Polls: Race remains close, McCain with slight edge

This Saturday’s polling report headline is the opposite of last week’s in which Obama had a slight edge. Throughout this week McCain did nothing but pull ahead in the polls and today we’ll examine the RealClearPolitics polling averages the same way I did last Saturday to see the trends.

Here is the current RealClearPolitics general election polling average:

Last Saturday it had Obama at 46.60 and McCain at 44.20. This week, the tables have turned in this race and McCain is leading at 47.40 with Obama at 45.1, a start contrast since for months now, the Obama campaign has handily lead the polls on average.

So the question remains, why the sudden swing in the polls? Clearly it can be attributed to Sarah Palin, however, what demographic group has changed so much that it has now given McCain a slight advantage?

A report from Bloomberg on the polling shift:

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) — Democrats are beginning to worry about losing the presidential election.

After months of leading in voter enthusiasm, fundraising and most surveys, Barack Obama lost momentum to John McCain after the Republican convention last week. McCain has gotten a boost from his pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate and has surged ahead of Obama in some national polls, while running even in others.

Arizona Senator McCain, 72, is drawing larger crowds to his rallies than ever before. Illinois Senator Obama’s campaign, meanwhile, may struggle to keep up the record fundraising pace it has maintained all year.

The campaign’s “novelty has worn off,” said Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat. The Obama campaign “seems to have lost its speed, its response time.”

The key here is women voters, as reported from VOA News:

Several polls taken after the Republican National Convention show John McCain’s popularity ratings are surging upward, and some show him holding a slight lead over his opponent, Barack Obama.

One poll in particular may be causing concern for the Obama campaign. A new Washington Post/ABC News survey finds McCain is now ahead of Obama by 12 points among white women, 53 to 41 percent.

Last month Senator Obama held an eight point lead over McCain among white women voters in the same poll, representing a stunning, 20 point shift among that group.

So with shift in the past seven days, it’s time to reexamine the RCP electoral map which will shed light on the latest state polling:

As you can see, compared to last week, the electoral map has also shifted. Last week the map had Obama at 238 electoral votes and McCain at a mere 174 electoral votes, with 126 toss-ups. This week, it’s Obama/Biden at 217 electoral votes, McCain/Palin at 227 electoral votes, and only 94 toss-ups.

Georgie and North Carolina were put in the McCain category this week which created a shift. Pennsylvania became a toss-up which took those electoral votes away from Obama.

This is getting fascinating and I enjoy this weekly look at the polling averages. I’ll have another report next Saturday and we’ll see if things have settled down at all.