Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Red gets redder

September 16th, 2008, 9:53am by Sam Wang


Today on Pollster.com, Charles Franklin has an interesting graph detailing where John McCain’s post-convention bounce occurred. It illuminates why McCain was up by more in national polls (2%) than he appeared to be in the Electoral College (basically a tie).

BluesRedsPostRNC.png

(click for larger version)

As I mentioned before, the shift to a McCain lead of 2% was not matched in his state poll-based electoral vote performance. If the bounce had been distributed uniformly across states, McCain would have gotten into >300 EV territory. Instead, today he’s at 265 EV. The reason appears to be that his bounce is disproportionally concentrated in his safe states. He also got a significant bounce in battleground states, but it wasn’t quite as large.

Let’s review again when the game-shifting events have occurred.

History of electoral votes for Obama since April 1

Since May, major shifts have coincided with:

  • Hillary Clinton’s withdrawal from the race: Obama +70 EV
  • McCain’s “Celebrity” and other ads in August: McCain +40 EV
  • McCain’s houses remark and the “Seven” ad: Obama +15 EV (terminated by conventions)
  • The Republican convention, starring Sarah Palin: McCain +30 EV

The last shift seems to have stabilized. It’s not a moment too soon: now we have another wave of events to consider. Tracking polls (Gallup, Research 2000, Diageo/Hotline) have shown movement toward Obama. The problems on Wall Street have temporarily crowded out the usual frivolous issues loved by the press. And McCain is hitting six morning television shows today. There are ponies in here somewhere – for somebody.

Tags: 2008 Election

5 Comments so far ↓

  • vader

    I am never sure if Palin was intended to get the Hillary voters or the hard right conservative vote or both.

    I think both, but she is incomparable with most Hillary voters but she did get the hard right conservative vote however she will(IMHO) alienate the independents. When the final story is written, McCain got the voters her would have gotten anyway, they showed up in the polls, but otherwise he lost independents and solidified Obama’s voters.

    Pollwise, his polling numbers from the Palin selection reflects the voters who would have voted for him anyway declaring early instead of waiting for election day. This will help Obama know what the real opposition is rather than it being discovered later.

    The other thing is the drip drip of bad info which will also affect the independent votes

  • Paige

    McCain’s temper on one of the morning shows, Fiorina’s “Palin couldn’t run HP” gaffe, and the force of which all democrats have come out today united on the Economic issues and why they and Obama understand it….expect a big (Obam + 3-4 by?) jump to Obama over the coming days.

  • Independent

    It’s interesting that Franklin’s article is titled “McCain Gains not Limited to Red States.” Although Franklin’s conclusions are not incompatible with yours, the emphasis is clearly different. Looking at the graph, I’m inclined to agree with your “Red Gets Redder” message.

  • Max Neiman

    Not only has the national conversation for now switched to the economy, it’s worth noting that the Pakistanis are now threatening American forces if they intervene without permission to attack Taliban forces that have refuge in Pakistani territory. So any serious discussion of issues should be turning folks back to the war and the economy in ways that ought to benefit Obama. Biden, Obama, and McCain have been fairly visible all day. No Palin sitings today apparently, except to point out that she’s not cooperating with the Troopergate investigation and, of course, she’s accusing the investigation of being run by Obama “operatives.” You have admire, or at least be amazed by, her audacity. So there should be some positive shifting back to Obama over the next few days, particularly if Biden and Obama strive to be visible and accessible to the press. It is fascinating, though, to see how much less economic malaise seems to harm the party in power, relatively speaking, when compared to the past. So much depends on whether the press tells it like it is, rather than be cowed by Democrats or Republicans into some nondescript, neutral sounding diagnosis. The press seems to think that partisans will lay off if journalists become antiseptically “objective.” But sometimes the facts, if perceived accurately and conveyed with force when they are important, cannot but help one side over the other. Naturally the disadvantaged partisans will yell foul play and accuse journalists of bias. The fact is that the dominant philosophy governing business regulation for the past 25 years has been that of the conservatives and the Republican Party, and, understandably, they don’t want to own it in the face of collapsing financial markets and a deteriorating American economy. If that story actually sunk in, the shift to Obama might look more like a wave than an “oozing.”

  • MantisMKE

    We may find that you need to ad “Fundamentals” to your list of game changing events. The fact that McCain said that, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” in a national speech on the day Lehman Bros. goes under and Merrill Lynch is bought out AND the market drops 500 points; will be used to illustrate his utter lack of knowledge on the current economic situation in this country. As has been said many times “it’s the economy, stupid” and McCain just proved he IS economically stupid. Let’s see how the polls reflect this in a week.