Presidential election minus 17 days

Two states have moved to the McCain column on my weighted aggregates: Ohio, where polling for McCain remains surprisingly strong, and West Virginia, where a 50-42 result from Public Policy Polling puts the state back where it should probably have been all along. Obama’s lead in North Dakota is largely based on what was probably a rogue poll. For all that, Obama retains leads of over 5 per cent in enough states to win the election (note that the table below will be updated as new polls become available, so the aforementioned might be out of date at the time you read this).

Obama McCain Sample D-EV R-EV
Michigan 56.0 37.0 3215 17
Maine 54.8 38.9 2185 4
Washington 55.1 40.5 2149 11
Iowa 54.0 39.7 1160 7
Minnesota 53.4 40.5 3177 10
Wisconsin 52.2 39.5 3567 10
Pennsylvania 52.7 40.3 3604 21
New Hampshire 53.3 42.1 3360 4
Ohio 51.8 40.8 3024 20
Virginia 51.5 43.1 3324 13
New Mexico 50.1 42.0 2427 5
Colorado 51.9 45.7 3038 9
North Carolina 50.7 45.5 4769 15
Nevada 49.5 45.4 3221 5
Indiana 48.8 45.0 3128 11
Missouri 49.2 45.4 3063 11
North Dakota 45.8 43.6 1206 3
Florida 46.6 45.9 3420 27
Montana 45.5 47.5 2003 3
Georgia 45.6 49.5 3533 15
West Virginia 43.0 50.0 3022 5
Others 175 137
RCP/Total 50.2 42.8 378 160

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

925 comments on “Presidential election minus 17 days”

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  1. William,
    I think your EV estimate is sound. However, can you tell me on which polls you base your state-by-state calculations?

    RealClearPolitics will not reveal which polls are included in calculations. For example, I don’t think Reserve2000 polls are included, even though other websites like 538 and princeton election consortium include R2K.

  2. Four days and 5 electoral seats, lol.

    I think FL, NC, MO, ND and VA will all swing back to McCain between now and November 4. Still not enough for McCain to win but I expect it will be closer than the current prediction.

  3. Wiliam

    I’m really struggling to understand a model based on RCP which gives a 0.5% margin in VA when it’s an 8.1% average on RCP and the most recent polls are 10% and 6% to Obama.

  4. Julian, I include all state polls that appear on Each poll is weighted according to its sample, and the results are adjusted according to the change in the RCP aggregate since the last date of the polling period. Since I’m only using RCP to measure changes over time, the particular nature of its methodology shouldn’t matter much.

  5. OZ,

    I’ve lived in MO, and notwithstanding the 100K (St. Louis) and 75K (Kansas City) turnouts today, it’s quite a rednecky state. It’s hard to fathom why Obama is competitive there, unless it’s simply because he’s a Senator from bordering state. Midwest pride or something. However, that doesn’t seem to have helped Obama in Indiana on eastern border of Ill.

    Florida has hit highest unemployment level in August (6.5%) since the mid-90’s, and it’s Jewish community is not overly smitten with Gov. Palin, but it has a Repub. Governor and the Cuban refugee Republican bloc.

    VA has had considerable influx of Dem. regos in its northern dormitory belt for D.C. (although that’s NOT the real Virginia mind), and it has a Dem. Governor.

    I’ll be shocked if Obama wins NC or ND.

  6. GG

    What do you think Colin Powell will do tonight? Endorse Obama or McCain or abstain. An Obama endorsement would dominate the news cycle for a few days and it would start talk of Powell being in Obama’s Cabinet. I bet Powell is getting plenty of advice from his Repug friends.

  7. Diogenes,

    It’s a better question for you.

    Afterall, you are the one who has provided character advice and job performance references for Powell previously. Not about to demonstrate some Christian forgiveness are we?

  8. William @ 6: “Since I’m only using RCP to measure changes over time, the particular nature of its methodology shouldn’t matter much.”

    Sorry, William, but could you be more specific as to why this would be the case? I’m not questioning the validity of your statement—just most interested to learn more how this stats stuff works.

    Many thanks in advance.

  9. I’ve had a ferret around for Ohio and located a poll I’d missed which has put Obama 0.2 per cent ahead. The reason I have McCain doing better than the others is that Pollster are including a Zogby internet poll, and I gather the others don’t count internet polls.

  10. An example, Julian: On October 14, RCP had Obama 50.2 and McCain 42.0, whereas today it’s 49.6 (down 0.6) and 43.1 (up 1.1). A Rasmussen poll in Ohio on October 14 had the result at 49-49, so for purposes of my calculation that’s been adjusted to Obama 48.4 (down 0.6) and McCain 50.1 (up 1.1). If RCP was biased 2 per cent in McCain’s favour on October 14, it presumably remains so today – that doesn’t affect the change over that time, which would probably be very similar if I used any of the other aggregates.

  11. Kakuru,
    Yep, but by far the major population and CBD are in MO. Compares roughly with North Sydney Council area and Sydney City Council area.

  12. Excellent point GG.

    As you know, I hate Powell. On a personal level, I’d want to tell him where to shove his endorsement until he apologised for his role in starting the Iraq War.

    “I was wrong, I was fooled, I should have questioned more, I was a patsy” that sort of thing.

    Christian forgiveness is only extended when it’s asked for and he hasn’t asked for forgiveness yet.

    But on a political and social level, it would help unite the country and be a powerful message if Obama and Powell help erase the past. So if Powell extends the hand, Obama should take it.

  13. GG @ 8,

    Would expect no less from someone who is at best a fence sitter, at worst hangs out on the other end of the political spectrum.

    Unlike some though, I feel you are fully entitled to your view, just happens that (1) I don’t happen to share them and (2) you are in the minority.

    It is a whole heck of a lot easier to forgive you your views when I am in the majority 😉 ……

  14. William, that’s very clear and helpful.

    Sorry, one more question. Is it known whether RCP is including the exact SAME polls every week or cherry picking? Nate Silver @ 538 attempted to get an answer to this question from the RCP bloke a few weeks ago with no success.

  15. jj @ 9, Florida will be delivered to Obama through the Jews and the Cubans, esp. the Cubans. They are packing out (registered Republicans mind you) Obama rallies to the tune of several thousandsat a time because Obama will change policies vis a vis Cuba and that will enable them to help their long suffering relatives still in Havana et. al. with money and other aid.

  16. Ah yes JulieM, you have me tagged correctly as “an extreme centre of the road moderate”. I well understand that you do not share such views given the bilious nature of your pro-Obama commentary.

    The urge to go along with the “Tyranny of the majority” is not something that particularly excites me.

  17. Juliem,
    Thanks for that Fla. update. Cubans have been the most Repub. Hispanic bloc, and I’d no idea Obama was doing better with them. Where did you read that?

    BTW, my only nephew is a frosh at Fla. State in Tallahassee, and he’s voting McCain like his parents.

  18. [I well understand that you do not share such views given the bilious nature of your pro-Obama commentary.]
    What about the bilious nature of the anti-Obama commentary?

  19. jj @ 24.

    It was some several weeks ago and I posted the link and a few details (the URL to link onto provided full details. It was in a previous thread here amongst the various US ones on PB. I will look for and see if I can find the original source OR that post.

  20. I wasn’t aware Obama had a particular pro-exile stance with the Cubans?

    Anything that falls short of ramming more sanctions on Cuba is not going to get the Cuban vote in Florida.

  21. They do seem to be doing some cherry picking William. I’ve seen them drop polls from their national average calculations from one day to the next, with no particular pattern however.

  22. GG,

    I can afford to be generous in spirit when the RCP no swing states map shows Obama with 364 EV’s 😉 …..

    If you are looking for someone to verbally joust with, hang your hat somewhere else :).

    Cheers 🙂

  23. Oz, not you too? Sheeessshhh … either PB’ers are not keeping up with posts and/or some of us have short memories …. moment, I will have to do a searching job …..

  24. Dario,
    I dug back into Nate Silver’s post at on RCP. It’s from 2 October:

    “I just concluded a long, and understandably fairly contentious phone conversation with John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics.

    John strongly disputes the notion that he is cherry-picking polls to achieve a particular partisan result (pro-GOP or otherwise).

    It is clear to me that there is substantial subjectivity in how RCP selects the polls to include in its averages. RCP does not publish an FAQ, or any other set of standards. Nor, in my conversation with John, was he willing to articulate one. In my view, the fact that RCP does not disclose a set of standards means ipso facto that they are making judgment calls — that there is some subjectivity involved — in how their polls are selected.

    However, it does not necessarily follow that these judgment calls reflect any deliberate partisan leaning, i.e. any “bias”. That is a much stronger accusation, and it is the one that John objects to.”

  25. Re 32,

    Details of the link(s) between Cuban Americans in south Florida and the Obama campaign 🙂

    Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
    Bush’s chickens are coming home to roost

    “New Jersey Senator Menendez Rallies Miami Republicans for Obama; Florida Pols Avoid Bush”

    The Obama campaign couldn’t have planned it better. At the exact moment Air Force One was touching down here to deliver the president to a fundraiser for what The Miami Herald called “imperiled members of his party” (read: Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the brothers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart), another much more relevant elected official named Senator Robert Menendez was across town addressing a crowd of Republican Cuban-Americans — on behalf of Barack Obama.

  26. Interesting that there are some Republican Cubans swinging his way, but the best way the Huff Post could describe them was as a “roomful” so I don’t think it’s that significant.

    The really anti-Castro Cubans who are the wealthiest and most influential are going to vote for whoever maintains the blockade or toughens sanctions. That appears to be McCain.

  27. [To be honest I’m more worried at how far SNL has fallen than any of this election stuff. What a shambles.]

    How far they’ve fallen? Getting record ratings aren’t they?

  28. [Dario,
    I dug back into Nate Silver’s post at on RCP. It’s from 2 October:]

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’ve definitely seen them lop 3 or more polls off from one day to the next, and when I tried to work out a pattern (either age of poll, or sample size, or party affiliation, or bias) I couldn’t find one. Just a bit perplexing really.

  29. Dario – I mean in terms of quality, not ratings. I’ve seen a few skits from SNL over the past few months and they were deplorable. Almost Rove-esque.

  30. Dario,
    Perplexing is the right word. I’m attempting to significantly increase my comprehension of polling aggregation (from a low base) with the valuable insights of William, Possum, Sam Wang, Nate Silver etc.., but RCP is no help.

  31. DIO (36)

    Unfortunately it will be no laughing matter if McCain and Palin manage to fluke their way into the Whitehouse. They are dangerous people – in the same way that George Bush has proven to be – and the sooner they are rejected by the American people the better. .

  32. Juliem,
    Good on ya’ for going to the trouble to find the Cuban article from Huffpost. That roomful should make an impact:

    “To leave a roomful of Republicans who are now supporting Obama is, I think, very significant; many of them are community leaders who can influence many others.”

  33. Darn

    It’ll be freakin’ hilarious if McCain-Palin get into the White House for a good few months, probably right up ’til when McCain nukes Eye-Ran.

  34. [Dario – I mean in terms of quality, not ratings. I’ve seen a few skits from SNL over the past few months and they were deplorable. Almost Rove-esque.]

    Not sure about that. They still show old SNL on Foxtel, and TBH the standard hasn’t really changed all that much these days.

  35. The other major demographic in Florida (aside from the Hispanic Cuban vote), the Jewish vote, checking in with the progress of “The Great Schlep” tonight ……

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    A few days ago, Lawrence and Patty Kaplan, retirees from Massachusetts living in Jupiter in southern Florida, received an email from a grandson, Michael, in Colorado. The usual salutations were dispensed with quickly. Michael wanted to check on how the old folk were planning to vote next month. Specifically, he wanted to be sure that they weren’t harbouring any thoughts of supporting John McCain.

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