( – promoted by Colorado Pols)
For the third time this election, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has garnered the support of 50% of registered voters according to the Gallup daily tracking poll. 42% said they would vote for Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Historically this is significant, as Brain Schaffner of Pollster.com notes:
Using Gallup’s compendium of presidential trial heat polling since 1936, I counted 16 candidates who received 50% support or higher in an October Gallup poll. Hitting the 50% mark was a very good predictor of victory. Of those 16 candidates, just two failed to win the general election–Al Gore and Thomas Dewey.
Obama’s jump in the polls is widely seen as a reaction by voters to the current financial crisis.
In the daily tracking poll done by Gallup’s rival, Rasmussen, Obama has been enjoying a similarly solid lead. For the past nine days Senator Obama has been at 50-51% with McCain six points behind.
Of course, National polls get a good idea of the country’s overall sentiment regarding the candidates, but they don’t give us a clear Electoral College picture. For that we turn to
According to RCP’s estimation, Obama has 264 electoral votes to John McCain’s 163. This estimate leaves out the toss-up states of Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Assuming all of the states that are currently leaning Democratic stay that way, that means McCain would have to win every single toss-up state.
This may be quite sobering for some Republicans, but the light at the end of the tunnel is three-fold:
1. John McCain beat the odds, overcame a campaign that was on the verge on collapse, and won the primary/caucus contests to become the GOP nominee.
2. All of the states that RCP considers toss-ups voted for George W. Bush in the 2004 election.
3. It is not impossible, at this point, to chip away at Obama’s lead one day at a time. So far the campaign hasn’t exactly been friendly, but one of Obama’s biggest weaknesses–Reverend Jeremiah Wright–has not yet been used in attack ads by the McCain campaign. For many voters who considered themselves likely to vote for Sen. Obama in the primaries, it was enough to steer them to Hillary Clinton, and kept her in the race until the very end.
It wouldn’t be close if the election was held today, but McCain and Palin have 30 days to get their act together.