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Obama vs. McCain: Five Months Out

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Although Election Day is nearly five months away, the vast number of state polling conducted in recent weeks makes it difficult to resist assessing the current lay of the land in the general campaign matchup between Barack Obama and John McCain as it stands today.

Nonpartisan polling organizations have conducted head-to-head matchup surveys of likely or registered voters in 34 states during the past month. This includes 18 battleground states, 4 traditionally 'safe' Democratic states, and 13 traditionally 'safe' Republican states.

Obama is currently winning the battle for the battlegrounds, leading McCain in 10 of these matchups (Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin). Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia would be considered 'pick-ups' as each of those states voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Obama leads by double digits in Maine (13 points), Oregon (10 points), and Washington (16 points).

McCain leads Obama in 5 states (Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, Nevada, and West Virginia). Only Michigan would be considered a true 'pick-up' for the GOP, as the Wolverine State voted Democratic for the last four presidential election cycles. McCain does not lead Obama by double digits in any of these states.

Pollsters measure the races in another 3 states as statistical ties: Missouri, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.

Obama is currently winning 3 of the 4 'safe' Democratic states surveyed during the past month by wide margins: California by 17 points, Massachusetts by 13 points, and New York by 19 points. However, a late May Rasmussen poll of likely voters in Connecuticut staked Obama to just a 47 to 44 percent lead, within the poll's margin of error. Remember, McCain not only won the 2008 GOP primary in Connecticut, but also back in 2000—one of his few victories over George W. Bush during his first presidential campaign.

McCain is leading Obama in all 13 'safe' Republican states surveyed during the past month, including 9 states by double-digits: Alabama (28 points), Arkansas (24 points), Arizona (11 points), Georgia (14 points), Kentucky (24 points), Kansas (10 points), Nebraska (28 points), Utah (35 points), and Wyoming (13 points). Pollsters measure McCain's advantage more narrowly in Alaska (7 points), Mississippi (6 points), Montana (8 points), and North Carolina (8 points).

If the election were held today it would appear Obama has a modest advantage, although, in an election year considered by most pundits as "the Democrat's to lose," McCain is sitting in a fairly strong position.

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1 Comment


  • "If the election were held today it would appear Obama has a modest advantage, although, in an election year considered by most pundits as "the Democrat's to lose," McCain is sitting in a fairly strong position."

    Yes, but Obama hasn't been the nominee for a week after a grueling primary contest. Now that the Democratic spotlight can be solely placed on Sen. Obama, I believe he will begin to gain even further support nationally. Furthermore, the country doesn't really know John McCain as he has laid low so far. Put the charismatic, energetic, Obama side by side with the dry, ill-tempered, McCain in a debate or town hall meeting and it will seal the deal for the Democrats in November.

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    Remains of the Data

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    The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

    Political Crumbs

    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


    Home Field Advantage?

    When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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