Presidential election minus five days

With less than a week ago to the big day, the polls are showing only a fractional narrowing in Barack Obama’s formidable lead. Such narrowing has been enough to move North Carolina to the John McCain column on my polling aggregates while making Indiana line-ball, but Obama is retaining his tight grip on the rust-belt swing states while increasing his lead in Florida. For some local colour, our good friends at UMR Research have produced another poll on Australian views of the contest. It finds Obama’s lead over McCain among Australians has widened still further in the past month, from 66-13 to 72-9.

Obama McCain Sample D-EV R-EV
Michigan 54.7 39.4 3005 17
Washington 54.9 40.1 3379 11
Maine 54.5 40.0 2185 4
Minnesota 53.6 41.3 4128 10
Iowa 52.6 41.7 3530 7
Pennsylvania 52.2 41.7 5505 21
New Hampshire 51.7 41.9 3905 4
Wisconsin 51.5 42.1 3490 10
New Mexico 50.5 43.3 2927 5
Colorado 50.6 44.4 4541 9
Ohio 48.6 42.8 4741 20
Virginia 50.7 45.0 4852 13
Nevada 50.0 45.4 3418 5
Florida 48.0 45.2 5429 27
Missouri 47.4 46.5 4050 11
North Dakota 45.5 44.7 1206 3
Indiana 47.1 47.0 4934 11
North Carolina 47.4 48.4 5466 15
Montana 45.0 48.9 3128 3
Georgia 45.6 50.0 3530 15
West Virginia 42.7 51.0 3622 5
Others 175 137
RCP/Total 49.9 43.9 363 175

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.

478 comments on “Presidential election minus five days”

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  1. [John Edwards cheated on his wife who has cancer, so I have no idea why he should be considered the height of personal responsibility.]

    Wtf? Why resort to a personal attack when the discussion was about his policies?

    You did ignore the fact that Obama has no “universal health care” plan. It’s all based around tax credits and “creating competiton”.

    I agree with the rest of what you said about Edwards/Clinton being supporters of “big government”.

    Thing is, the left should be embracing Nader not Obama.

  2. Haha. Chuck Todd on Morning Joe. Saying that a 45-45 poll from an unknown pollster in NM is an anomaly, and Joe trying to say it’s not.

  3. Diogenes @ 40

    Not so straightforward, I believe. The first thing to note is that the Russians or their proxies would have had to allow the BBC in -always a bit of a worry when you are interested in a balanced account. I am not sure I would trust the BBC to be expert on this one. The critical issue in evaluating civilian comments in this area is not what so much what people say, but who they are. That is, did the BBC check whether witnesses were Russians, Ossetians or Georgians? All these groups have reason to lie and this needs to be taken into account when assessing what they say. There is no sign that the BBC checked ethnicity. There has been a fair bit of ethnic cleansing and the BBC may have found it difficult to find Georgians in the areas to which they were allowed access. In terms of war crimes in the area, it is very likely that all three sides in the recent conflict committed some war crimes. This is par for the course in wars, actually. Given the history of the area, and of the ethnic hatreds, war crimes are all the more likely to have happened. There is also a fair bit of supporting evidence already on hand to show that war crimes have been committed. All sides appear to have engaged in some degree of ethnic cleansing, at a minimum. It is also likely that, since the Georgians actually started the shooting, they would have targeted areas they believed to contain Ossetians. Once the shooting started, given that the Ossetians have mixed up with their civilians significant numbers of militia, or civilian fighters, (or armed criminals), it was always going to be difficult, even had they wanted to, for the Georgians to sort out who exactly it was that they were trying to kill.

    I am not excusing any of the participants. I believe that all probably did commit war crimes, and that the Georgians started the shooting. I remain cautious about what the BBC says.

  4. OZ & AL

    “You did ignore the fact that Obama has no “universal health care” plan. It’s all based around tax credits and ‘creating competiton’.

    I agree with the rest of what you said about Edwards/Clinton being supporters of big government’.

    OZ , I do not know whether you were replying to my post or ShowsOn’s
    1/ I AM saying Obama doers not support a universal healthcare system like Edwards & Hillary I AM saying instead Obama’s is all based around tax credits and ‘creating competiton’.

    2/ I AM saying Edwards/Clinton ar supporters of Keynes type ‘big government’. I AM saying Obama instead supports a free enterprise model with nuances and gentle Govt nudges

    Those that argue with this hav not researched Obama’s words from his mouth or econamic experts opinions

    all your post does is simply confirm Hillarys absolute committment to Kyoto mark 11 you will NEVER , I repeat NEVER find Obama saying that NOR does it appear in any of his written policys at all So my point stands Edwards & Hillary support ratifying Kyoto mark 11 , Obama himself does not (so Obama supporters hiding behind Congress difficulties does no alter Obama’s own lack of Kyoto belief & conviction)

    My post #46 stands “But universal healthcare , Big govenment involvement economics and CC will do anyway as Obama not having ‘core left’ policys , unlike John Edwards”

    What genuine obama suporters should be doing is either arguing a defective Obama is better than a Republicon , or defective Obama will achieve “something” ?

  5. [1/ I AM saying Obama doers not support a universal healthcare system like Edwards & Hillary I AM saying instead Obama’s is all based around tax credits and ‘creating competiton’.]

    Yes, I was agreeing with that.

    [2/ I AM saying Edwards/Clinton ar supporters of Keynes type ‘big government’. I AM saying Obama instead supports a free enterprise model with nuances and gentle Govt nudges]

    I disagree with that, though I admit I do not know an awful lot of Edwards economic views.

  6. “I disagree with that, though I admit I do not know an awful lot of Edwards economic views.”

    Which bit , Clinton or Obama…..with Obama I was being fair to him , whereas a McCain suporter would easily (but falsely) associate Obama’s advisors & Obama to th chicago school (thats Friedman “right’ territory) , but Obama is definitively not of th Clinton Big Govt philosdophy including strong direct re regulatory or competition etc

    Whereas Republicons love Friedman types and i absolutely oppose that philosophy…alot of which is now in greedy treet ruins but believes there faith in it is not

  7. Is there any danger we will get a North Dakota poll before Tuesday, I need to put my final EV prediction into the tipping pool before Melbourne cup kicks off.

  8. You hav not objected to my remarks that Edwards/Hillary support ratifying Kyoto and Obama does not

    You hav agreed Obama is not from any “big government” school of economics

    However you hav doubts Clinton on economaics is any diferent , which is where we differ Well thanks for your frankness & candour as an Obama suporter

    In regard to econamics there was quite a revealing hard hittiing TV interview between Fox News Bill O’Reilly and Hillary during th Primarys & these ar often better sourses than 3rd party being from peoples own lips Whilst o’Reilly openly & seriously accused her of being a socialist psuppose ar for course , her responses on govt role & taxation clearly were that of a “centrist” its a label she acknowledges (like Billy Clinton) and which is geneally reagrded by US pundits as accuarate It basically a philosopghy bridging socialism and laissez faire unfettered free enterprise involving Government playing a big role in both economy , regulation & distribution of richs generated…and Hawke/Keating probably could be called centrists also but perhaps more so given ‘oz’ vs US psche on enterprise

    I shoudl add which I omitted from post to Expat Follower , is apart from a broad FA EU relations improvement & also with some less developed Countries gained from Obama (but tink specific FA outcomes may not occur)…th same broadley may apply with th fnancial system now that th curent one is in tatters despite obama’s & his advisors non centrist philosophys it could well be that Congress pressure may forse him to be more so given Congress itself will be under extreme pressure to regolate far more but doubt whether than will extend to Bigger Govt policys in other domestic areas

  9. Also OZ , I omitted to acknowledge you also agreed Obama does not support a universal healthcare system like Edwards & Hillary but instead Obama’s is all based around tax credits and ‘creating competiton’ That was also frank

  10. Expat follower and Ron and everyone else too,

    Expat and Ron, I wasn’t sure if your posts earlier on in this thread or not were for real guesses for our contest? If you want in can you repost your numbers in this form so I know for sure (esp. Ron, it is very hard to read and understand your posts).

    1. EV guess
    2. Will Obama take Missouri?
    3. State that will put winner over the top (over the 270 mark)?

    Anyone else, we need the same from you if you want in. [Possum where are you? ;-)]We will take McCain supporters, you just have to be brave enough to put your guess out there and on the line.

    Later on today, I will post the last update of my guesses list so that those who are already in can see if there are any mistakes or changes that they want to make.

    New guesses or changes on old guesses or something you’ve missed earlier, just post it here and I’ll add it in. Other than one update later today, I will not post any more updates of the list. If you put your guess/changes up here from between now and Tuesday 10pm Canberra time (our deadline) I will add them in, no worries 🙂 🙂

  11. McCain forced to campaign in Arizona on Monday 😉

    AZ-Pres: Neck and neck, and check out 2010 by kos
    Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 08:48:17 AM PDT

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/28-30. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)

    McCain (R) 48
    Obama (D) 47

    Early voters (17 percent of sample)

    McCain (R) 42
    Obama (D) 54

    I can’t believe we may actually win Arizona. And I have a bonus treat for you guys:

    If the 2010 election for U.S. Senate were held today for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Janet Napolitano the Democrat and John McCain the Republican?

    McCain (R) 45
    Napolitano (D) 53

    Janet Napolitano is Arizona’s governor, currently serving her second term. Her favorability rating of 67-29 is higher than Palin’s, which is 65-35 in a poll we’ll be releasing in a few hours. Napolitano’s job approval rating of 69-21 similarly beats Palin’s 61-37. Palin may be giving the Rick Lowrys of the world starbursts, but Napolitano is wowing them with competent governance, and it looks like Arizonans wouldn’t mind sending her to Washington instead of McCain.

    Update: McCain forced to campaign in Arizona on Monday. I bet he wishes he could spend the evening in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Florida.

  12. [
    Tight Polls and Rumors of an Obama Visit Boost Momentum in Arizona

    Working to staunch the bleeding, John McCain has targeted his home state with robocalls and announced this morning that he will visit Prescott, Arizona, on Monday.

    When CBS asked Obama campaign Senior Adviser Robert Gibbs whether or not Obama might make a personal appearance in Arizona, he downplayed the possibility but would not rule it out.

    Obviously we’ve seen a number of public polls as you guys have in the past few days that show — not surprisingly — a close race in Arizona and it’s something that we’ll watch.

    Spokesperson Emily DeRose of the Arizona Democratic Party only had this to say:

    We’ve certainly had discussions with the Obama campaign about steps to make Arizona more competitive.

  13. McCain’s “Robocalls” are backfiring 😉 …..

    Some of the enthusiasm was also driven by the hordes of Arizonans receiving robcalls from the McCain-Palin campaign on Wednesday. Stephen, a Vietnam veteran in Phoenix who was the recipient of a robocall from McCain on Wednesday said,

    I was inspired to donate 50 bucks to Obama and take off work Election Day to do volunteer work for Obama. Thanks for the inspiration McSame. If things are that bad for you, maybe my extra effort will make a difference.

  14. Just how stupid is this woman:

    [Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

    “If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.” ]

    Please, please, please let the GOP pick her as the candidate in 2012.

  15. Grog

    Glenn Greenwald’s response is beautiful. The man is a national treasure.

    [Somehow, in Sarah Palin’s brain, it’s a threat to the First Amendment when newspapers criticize her negative attacks on Barack Obama. This is actually so dumb that it hurts.

    This isn’t only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it’s inherently unfair when they’re criticized. And now, apparently, it’s even unconstitutional.

    According to Palin, what the Founders intended with the First Amendment was that political candidates for the most powerful offices in the country and Governors of states would be free to say whatever they want without being criticized in the newspapers. In the Palin worldview, the First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials such as herself would not be “attacked” in the papers. Is it even possible to imagine more breathaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?]

  16. I find all the hype about Arizona a real yawner.

    Of course McCain is being run close in a state he should easily carry: that’s what happens in lopsided elections. (And Arizona would probably be a true swing state but for McCain being the nominee.)

    Nonetheless, as all the polling suggests, McCain will carry Arizona. Even it’s by as little as Goldwater carried Arizona (1%), or Mondale carried Minnesota (0.2%).

    The Senate poll is more interesting. But it’s worth adding two caveats. Firstly, we don’t know if Napolitano is even interested in running for the Senate. And secondly, it’s likely that the Republican brand won’t be as toxic in two years time as it is now. GOP Senate candidates like McCain will probably face a less hostile environment in 2010.

  17. “President Bush is, in short, an orthodox partisan, a man of right-leaning instinct who has – without the power of coherent rhetoric, or an inability to see alternatives to his positions, used the attractiveness of his clumsy personality to win people over.”

  18. well spotted shows

    somenoe mentioned a freudian slip(s) earlier.After reading the angst ridden articles from the former neocons , I think they articulating their deepest fears which gwb, by his actions,has awakened.
    Eerily the mirroring between our election and the us’s continues.

  19. Supposedly that happened in West Virginia with early voting machines lol!
    Americans are stupid for not just using a piece of paper and a pencil.

  20. make that “no worries”.

    I do love a perfectly ill-timed series of typos occuring while I’m having a go at the intelligence level of an entire country… 😀

  21. “Palin kids wear costumes to rally. Trig dresses up as the Republican Party–an elephant with down syndrome”


    its true

    I’m going to hell for this one

  22. [Supposedly that happened in West Virginia with early voting machines lol!
    Americans are stupid for not just using a piece of paper and a pencil.]
    Aren’t the computer machines meant to make things faster?

    They’re going to have something like 140 million voters.

  23. injuddstree @ 83,

    ABSOLUTELY, any changes are fine as long as I get them with a “postmark” before 10pm Canberra time on Tuesday 🙂 ……

  24. Here is the list that I have to this point. As noted in #87, change to your hearts delight or let me know about any missing tie breaker questions. William, do you want to submit a tie-breaker answer as to the moment, you’ve got the same answer that I do (unless I change mine between now and Tuesday, unlikely at this point but who knows?). [ my 375 was in first so if 375 comes up and I don’t get a tie-breaker answer(s) from you, I’ll use first in as the tie breaker. Had it been anyone else’s guess, I would’ve no idea of when it was put down ]. Tie breaker questions are (1) will Obama take Missouri? and (2) which state will put Obama over the 270 count on election night? (based upon the order that the states are called in using CNN’s coverage and remember, some early states may not be called right away and some others later might be called as soon as the polls close)

    Big Blind Dave O 273
    Oz M 274 N MO
    Dario O 286 N MO Colorado
    Glen O 291 N MO
    worktorule O 291 N MO Colorado
    Diogenes O 293 N MO Minnesota
    philofsydney O 306 N MO NC
    ShowsOn O 309 N MO Colorado
    GaryBruce O 310 Y MO Florida
    Al O 311 N MO CA/OR/WA/HA
    jjulian1009 O 313 N MO California
    Kakuru O 318 N MO
    injuddstree O 322 N MO
    Socrates O 328 Y MO Colorado
    Enjaybee O 338 N MO Florida
    Hugo O 338 N MO Virginia
    Evan14 O 338 Y MO
    Gusface O 348 Y MO Colorado
    Grog O 348 N MO Florida
    Sondeo O 350 N MO Colorado
    David Walsh O 364 Y MO California
    Julie O 375 Y MO Colorado
    William O 375 Y MO
    BH O 376 Y MO Florida
    Yo ho ho O 400 Y MO Florida

  25. JJ,

    McCain was on the second day of a bus tour through battleground Ohio, a state that supported Bush and has voted with the winner in each presidential election for two decades.

    “We’re closing, my friends, and we’re going to win in Ohio. We’re a few points down but we’re coming back and we’re coming back strong,” he said.

    Later Friday, Schwarzenegger joined him at a rally in Columbus.

    “John McCain has served his country longer in a POW camp than his opponent has in the United States Senate,” Schwarzenegger said. “I only play an action hero in the movies. John McCain is a real action hero.”

    Please tell me again how Arnie and Maria bloody manage their relationship? I recall asking this some several weeks ago and I don’t know that you answered it? Sorry if I missed it. I would go insane if my spouse was the polar opposite from me on politics …….

  26. Hi Julie – I’ll definitely come off the fence in time on all 3 contest qns, but I still can’t decide which way Missouri & Indiana are going to go – and the early results in Georgia look amazing for Obi as well (unbelievably so, to the point where he needs v little (<40%) of normal voters remaining to win the state, if my triangulation is right.

    Ron – I for one am convinced that you have criticisms of Obama from the left. I personally happen to think his positions are realistic given the mainstream fabric of American politics – Hilary lost me when she wouldn’t admit Iraq vote was wrong and her silly populist gas tax holiday… not to mention taking an intellectually ‘lower road’ in campaigning for the sake of winning – mind you, JohnnyMac has made her efforts in this regard look like nothing in comparison. I still think she should have been the VP candidate, though – 400+ seats would be definitely on – would like to think she was offered it and turned it down, but we’ll have to wait for someone’s memoirs to reveal that in about 10 yrs time…

    Glen – are there any Arnie Vinick candidates you can think of for a run in 2012? Pity the real Arnie can’t run! How can a relative moderate win the nomination, with what’s going to be left of the registered republican base? If I had to be in anyone’s position, I reckon Huckabee is placed well (and is thoroughly likeable in spite of his ideology). Maybe Romney can go back to being a fiscal conservative and stop touting flopped social positions in the hope that they have to nominate him for any realistic chance (not unlike McCain this time around)?

  27. [
    Ron Reagan Posted October 31, 2008 | 10:38 PM (EST)

    Making It Official: I Endorse Barack Obama

    I assumed most people already knew that I had supported Obama. Anyone who has spent five minutes listening to my program would have known that. But if it helped to make it official, I’m happy to make it so.

  28. 😉 …….

    October 31, 2008

    Only four more days for Sarah Palin to drop out of the race

    So hard to say goodbye… According to a new poll, for every week that Sarah Palin is on the campaign trail, another 2.25% of America decides that she sucks. In the past month, the percentage of Americans who think Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president went from 50% to 59%. At that rate, she should easily break 60% by election day.

    Unless she drops out.

    You still have four days to drop out Sarah. We know this option has been dangled in front of you before, but it’s still on the table. You don’t need to even make a big deal about it. You could just leave a note on the kitchen table of the Straight Talk Express. A little Dear John letter, if you will…

  29. [’tis a cool map ShowsON – ta]
    Indiana closes first, so I assumes those results will trickle in first?

    If Obama wins there, then it will be a landslide.

  30. ShowsOn & Grog,

    Time zone map –
    poll closing times (another source) –
    Polling places in states that span multiple time zones will close either synchronously or asynchronously.

    (Note *S) With synchronized closing, all the polls close at the same GMT/UTC time. For states with multiple time zones– when polls close in the advanced local time zone, they will close one hour earlier in the lagging local time zone.
    (Note *A) With asynchronous closing, the polls close at different GMT/UTC times in different parts of the state. Media outlets might decide to declare a winner before all the polls have closed.

    Note that this list of poll closing times notes those areas where all polls in a state close at the same time and those where they don’t. Read to the bottom of the list for the exceptions. Here are some for examples from that list:

    Idaho General Election: Polls close asynchronously at 8:00p MST (0300 UTC) / 8:00p PST (0400 UTC). Local option allows polling places to open at 7 AM. A sizable part of IDAHO is in PST but, as the MST section is the much more populated portion of the state, the networks consider that “most of the polls in IDAHO” are closed by 8 PM MST.

    Indiana General Election: Polls close asynchronously at 6:00p EST (2300 UTC) / 6:00p CST (0000 UTC). Although much of this state is in CST, the majority of the polls are closed by the time indicated EST when the networks feel they can project.

    Kansas General Election: Polls close asynchronously at 8:00p MST (0300 UTC) / 8:00p CST (0200 UTC). Most polls in the State close at either 7 pm or 8 pm local time in the Central Time Zone by local option; the remaining polls in the Mountain Time Zone close at either 6 pm or 7 pm local time by local option. The time noted as the “official” poll closing time is the statutory poll closing time and is that at which the networks generally consider the polls in the State to have closed.

    Kentucky General Election: Polls close asynchronously at 6:00p EST (2300 UTC) / 6:00p CST (0000 UTC). Poll closing time could be rather problematic in KENTUCKY. A large chunk of the state is in CST [but the networks consider that “most of the polls have closed” in KENTUCKY by 6 PM EST and so, if they can, project at the same time they project INDIANA]. CST voters in KENTUCKY may note the networks’ willingness/eagerness to project a winner as early as 6 PM EST.

    The link ShowsOn provided doesn’t get specific enough imho so for those who want specific information, bookmark this link as well. The time zone map is provided so that you can tell which parts of which states are in which time zones as a number of key areas in some states straddle time zones.

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