Although the pace of new statewide polls slowed a bit yesterday, the latest releases indicate no change in the overall status of the race for President. Obama and Biden continue to hold a strong lead McCain and Palin nationally and within the states necessary to win an electoral college majority.
We logged new surveys from four Southern states (Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama) as well as three from the midwest (Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa). All of these new statewide polls tracked results from September, and 7 of 8 showed net movement to the Democrats.
The impact of the new surveys on our trend estimates in the battleground states was mostly negligible. The new surveys slightly added to Obama's lead in Ohio and Wisconsin, moved it one tenth of a point in McCain's direction in Florida and changed the margin not at all in North Carolina, the state now showing the closest contest in the nation.
Obama's lead on the national trend estimate (+8.2 as of this writing) is as strong as we have seen this year, although roughly the same level logged at about this time last week. The new tracking polls (which we compare, in the first table below, to the previous non-overlapping release from each pollster) also show movement uniformly in the Democratic direction. Since this update captures the Saturday releases from DailyKos, Rasmussen and Reuters/Zogby, but the Friday releases from the rest, the dates are not entirely comparable. However, the data above suggest continued progress for the Obama-Biden ticket following Tuesday night's debate.
Meanwhile, things have shifted a bit in races for the Senate. A series of new surveys released over the last few days confirm a significant narrowing in Georgia, which we now classify as a toss-up. Republican Saxby Chambliss now leads Democratic challenger Jim Martin on our trend estimate by less than two percentage points (45.3% to 43.5%).
And in Kentucky, internal polls released by both campaigns disagree on the margin, but agree that incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell is winning less than 50% of the vote (48% on the poll from the Democrats, 47% on the poll by Republicans). Our trend estimate still gives McConnell enough of a lead (48.2% to 42.6%) to rate "lean" Republican status.