Nate Silver

I'm not sure that the McCain campaign has a winning campaign hand to play on the economy. But consider this. Between the three debates thus far, the Obama-Biden ticket has used the phrase "middle class" 21 times**. McCain-Palin have used it twice.

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I'm short on time today, so let's keep this on point: John McCain is in deep trouble. In spite of some incremental gains that McCain has made in some of the national tracking polls, the set of state polling that follows is so strong for Obama that he continues to hit record marks in all three of our projection metrics. We are now projecting Obama to win the election 90.5 percent of the time, with an average of 346.8 electoral votes, and a 5.4-point margin in the national popular vote.There simply isn't any good news in here for John McCain (all right, he's kicking butt in Oklahoma).

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As the political world's focus shifts to the second presidential debate in Nashville, Barack Obama continues to expand his lead upon John McCain in all of our projection metrics, and now rates as almost a 9:1 favorte to win the election in November.Both state and national polls are contributing to this result.

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Are John McCain's negative attacks succeeding in eating into some of Barack Obama's support? They certainly aren't yet. In fact, Barack Obama has had perhaps his strongest individual polling day of the year:You can read these numbers as well as I can. Obama leads by 6 in North Carolina? 12 in Virginia? 7 in Florida? 3 in Missouri? Obviously, I am cherrypicking some of the more pro-Obama results here ...

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Barack Obama has risen to his highest-ever level in both our electoral college and popular vote projections, principally on the strength of his commanding lead in the national tracking polls.

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With Sarah Palin's attack yesterday on Barack Obama's patriotism and his ties to former Weather Underground ringleader William Ayers, the McCain campaign has left little doubt about in which direction it intends to head over the final month of the campaign.

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With the first set of tracking polls out to incorporate at least one full day of post-debate interviewing, there is no indication that John McCain and Sarah Palin have made progress in closing their gap with Barack Obama. In fact, Obama ticked upward in three of the four national tracking polls that published today, although he lost a point in Rasmussen.

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Another day, another good set of polling for Barack Obama -- with one important exception:Nevada looks good for Obama. New Hampshire looks really good for him -- and that was one of those states where we hadn't shown much bounce for him before. Yet another North Carolina poll shows Obama ahead; for the first time, we now have him as a (very, very slight) favorite in the state.

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As with the Obama-McCain debate last Friday, the vast majority of the insta-polls went to the Democratic ticket. Biden won the CBS poll of undecideds 46-21, and the CNN poll of debate watchers 51-36. Independents in the large MediaCurves focus group panel went for Biden about 2:1.The internals, however, weren't nearly as bad for Palin as the topline results.

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Let's just start things off with a nice, big chart: You should notice a couple of new features. Firstly, I am now listing the national polls that have come out since the last update -- today there are a ton of them -- just so that we can be more fully transparent. Also, we now have a way to indicate tracking polls: they are designated with a slash. So, for instance, a "3000/3" (as for the Rasmussen Tracker) means that the poll included a rolling sample of 3,000 voters conducted over a 3-day window.Obviously, there are a lot of great numbers for Obama today.

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