Friday, September 12, 2008

New Polling: Electoral Map Turning - Obama Danger Zones

New polling from Rasmussen is indicating that McCain is sustaining his bounce from the convention. Seems like a week of silly talk about pigs has been working. Democrats are starting to get worried. At the same time, Gallup continues to show their lead for McCain dissipating and the race tightening. So the slower to react Rasmussen and the faster to react Gallup and now converged on a three-point McCain lead, that Gallup suggests could continue to shrink a bit after Palin's interview with Gibson.

Here are the problems for Obama:

Pennsylvania and Washington, two states in the reliable Gore/Kerry column, are down to just a 2 point margin for Obama. If he loses either of those states he'll very likely lose the election. In Pennsylvania, the problem is probably racism (there's a good chance Biden can help with that). In Washington, it's attraction to to the Western, shootin' Palin - a stickier wicket. But right now he's holding on to these.

Even more dire, New Mexico, another Gore/Kerry state, is now in McCain's column. However, on the bright side, New Englanders hate Palin, and New Hampshire - a small state that lost the election for Gore, is now solidly in Obama's camp.

Obama essentially has two paths to winning the elections.

Recent polls in Ohio are all over the place: 5 point lead McCain, 1 point lead McCain, 5 point lead Obama. Obama could pursue a traditional Ohio strategy: win Ohio, take it all.

That's hard, though. Ohio is a tough nut: many black voters in Cleveland, many Evangelicals outside the cities, and the Obama-wary Appalachia line that tips the balance. Two months isn't much time.

The other strategy is the "western" strategy of keeping the Gore states (including Washington and Oregon) and winning two of these three: New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada. O is slightly ahead in Colorado, slightly behind in Nevada, and NM only recently flipped over to McCain.

No doubt, if Obama can win Ohio, he'll likely be able to get New Mexico, Washington, and Colorado. The real key will be: can he get NM back, win Colorado, and keep Washington and Pennsylvania even if he loses Ohio? To do that, he's got to convince voters that McCain/Palin is the wrong change, and tie McCalin to Bush. That's what you'll see him doing in the weeks to come.

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