I am undertaking a meta-analysis of state polling data to calculate a current snapshot of the probable range of election outcomes. Like most of you, I have a strong bias about how I want the presidential election to turn out. However, I wanted a measure that did not have that bias. Read my preliminary findings here.
The upshot: if the election reflected recent state polls the probability of a Kerry win would be 98%. With 95% confidence I predict between 270 and 322 electoral votes.
However, some disclaimers: First, this analysis is not peer-reviewed. True meta-analysis involves sifting through a lot of methods. I didn't do this. Instead, I simply counted all polls equally, counting on the owner of RealClearPolitics to be fair about reporting data. This could clearly be refined. Second, this analysis is heavily dependent on just a few states. My analysis currently indicates that to win the election, Kerry must win Florida or Ohio. Third, because it is a snapshot, the high probability should not be a cause for complacency! Your comments and feedback are welcome.
I will try to update this information about once a week. If traffic is heavy then I will transfer it to a URL that I will list in my signature. If the probability for a Kerry win rails at 100 percent (it's nearly there now) then I may start handicapping other things like control of the Senate. Unfortunately, those data are much more scanty.
In summary, this analysis can potentially save you the trouble of fretting over any particular poll. However, if you are like me, you are addicted to reading each one as it comes out!