wrong lately than right. However, come next week when Obama wins, you’ll know the error of your ways and all will be forgiven 😉

  • Ha ha–nzpudding, just because Obama wins does not mean we’re going to “see the light” and think he’s wonderful. Obama is the most blatantly anti-American person to run for President. (The thing I disagree with Babs on is McCain.)

  • DJS

    Susan…I would love to see us get rid of this electoral vote. I could never understand what difference it made whether we vote or not. I know it does to a point but it just never made any sense to me. It should be the popular vote only.

    As for the change everyone is looking for:

    A little over two years ago:
    1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;
    2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
    3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.

    Since voting in a Democratic Congress in 2006 we have seen:
    1) Consumer confidence plummet;
    2) The cost of regular gasoline soar to over $4.10 a gallon;
    3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
    4) American households have seen $2.3 trillion in equity value evaporate (stock and mutual fund
    losses);
    5) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $1.2 trillion dollars;
    6) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.
    7) Food prices skyrocketing over 30% in 1 year.

    America voted for change in 2006, and we got it!

    Remember, it is Congress that makes the laws and spends our money -not the President. He has to work with what’s handed to him.

    Of course he can veto bills but the problem lies in the fact that the original bill might be good for the country. But then all the earmarks are added. So you want to pass a bill and you can’t get the earmarks taken off what do you do? Obama won’t have a problem with that because he likes earmarks and he will be dealing with a democrat majority in congress. He won’t say no to them and they won’t say no to him. Do you really think this is going to be better?

  • Babs

    “I’ll agree with you Babs when you’re right, I always have, but you’ve been more wrong lately than right. However, come next week when Obama wins, you’ll know the error of your ways and all will be forgiven ”

    Actually, pud, what’s going on is that we all have always held these opinions for our individual candidates. As the election grows nearer, we just have less tolerance for those who don’t. Wouldn’t you agree?