The Plank

Today's Polls: Keep An Eye On Arkansas

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The polls take a back seat to tonight's debate, but let's give you the numbers and then
touch upon a couple of high-level themes:Still lots of blue in that table. But this was at least a day in which things did not appear to get any worse for John McCain.
McCain improved his position in three of the seven tracking polls;
Obama gained in one, and the other three were flat. In most of the
state polling -- like the set of CNN polls for instance -- the trends
were basically flat from the last time in the polls were in the field.
That's certainly better for McCain than Obama continuing to gain
ground. (By the way, we use the version of the CNN polling with
third-party candidates included, which is why our numbers may differ
from other sources).Meanwhile, our model is starting to make
some decisions about just where it thinks Obama's momentum is
manifesting itself. Specifically, it thinks that he's gained the most
in states with lots of white, working class Clinton voters -- a result
which might be intuited by the huge numbers that he's posting in
Pennsylvania, or the fact that there's now another West Virginia poll out that shows the race nearly tied.As
a result, we're now coloring West Virginia white (toss-up) rather than
pink (lean McCain). The model also thinks that Arkansas could be quite
interesting the next time that it gets polled. The flip side is that
Obama doesn't seem to have quite as much momentum in the Western half
of the country, where Clinton generally performed poorly during the
primaries.

--Nate Silver

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