Saturday, November 1, 2008

State of the Race: Ohio Polling

It's been too long since I've dedicated a post to this blog's main topic: the Ohio vote. Ohio was in 2000 and 2004 a major decider in the national election. It was close both times and would have changed the outcome had it gone to the Democrats. Because of the massive national poll movement towards Obama though and his unconventional electoral strategy, Ohio is much less of a hinge this time around: Obama can win without it. Indeed, venerable poll analyst Nate Silver of has Obama winning 78% of his election scenarios with the pre-assumtion of Ohio being in McCain's column. Sorry buckeyes: you're probably not the deciders this time.

If Ohio was so important in 2000 and especially 2004, why is it less so this time? The answer lies in Obama's groundbreaking fundraising and "50-state strategy". Obama has been investing heavily in alternate electoral strategies. And with his coffers he can afford to do so. Even if McCain gets back the 2004 Bush states with small Obama leads currently (North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, North Dakota), McCain would still need to win Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Nevada to win. That's a tall order. So take solace buckeyes: if you give an Obama an early win on election night, you could still "select" our next president!

This graph from Pollster shows the trendlines for the Ohio polls. Interestingly the projected 7-point or so gap between Obama and McCain is right on par with the national polling numbers. I guess that speaks to Ohio's reputation as a bellwether. Considering how crappy McCain's endgame strategy on the ground appears to be, the Republicans will need a voter disenfranchisement system even better than 2004's. And now Ohio's Secretary of State is a Democrat. That'll make things harder. Without even that being topped, McCain needs a big external surprise in the next 3 days. Barring that, we'll be calling him President Obama.

But most of all? Remember to VOTE!!!

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