Although Ted Stevens holds a small lead in Alaska and is the favorite to retain his seat, the outcome is not as inevitable as it might appear to be. Stevens currently holds a lead of 3,353 votes, or about 1.5 percent of the votes tallied so far. But, there are quite a large number of ballots yet to count. According to Roll Call, these include "at least 40,000 absentee ballot, 9,000 early voting ballots, and an undetermined number of questionable ballots".Indeed, it seems possible that the number of "questionable" ballots could be quite high.
It's Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, Election Day in America. The last polls have straggled in, and show little sign of mercy for John McCain. Barack Obama appears poised for a decisive electoral victory.Our model projects that Obama will win all states won by John Kerry in 2004, in addition to Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, Florida and North Carolina, while narrowly losing Missouri and Indiana. These states total 353 electoral votes.
Oh, let me count the ways. Almost all of this, by the way, is lifted from Mark Bluemthnal's outstanding Exit Poll FAQ. For the long version, see over there.1. Exit polls have a much larger intrinsic margin for error than regular polls. This is because of what are known as cluster sampling techniques. Exit polls are not conducted at all precincts, but only at some fraction thereof.
With fewer than six hours until voting begins in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the national polling picture has cleared up considerably. Barack Obama is on the verge of a victory, perhaps a decisive victory, in the race for the White House.The national polls have all consolidated into a range of roughly Obama +7. That is right about where our model sees the race as well, giving Obama a 6.8 point advantage in its composite of state and national polling.
Barack Obama's position has become somewhat stronger since our update this afternoon. We now have him with a 5.8 point lead in the national popular vote, and winning the election 96.3 percent of the time. Earlier today, those figures were 5.4 and 93.7, respectively.I continue to find a hair's worth of tightening on balance in the state-by-state polls -- even as Obama's position in the national trackers seems to be roughly as strong as it has ever been.
These are Barack Obama's leads in the likely voter models presently included in the Real Clear Politics average, plus the Research 2000 poll which they arbitrarily exclude.The polls in the Cingular-y orange color include cellphones in their samples; the polls in gray do not. The cellphone polls have Obama ahead by an average of 9.4 points; the landline-only polls, 5.1 points.I did a radio hit the other afternoon with Mark DeCamillo of California's vaunted Field Poll, which does include cellphones in their samples.
Polls conducted since our update last evening suggest some tightening toward John McCain, but he sits well behind both nationwide and in many key battleground states and remains a long-shot to win the election.The good news for McCain? SurveyUSA has become the latest pollster to show the race tightening in Pennslyvania, now giving Barack Obama a 7-point lead after he'd been in the mid-double digits at various points in October. The Muhlenberg/Morning Call tracker has also continued to tighten, also settling on that 7-point number.SurveyUSA also has Virginia tightening a bit to 4 points.
The new set of battleground state polling from Mason-Dixon provides a terrific working example of what we call "house effects" -- a poll's consistent tendency to lean toward one candidate or another.
Tonight on MSNBC with David Shuster, I referred to Pennsylvania as being "in play". I've also implied similar things in the polling threads over the past couple of days. Since we are showing John McCain as having only about a 2 percent chance to win Pennsylvania, I've had a couple of readers write in to ask whether I'm contradicting myself.
This is beginning to look like a five-state election. Those states are Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada. Essentially all relevant electoral scenarios involve some combination of these five states.I should caution that by far the most likely scenario is that Obama wins some relatively decisive victory of anywhere from 3-12 points in the popular vote. If Obama wins the popular vote by anything in this range, he will find plenty of blue territory, accumulating somewhere between 300-400 electoral votes.