Before Sunday, McCain was actually in a better poll position than many imagined. Not that he was in a good poll position, but it wasn't hopeless. The tracking poll range was about a 2 to 9 point lead for Obama, which was actually the final ranges for Bush against Gore. As we know Gore ended up winning the popular vote, and about half the country is convinced he won the electoral vote as well. There was also a good case for McCain getting the lion's share of the undecideds, given their demographic makeup and the fact that Obama had spent three quarters of a billion dollars and had still not won them over. Add into that the fact that the difference between the 2-point poll and the 9-point poll appeared to be structural, having more to do with the model for likely voter turnout than simply arising from random variance, and you had at least a straight-faced argument for McCain winning.
Sunday night, that changed. All the the tracking polls moved toward Obama. Even IBD and Battleground, the two polls whose models seemed to be the most favorable toward McCain, shifted from 2-point races to 4- or 5-point races. At that point, even under the best-case McCain turnout scenario, it became much harder to argue that undecideds and error margins could result in a McCain electoral win.
At that point the only hope was that this would be a one-day blip. That's part of the reason that I've held off doing electoral college projections -- I wanted to see what the trackers did today.
I'll tell you, it ain't pretty. Zogby has gone from an 8-point Obama lead to a 13.5-point Obama lead. IBD/TIPP went from O+4.5% to O+7%. Given that tracking polls are rolling averages, and are therefore "sticky," the move is probably even more pronounced than we are seeing. In other words, undecideds seem to be breaking heavily for Obama.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
A post entitled "Ugh" from a conservative poll tracking site is always a good thing for us: