This update is going to be a little bit abbreviated, as I'm off to C-SPAN for an interview that will air between 8:45 and 9:30 eastern time. While a few more final polls will probably straggle in later this morning, we have seen what should be 99% of the final round of polls and our statewide estimates are not likely to change appreciably.
In the last 24 hours 23 logged a record 90 new statewide surveys, including the 50 statewide internet panel surveys released last night from (interests disclosed) our sponsor and parent company, YouGovPolimetrix. For the sake of a reasonably sized table, if nothing else, I have omitted the YouGov/Polimetrix state surveys from the table below, but they are now included in all of our charts and statewide estimates.
Thirty-one (31) of the new statewide surveys were tracking polls that updated results released previously by the same pollster since October 15. These recent trackers demonstrated no consistent trend: 11 showed nominal improvement for Obama, 14 showed nominal improvement for McCain and 6 showed no change in the margin separating the candidates.
Not suprisingly, the last round of new surveys were heavily concentrated in battleground states, including six new polls each in Florida and Ohio, four each in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Missouri and North Carolina and three new surveys in Virginia.
As is usually the case, the new polls had relatively little impact on individual trend estimates, although the nominal changes favored McCain in 15 states compared to Obama in 7.
The new surveys helped change our map classifications in two states. The six new surveys in Ohio had quite a spread -- from 7 point Obama lead on the Quinnipiac survey to 2 point McCain lead by Republican affiliated Strategic Vision -- but the four of the six showed margins of less than 2 points. Thus, the new surveys narrowed Obama's lead on our Ohio trend estimate to just over three points (49.4% to 46.3%), enough to shift the state from "lean" Obama to our toss-up classification.
The "narrowing" in Ohio looks a lot like the pattern discussed yesterday in Pennsylvania. Virtually all of the change on our trend estimate has been an increase in McCain's percentage, but Obama's numbers have remained flat and just shy of 50%.
Regular readers know that dividing line between "lean" and "toss-up" on are map is relatively arbitrary and based on a statistical formula that takes into account both the the margin and the average sample size in each state. It is worth considering that of the 13 final Ohio polls by each organization released in the last week, 10 showed Obama leading (by 2 to 9 points), 2 showed McCain leading (by 2 points on each) and 1 had a tied margin. So "toss-up" is probably too weak a characterization. Were I making a subjective assessment, I would consider Ohio leaning Obama.
Colorado also changed colors on our map this morning, from light blue "lean" to dark blue "strong" Obama. Even though the new Rasmussen poll shows Obama leading by just four points (51% to 47%), the new poll extends a trend that had been favoring Obama, and nudges Obama's Colorado margin up to to 7.6 points (51.9% to 44.3%) -- enough to shift to the strong category.
As for the national polls, most showed no evidence of a "narrowing" in McCain's favor. As compared to their most recent sample with non-overlapping field dates, 7 showed slight, nominal movement to Obama, three to McCain and two had unchanged margins. Our trend estimate ticks up to a 7.7 point advantage for Obama (51.9% to 44.2% as of this writing).