Today's Polls: Grain Of Salt Edition

by Nate Silver | August 13, 2008

Yet another pollster has weighed in on Florida, and they have good news for John McCain. This time, it's InsiderAdvantage, which shows McCain with a 4 point lead. This is InsiderAdvantage's first poll of the state, and consists of a small sample size -- barely more than 400 people. Nevertheless, this is about where Florida feels like it should be. True, as the InsiderAdvantage write-up notes, Barack Obama has been investing a ton of advertising money into Florida. On the other hand, he's coming back from margins that consistently showed him 7 or 8 points behind earlier in the cycle -- and while McCain hasn't invested on the airwaves, Florida is the only state where he has an advantage on the ground, with more than 30 field offices open.

SurveyUSA has new polls out in North Carolina and Kentucky. The North Carolina result is McCain +4, a nominal decline from his 5-point lead last month, but essentially the same result we've seen in poll after poll of North Carolina for months and months. McCain's lead in Kentucky is 18 points -- a significant improvement from his 12-point margin in SurveyUSA's last poll in mid-June, but a long way behind some of his previous margins in the state, as SurveyUSA had shown McCain ahead by as many as 36 points earlier on.

The poll getting the most buzz today is in Alaska, where Hays Research Group shows Barack Obama ahead by 5. For the time being, however, I am not including this poll in our averages. Although the poll was published on the Hays website in full view of the public, the fine print says that it was paid for by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which qualifies as a Political Action Committee (as well as a union that endorsed Obama). I have e-mailed the pollster to clarify the origins of this poll -- however, for now, I am considering it an internal poll, and believe that it needs to be caveated significantly. For those of you who are desperate for some fresh numbers in Alaska, I did come across this poll from Ivan Moore, which had John McCain 2.4 points ahead of Obama as of mid-July.

Obama's overall win percentage has ticked upward a bit to 65.4 percent, its highest point in a couple of weeks, largely because Obama has held a pretty decent position in the national tracking polls for several days running now. But really, there's been very little movement in this race for nearly a full month.

--Nate Silver

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