The race has taken a turn for the tightening one week before Election Day. Polling over the past 24 hours suggests that Barack Obama's popular vote lead over John McCain has shrunk by 0.6 percentage points:
Obama's lead in the Electoral College remains solid and unchanged from the previous day:
However, the national electoral map shows more change over the past 24 hours than we have seen for some time. Colorado has rejoined the swing state club while Indiana's sojourn in the clube turned out to be rather brief indeed:
McCain has opened up a bit of space over Obama in Florida over the past 24 hours, although the race there does remain tight. He's also closed the gap in Nevada and is within striking distance in that state. Obama however continues to lead in the bellwether states of Missouri and Ohio:
Our regional attention today turns to what I call the Mid-America region highlighted in the map below. The states are, in descending order from north to south, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and spawling Texas:
This region had a strong populist streak in the late 19th century. The Populist candidate James Weaver finished either first or second in every state in the region in the 1892 presidential election (with the exception of Oklahoma which did not join the Union until 1912). This region was also fertile territory in 1896 for the populist Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan and both the Progressive candidate Teddy Roosevelt (except in Texas and Oklahoma) and the Socialist candidate ran well in the region in 1912.
Texas was an exception since it was, of course, part of the Confederacy while it and Oklahoma voted like Deep South states until 1952 when both states became Republican leaning. The other states of the region had turned solidly Republican by 1940. Texas is the only state in the region that has not voted Republican in every election since 1952 and the region has voted as a Republican bloc since 1980. This is likely to be the case in this election as well: