As noted here last night, John McCain has slightly narrowed Barack Obama's lead on our national trend estimate over the last week, but aside from the critical battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida (and possibly West Virginia), we do not see evidence of that trend at the state level. New polls logged yesterday show continuing progress for Obama in Wisconsin and Minnesota and a new poll in Montana nudges that state back into our toss-up category.
In addition to the seven new polls entered on Saturday, we logged another eight yesterday:
On Sunday, we added a new PPP survey in West Virginia that moved that state back to our "lean" McCain category. Yesterday, NBC released a new Mason-Dixon survey there, showing McCain leading by six points (47% to 41%), confirming the results from PPP and increasing McCain's margin there to nearly five percentage points (48.4% to 43.5%) on our trend estimate.
The new NBC/Mason-Dixon survey in Wisconsin , showing Obama leading McCain by 12 points (51% to 39%) nudged Obama's margin on our trend estimate to just over eight percentage points (50.7% to 42.6%), enough to shift Wisconsin to the "strong" Obama category.
Meanwhile, two new surveys in Minnesota from the Star Tribune and Daily Kos/Research 2000 show Obama solidifying his standing there. Obama's margin in Minnesota extends to seven points (50.5% to 43.5%), although the margins on the new polls are both "above trend."
Finally, in Montana, where we have seen just three surveys so far in October, the latest DailyKos/Research 2000 poll narrows McCain's lead on our trend estimate to just 3.7% (49.0% to 45.3%), just enough to move it into our yellow "toss-up" category.
Again, if you look at where are trend estimates are now as compared to where they a week ago, only Ohio, Florida, West Virginia and possibly Indiana show a narrowing Obama margin. All the other states show continuing progress for the Democrats, so the slightly narrowed national margin is something of a puzzle. As several readers have noted, the seven daily tracking polls have largely dominated the national trend over the last week. Since the daily trackers include three surveys (Ramussen, Battleground/GWU and Reuters/Zogby) that typically show narrower margins than the other national polls, their greater influence on the trend over the last week may help explain the narrowing. New data later this week will solve the puzzle.