Today's Daily Kos Research 2000 tracking poll has Obama leading McCain 51-44. All trackers are data from three days to five days prior to posting, with the R2K numbers from today (yesterday's numbers in parentheses) and the other trackers from yesterday (previous day's data). Data is updated as new information becomes available. Daily posting is approximately 7:30 am EDT. LV=likely voter, RV=registered voter.
Nate Silver (fivethirtyeight.com) wrote up a tracking poll primer covering the eight available trackers. It includes sample size, time of publication and quirks, as well as Nate's opinion of the trackers. Recommended.
Obama McCain MoE +/- RV/LV
Research 2000: 51 (51) 44 (45) 3 LV
Reuters/Zogby: 49 (50) 44 (43) 2.9 LV
Rasmussen: 51 (51) 46 (47) 2 LV
Diageo/Hotline: 51 (48) 44 (41) 3.4 LV
Gallup: 52 (52) 41 (41) 2 RV LV II is 52 (52) - 42 (43).
IBD/TIPP: 48 (48) 44 (44) 3.3 LV alternate link
ABC/WaPo: 53 (53) 44 (44) 3 LV
Battleground: 49 (49) 45 (46) 3.1 LV Doesn't publish weekends
Marist: 50 (49) 43 (44) 4.5 LV
On successive individual days in the R2K poll (different than the topline, which is a combined three day sample), Obama was up +5 Wed, +8 Thurs, and +9 Fri with a +5 Tues sample rolling off (rounding can take place.) The Obama video (33.6 million viewers) is reflected today, but not completely until Sunday. The last R2K poll of the election will be published
Here's the high sensitivity pollster.com tracker, showing a stable race:
The R2K internals show a good Obama few days for independents:
Here are some people who have made up their mind:
Much of McCain's strength is in one age demo and one region. Here is McCain's strongest demo (all other age groups are Obama's):
Here is McCain's strongest region (all others stable for Obama):
Likely voters are twice as apt to say John McCain has gone too far in criticizing Obama as to say Obama's crossed the line in taking on McCain.
It might be worth it for McCain if his criticisms were gaining traction -- but the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll suggests otherwise.
Slightly more likely voters see a bigger risk that McCain would create too few government regulations than that Obama would create too many -- one of McCain's lines of argument. And 54 percent see Obama as a "safe" choice for president, deflecting another McCain thrust.
On issues, Obama continues to lead in trust to handle the economy and taxes -- the latter especially unusual for a Democrat -- and they run about evenly, 49-46 percent, in trust to handle a crisis, another area in which McCain has struggled to gain greater leverage.
Simon Rosenberg, who has kindly linked to us, had a terrific post at HuffPo about what McCain has done wrong.
All About Sarah - It was her rise that lifted McCain, and with her collapse, came McCain's fall.
One of the main points the polls help define is Sarah Palin's disastrous presence.
Growing Doubts on Palin Take a Toll, Poll Finds
All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.
And Larry Eagleberger, one of her endorsers, thinks she ain't up to the job (even if he backpedals today.)
As the Huffington Post noted earlier, Eagleburger's endorsement of McCain is frequently cited by the Republican nominee. But clearly, the opinions of President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State were less welcome on the subject of Palin, whom Eagleburger had said was "of course" not "prepared to take over the reins of the presidency." Later, in his NPR interview, Eagleburger said, "Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be, she will be [pause] adequate."
Rosenberg lists other important points, but the NY Times story focused on Palin for a good reason. She's a major, major reason why McCain is losing.
The bottom line is that with 3 days before election day, it seems pretty clear that McCain won't catch Obama in the national polls.
Charles Franklin looks at those trackers for 'house effect', the built in tendency to lean one way or the other, when compared to the pollster.com mean. Of course, only the election will show where the 'right' answer lies. However, it's a terrific companion to Nate Silver's tracker guide in sorting out how to read the trackers.
In this graph, the Gallup LV2 is the traditional 2004 model, the LV1 the extended model that most people favor. The horizontal blue line shows how variable each poll is (Rasmussen has a small blue line as does Gallup RV). Note that 'unvarying' does not mean the poll is 'correct'.
Prof. Franklin also shows that following the trackers is comfortably similar to following the pollster.com averages (and one of the reasons we've felt good about looking at the trackers predominantly.)
Added (my favorite Prof. Franklin graph):
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