Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mid-October Polling Update

I have continued tracking and charting all of the polls in each state and deeming the winner of each state as determined by the median active credible poll.  As of today, these are the thirteen closest races that will determine the presidency.  I have presented them in descending order of likelihood of a  Mitt Romney victory.
(Jump to the senate graphs!)
Mitt Romney's baseline is 170 electoral votes.  He needs to find 100 more to win. 

Arizona (R+8) - The wild Hispanic voting bloc has long been rumored to live in this state.  Many Obama supporters claimed to have spotted it, but it remains elusive in shaping elections.

Missouri (R+6) - Obama was never expected to do well in this former bellwether state, and he isn't, though Rasmussen's recent poll showing Romney up by 11 is a bit of an outlier.


Florida (R+2) - On October 3rd, the night of the first debate, the median poll spread showed Barack Obama up by three points.  Today the median spread has him down two.  Florida experienced one of the largest post-first-debate swings (5 points).  It is interesting to me that Florida has been so competitive given the fact that it has more retirees, more Republican-leaning Latinos of Cuban descent, and more Southerners than the typical swing state.  I will be surprised if Barack Obama can win the critical I-4 corridor.

North Carolina (R+0.5) - The median poll shows North Carolina still in play. This is because the median uses some polls from September, during Obama's pre-debate surge.  Polls in October show an increasing Romney lead.

With these states and all the other ones that are not competitive, Mitt Romney has 235 electoral votes, only 35 away from the presidency. 

Virginia (tied) - Yesterday the median showed a one-point margin for Mitt Romney, though a PPP poll this morning moved the median to a tie.  On October 2, the spread was Obama +5. Since then, Romney has surged and Obama has slipped.  Should Romney improve any more nationally, Virginia will be one of the first states to tilt to Mitt Romney, adding 13 more electoral votes.
Colorado (tied) - Colorado has been very close for a very long time and continues to be close. Nine more electoral votes for Romney would give him 257 out of a needed 270.

New Hampshire (O+1) - Still blue for now.  In 2008 Obama earned a 9-point victory in New Hampshire.  In 2004, New Hampshire was the only state Bush won in 2000 to go for Kerry.  Basically New Hampshire has moved from being a slightly red state to being bluer than the nation as a whole.  Not this time though.  Obama's post-debate slump has narrowed his margin in the Granite State from 6 points to 1 point in the median poll spread.  Should this state, one of many in which Romney owns property, continue to tilt towards its summer resident, Romney will have four more electoral votes (261).

Iowa (O+2.5) - Iowa was originally thought to be one of Obama's strongest of the "swing state firewall" states, but Obama's margin has shrunk as it has in most of the other swing states, down from 5.5 to 2.5.  Winning this state full of Mitt Romney's best demographic (white people) would give Romney 267 electoral votes, three away from winning.

Nevada (O+2.5) - Nevada hasn't shown nearly the falloff in Obama margins that many other states have.  Right now Nevada is the tipping point state, but I think a more likely Romney path to victory goes through Wisconsin or Ohio.

Wisconsin (O+3) - The reason I think this state more likely to go Romney's way than Nevada is because of the trend, though like Ohio, Wisconsin has consistently shown Obama on top.

Ohio (O+3.5) - Like in 2004, Ohio will be the most watched state, even if it doesn't end up being the closest.  A Romney win in Ohio would mean he wouldn't have to win Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada or even Colorado (as long as he gets Virginia and New Hampshire).  But if his performance on election night isn't strong enough to take Ohio, it definitely won't be strong enough to take Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Michigan (O+4) - There hasn't been a serious poll that has shown Romney with the lead in the state his father used to govern. Still, the median spread is only 4 points.

Pennsylvania (O+5.5) - There also hasn't been a serious poll showing Romney with the lead in Pennsylvania, but there was a Susquehanna College poll that showed him on top, which says more about Susquehanna College than it does about Mitt Romney's chances in Pennsylvania.

The rest of the states will support Barack Obama easily.


The senate is different.  Since the night of the first debate, Obama's margin has waned an average of 2.7 points in each of the thirteen states listed above.  But the margin for Democratic senate candidates has mostly remained unchanged, averaging +0.3 in the direction towards Democrats during the same time.  Here are the 14 senate races that will determine the majority in 2013, again ranked according to Republican support in descending order.

North Dakota (R+9) - Before a new poll came out today showing Rick Berg with a 10 point lead over Heidi Heitkamp, Democrats could have been excused for thinking this was going to be a close race.

Nevada (R+5) - Nevada is basically Opposite State.  There will be a lot more cross-ticket voters voting for Romney / Democratic senator than there will be voting for Obama / Republican senator in most other swing states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, Arizona maybe).  Nevada will feature more Obama / Heller voters than Romney / Berkley voters. 

Montana (R+2) - Jon Tester was supposed to be the most easily beatable Democrat out of this year's crop of incumbents, and this is still the case two weeks before the election, but it certainly doesn't mean that this race will be an easy win for Denny Rehberg.

Indiana (R+1.5) - There have basically been two non-partisan non-internet polls in this race, and they say opposite things. But assuming the latest Rasmussen poll showing Mourdock with a 5 point lead is true, this race will give Republicans their 47th seat in the U.S. Senate. 

The median poll spread has Democrats winning the rest of the seats, though I don't especially trust it in the case of Arizona.

Arizona (D+1) - In a Senate race featuring the word "pretty", this is an ugly race featuring ugly candidates.  After Richard Carmona's gaffe coincided with Jeff Flake's personal attack ad so perfectly, I'd expect Carmona's numbers to plummet.  If you give this one to Republicans, that puts their total at 48.  But it will be hard for them to find 2 or 3 more seats.

Virginia (D+2.5) - One of the few races to show a trend similar to Obama's October, Tim Kaine is still polling a couple points higher than Barack Obama, which should keep this seat Democratic.

Missouri (D+3) - There has been just one poll taken since October 3rd in this close / insane senate race.  This makes no sense to me.  That one poll was performed by the usually Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports, and it showed an 8-point Claire McCaskill lead. 

Wisconsin (D+3) - The persistent lead by Tammy Baldwin continues (except for in one Marquette poll).

Connecticut (D+3) - Chris Murphy continues to lead Linda McMahon, though polling methodology seems to be all over the place as evidenced by the scatter in the thin lines below.

Massachusetts (D+3) - The trends are all positive for Elizabeth Warren right now.  If Romney pulls off an upset on November 6th, expect a lot of inconsolable Democrats to say "at least Elizabeth Warren won in Massachusetts!" as they cry into their soy lattes.   

If Republicans are to take control of the Senate, they will have to win at least two and probably three out of the five preceding races (Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Missouri).  Because they ain't winning any of the next four.

Ohio (D+8) - Sherrod Brown's got this thing on lock.  There has been no consistent movement in the polls since September and no single credible poll showing Josh Mandel with any sort of lead.

Florida (D+8.5) - Same story in Florida.  Barring a massive October surprise, Bill Nelson's lead is insurmountable two weeks out.

Pennsylvania (D+9) - Really weird polling in Pennsylvania.  In every other state, the polls are either in agreement with each other or scattered randomly over a large range.  In Pennsylvania there are two distinct groups of pollsters: those who show Tom Smith's support above 45% (maybe could win!) and those who show it below 39% (no chance).  There are no middle-ground pollsters.  Since there are just three pro-Smith pollsters (Rasmussen, Susquehanna, Quinnipiac) and five anti-Smith pollsters (PPP, Siena, Franklin & Marshall, Philadelphia Inquirer and Muhlenberg College sort of), the median poll lies in the anti-Smith camp. 

Michigan (D+10.5) - The Michigan senate seat has ceased to be on even crazy people's radar.


Mallory said...

This post is amazing. :) I love knowing other people who talk about things like the I-4 corridor and October surprises!

Steven said...

Thanks! Hey, your leaving Florida was another demograhic shift away from Democrats!