The current RCP averages show Barack Obama's average national opinion poll lead over Mitt Romney to be 3 points better than his net approval rating (+3.3 versus +0.3).
I think that this +3 number may be fairly stable for Obama net approval ratings close to 0 (as they have been for most of the last few months), and that it's a fairly encouraging number for Obama when compared with Bush-Kerry. It's certainly one that's worth following as the election campaign progresses.
I thought I'd do a quick state-by-state breakdown of where Obama did best and worst in the election in comparison with Kerry, to see where his areas of strength and weakness appear to be. I compared each state with Kerry's performance in 2004, and then listed them in descending order of Obama's performance. You may be surprised by some! I've noted the region according to the Census Bureau classification after each state: W (West), MW (MidWest), S (South), NE (North East)
New PPP polls are out in 4 key battleground states. The bad news is that 2 of the 3 where they've polled previously show some tightening (this is their first poll in PA). The good news is that Obama remains ahead in all 4.
Basic results (previous poll in brackets)
Pennsylvania: Obama +8
Virginia: Obama +6
Obama 52 (52)
McCain 46 (43)
Ohio: Obama +2
Obama 50 (51)
McCain 48 (44)
North Carolina: Obama +1
Obama 50 (49)
McCain 49 (48)
Full details here
The Times London is giving prominence today to a scoop about a bizarre attempt by Utah Republican congressman Chris Cannon and his brother-in-law Robert Fox to show that Obama's autobiography Dreams from my Father was in fact ghostwritten by William Ayers.
The full story is here.
According to the Times they last weekend contacted an Oxford Professor called Peter Millican, who has devised a program which can test whether works are by the same author, and asked him to compare Obama's autobiography with Ayers' Fugitive Days. They went as far as offering him $10,000 to run the tests, and sent him electronic copies of the two works.
Another day, another great batch of state polling for Obama. Even Ron Fournier couldn't spin this one positively for McCain. And remember this is the same pollster which got people jumping up and down with their national poll a week ago which showed McCain only -1 among LV despite being minus 10 among RV. No such problems this time round!
The full results are here
Florida O +2 (45-43)
North Carolina O +2 (48-46)
Ohio O +7 (48-41)
Virginia O +7 (49-42)
Pennsylvania O +12 (52-40)
Nevada O +12 (52-40)
Colorado O +9 (50-41)
New Hampshire O +18 (55-37)
538 don't have the polling commentary up yet but I've noticed that NM and VA are now both listed as "safe" Democrat, for the first time I believe.
This means they are now listing as safe - meaning >95% probability - all Kerry states except NH, plus the Bush 04 states of IA, NM, VA.
This is a total EV of 273.
Of these, VA is the "closest", with a projection of a +7.2% Obama win.
So VA is on course to be THE tipping point state which brings the election home for Obama.
Champagne is still on ice, but things are looking very good with a week to go.
In a new poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies October 21-23, Obama now leads McCain 52-40.
This compares with a 3% McCain lead when they last conducted a survey in August.
The paper's write-up states that the pollster is actually a "Republican polling firm", so if anything you would expect their numbers to skew towards McCain.
The internals suggest that Obama is killing McCain among independents - now leading by a massive 58-27, against just 36-34 in August.
With numbers like that you can start to see why McCain has virtually given up on Colorado.
So, looks like it's all coming down to PA - and yesterday's news didn't do McCain any favours there, either.
I'm basing this claim on the current data from the ever-excellent 538, plus a few other observations about the campaign.
538's most recent projection of the national vote share is Obama 51.8, McCain 46.8, or a +5 popular vote margin. I then compare with the current state-by-state projections to see what would happen if we see a uniform 5 percent swing to McCain, to make the popular vote exactly tied.
The result: Obama still wins the electoral college comfortably, picking up all the Kerry states + IA, NM, CO and VA, for an EV total of 286.
If McCain wins the popular vote by 0.4% he would pick up Colorado, but still lose the election 277-261.
Only if he gains a popular vote win of >1.2% would he pick up NM and VA and win the election.
However, there is good reason to believe that any swing towards McCain would NOT be uniform, and that Obama would do significantly better than McCain in the key battleground states. The reasons: money and organisation.
The latest chart from pollster.com estimates Obama's lead in PA at no less than 15.3% (53.8 to 38.5).
To give a sense of how wild it looks for McCain to be heavily targetting this state at this stage of the election, let's compare Red states with comparable or lower leads.
We all know that Obama is either targetting or believes he has already effectively won the following Bush 2004 states:
IA, NM, CO, VA, FL, NV, OH, NC, MO, IN.
But a look at the pollster.com site quickly shows that there are many more Bush 04 states which in terms of the polling gap look more winnable for Obama than PA appears to be for McCain.
Fox News may be doing its usual spiteful best to act as cheerleader for the Republican party, but in one respect at least it is already acknowledging that McCain is losing this race.
Every Monday for the past few weeks they have released polling out of 5 "battleground" states. But each week that list has changed: and the names which have entered and disappeared from it indicate more clearly than any commentary which way the tide is flowing.
September 22: MI, PA, VA, FL, OH
September 29: PA, CO, VA, FL, OH
October 6: CO, VA, FL, OH, MO
October 13*: VA, FL, OH, MO, NC
* - not released yet but the list appears in the daily tracker
Rasmussen has three new polls out today, all showing movement towards Obama.
Obama 54 (51)
McCain 41 (43) Previous poll: 9/28
Obama 54 (48)
McCain 44 (46) Previous poll: 9/15
Obama 40 (33)
McCain 55 (64) Previous poll: 9/9
The people trying to guess the election result over at Intrade don't seem too impressed with the Palin performance in the VP debate - so far today Obama has surged over 7% to a new record high of over 72% (that's his probability of winning the election for those of you unfamiliar with it).
Meanwhile McCain has fallen below 30% for the first time.
Usually the moves are relatively sedate, not more than 1 or 2% per day in either direction - looks like the dam is now breaking as more and more people become convinced Obama will win and want to pile in while there's still some kind of price on offer.
They have now added an electoral map on the front page, so you can bookmark the site and see at a glance what the current forecast is based on the state-by-state betting. The current score is 338-200 Obama.