The University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato, who had an excellent record of predicting the past several elections and issues solid predictions in general, has now released a map showing his electoral college prediction for campaign 2008. Is this the map we’ll see after the early and election day votes are all counted?
Given Sabato’s track record, it is worth a close look:
Making any predictions are risky and campaign 2008 is shaping up as one where experts are holding their breaths. Is Obama really on track to win? Are there hidden factors such as race that will appear at the last minute? Will early voters and new voters appear in droves — people who might not have been reached by polling? Will 2008 be a replay of 1948 when then-certain-lower Democratic President Harry Truman beat certain-victor Republican Gov. Thomas Dewey?
Indeed, a look at today’s polls show trends and Obama ahead in most of them. But there are contradictions and partisans point to the poll that favors their candidate and downplay the others. MSNBC’s First Thoughts gives this summary:
New NBC/Mason-Dixon polls show the race in Pennsylvania to be a bit closer than other polls have suggested. Also, they have McCain ahead by just four points in his home state of Arizona. In Pennsylvania, Obama’s up 47%-43%; in Minnesota, he’s up 48%-40%; and in Arizona, it’s McCain 48%, Obama 44%. Meanwhile, here are some new CNN/Time polls: Obama’s up eight points in Colorado among likely voters (53%-45%); up four in Florida (51%-47%); and up nine points in Virginia (53%-44%). McCain, meanwhile, leads in Georgia (52%-47%) and Missouri (50%-48%). And a second batch of CNN/Time polls have McCain up eight points in Arizona (53%-46%), but Obama leading in Nevada (52%-45%), North Carolina (52%-46%), Ohio (51%-47%), and Pennsylvania (55%-43%).
And national polls? Here are some new ones. Tout the one that supports the candidate that makes your candidate seem to be ready to win:
UPDATE: A new CBS News/New York Times poll finds Obama maintaining a clear lead and points to early voting for a reason why late charges or events are unlikely to have much impact on the voting this year:
With less than one week until Election Day, Barack Obama maintains a clear lead over John McCain in the presidential race, a new CBS News/New York Times poll suggests. The Democratic nominee now leads his Republican rival by 11 percentage points, 52 percent to 41 percent, among likely voters nationwide.
A small percentage of these voters could still switch sides: The figures include both firm supporters of each candidate and those who lean towards one or the other but have not fully committed. These so-called leaners, however, make up less than 10 percent of each candidate’s support, a sign that significant movement in the campaign’s final days is not likely. Just five percent of the likely voters surveyed remain completely undecided.
Seventeen percent of registered voters say they have already voted, either by absentee ballot or at early voting sites, and this group favors Obama by a large margin. The 13 percent of registered voters casting ballots for the first time favor Obama over McCain by two-to-one.
CBS also finds that partisans of both sides are scared about what will happen if the candidate they oppose is elected — a sign that demonization worked well this year. Those most scared about Obama are older voters and Evangelical Christians. And then there’s this, which could have an impact on turnout:
An enthusiasm gap remains between the candidates: While roughly half of Obama’s supporters are excited about their candidate being elected, just 22 percent of McCain voters feel the same.
*The latest Washington Post-ABC News daily tracking poll has Obama holding steady with an 8 point lead:
Sen. John McCain has made no evident headway in separating himself from President Bush in the final days of the campaign, and that connection continues to be a drag on his candidacy.
According to the new Washington Post-ABC News daily tracking poll, Bush remains deeply unpopular, with a majority expressing strong disapproval for the job he’s doing as president. His approval rating now stands at 24 percent, just a point off his career low of 23 percent reached about three weeks ago, and still hovering near the all-time low in polling back to 1938.
Half of likely voters in the poll said McCain would mainly lead the country in the same direction as Bush, a figure that has held at about that level for nearly the entire campaign; 47 percent said he would lead in a new direction. It’s an association that cuts straight to the vote: Barack Obama’s support reaches 90 percent among those who believe McCain would continue in Bush’s direction, and more than three-quarters of such voters see McCain as a risky choice.
*Fox News has Obama only ahead by three now, with McCain making steady gains (but some are questioning whether Fox has changed its methodology).
*The latest Gallup Daily tracking poll has Obama holding steady with a 5 to 7 point lead.
Democrat Barack Obama has opened a 7-point lead over Republican rival John McCain with five days left in the race for the White House, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Thursday.
Obama leads McCain by 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in the three-day national tracking poll, building on his 5-point advantage on Wednesday. The telephone poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
It was the second consecutive day Obama’s lead has grown as the two-year presidential battle draws to a close. McCain is struggling to overtake Obama’s lead in every national opinion poll and in many battleground states.
Can there be an upset? Yes. And, it could be argued, given the fact that unlike 1948 we now have poll-mania, the old media and the new media all writing stories that overtly or covertly have as an assumption a McCain defeat, a McCain victory would probably dwarf Truman’s– and future politicians would likely say ad naseum how they plan to win in the end like John McCain. And post-election soul searching would take place in the Democratic party…