Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Too Close to Call

A slew of national and state polls released over the past 24 hours paint a picture of a presidential election race that has narrowed to the point where it is too close to call. My election forecasting model suggests that at the national level McCain has pulled to within 1.6 percentage points:

National Two Party Popular Vote Shares
In spite of the narrowing spread at the national level, the Electoral College vote remains unchanged:
Electoral College Vote Totals
As is often the case, Ohio appears to be the state on the knife edge. I have Obama up in Ohio by only 1 percentage point:
Ohio Two Party Vote Shares
Should McCain pull ahead in Ohio, its 20 electoral votes would give him 263 electoral votes, only 7 short of the 270 needed for election.

A poll taken in Indiana gave McCain a 6 percentage point lead in the state. This is a state into which that, according to press reports, the Obama campaign has poured a significant amount of advertising and organizational resources. The conventional wisdom has been that Indiana has the potential of falling into the Democratic column this year for the first time since 1964 (when Barach Obama was 2 years old). Indiana may yet vote Democratic but only if there is a landslide at the national level, and that doesn't seem to be in the cards at this point. My own model shows McCain with a larger lead than this:

Indiana Two Party Vote Shares
Obama's campaign has been pouring campaign resources into southern states such as North Carolina and Georgia with relatively little to show for it as well. Obama's 50-state campaign is beginning to look like Richard Nixon's 50-state campaign in 1960. Nixon ended up devoting far too many resources in too many states that he was destined to either win or lose easily; in the end, he lost the election by 100,000 popular votes and by slender margins in Illinois and Texas to lose the electoral college by 303 to 219 electoral votes.

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