Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Pew poll puts Obama up by 16

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The latest polls show, as Nate Silver put it yesterday, the "same old story": The national polls are showing a slight tightening of the race, but Obama is doing "exceptionally" well at the state level. His lead in Pennsylvania seems to have decreased somewhat, though it's still in the 7-12 range, while "In Ohio and Florida,... which were two states that had looked to have tightened a bit, we now have more polling out showing material leads for [him]" -- 4-9 in Ohio and about 5-7 in Florida.

The national outlier continues to be Pew, which currently has Obama up among registered voters by a whopping 16 points, 52 to 36 (15 points among likely voters, 53-38). Among those who have voted already, Obama is up by even more, 19 points, 53 to 34. And the internals are all extremely strong for Obama. Very few demographic groups are going for McCain.

As Nate notes, "Pew has a very good reputation," but its polls "have... had about a 3-point Democratic lean this cycle." Which still puts Obama well ahead, though, again this particular poll is undoubtedly an outlier. Among the other national polls, the next largest margin for Obama is just 8 points.

But, if course, it's the states that matter, and, there, Obama maintains a decisive lead overall. Even in Georgia and Montana, two mostly solid red states, McCain is only up by 1 and 4 points, respectively -- although the presence of former Georgia congressman Bob Barr, once a Republican and now a Libertarian, on the ballot there works in Obama's favour.

Basically, if Obama is able to win Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, along with Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, New Hampshire, and the other "purple" states that currently lean to him, the only real battlegrounds next Tuesday will be Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, three current toss-ups, and maybe Georgia and Arizona (yes, the race is close even in McCain's home state).

If that's the case, though, it won't be close at all. Obama will have all the EC votes he needs, and many more for good measure.

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