The race for the White House is tied? Not!

“The race for the White House is tied.” That’s how the Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll released today starts. It finds that Obama and McCain each get 43% of those polled. When ‘leaners’ are added, Obama holds a “statistically insignificant” 47% to 46% advantage.

Obama’s share of the decided vote has been narrowing over the last week or two, after widening from the beginning of June to its widest point at the end of that month. The narrowing is due in part to concerns about his shift to the centre, and the controversy generated by the defiant “Hillraisers”, some of whom have been actively campaigning against him.

At a deeper level, though, the inevitable shift to the centre that follows the move from the primaries to the genaral election has particular symbolic import for Obama. He’s the candidate who embodies change, remember, real change. Who eschews all of that cynical, Washington politics stuff. That’s his narrative. and, as Neil Stockley reminds us, you have to live your narrative.

Bob Beckel gives us a fine analysis about why the “Summer Obama” just can’t cut it with the “Winter Obama” supporters, based on his extraordinarily astute 14 year-old son’s observations. (See, politics is intuitive.) Recommended reading.

But relax. According to the very same Rasmussen release:

“The Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator shows now Obama leading in states with 210 Electoral College votes (EVs) while McCain leads in states with 171 votes. When leaners are included, it’s Obama 293, McCain 227.”

RealClearPolitics makes it 238 EVs to 163 with 137 toss up states. And those are the numbers that matter. Also, it’s still 117 days until the election anyway…

MyDD’s poll watcher has it 331 EVs to 207 when forced to include states one way or the other.

Political scientist Larry Sabato’s tally: “Totally safe and likely Obama states have 200 Electoral Votes (EVs). For McCain, the similar total is 174 EVs. Add in Iowa and New Mexico for Obama and he has 212 EVs. Let’s give McCain FL, MO, and NC, and he’s up to 227 EVs. If Obama carries CO, MI, PA, and WI, he’s already at 269 (one vote short), and would need just one of the following states: OH, NH, NV, and VA.”

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2 Responses to “The race for the White House is tied? Not!”

  1. Neil Says:

    Yes it’s not the number of votes that counts so much as where those votes are. It was one of the issues during the primary that was largely misunderstood. You might be interested in MyDD’s poll watcher at the top left of their home page –

    Obama was always going to lose some of his shine with a certain section of his left-wing supporters – I don’t think they ever really listened to what he was saying about his policies. He’s always been pretty centrist. Some people got caught up in the rhetorical battle between Hillary and Obama and came out thinking that there were fundamental differences when in reality they are much the same policy wise. And where there was difference – such as health – Obama was always going to adopt Clinton’s policies once he had the nomination sewn up.

    It’s always worth digging a bit deeper than the rhetoric to find out what an Obama presidency might look like –

    Neil, Thanks for the useful links (and comments). Have added MyDD’s pollwatcher to the o/s links for this blog — it’s such a great map as it shows the distribution of EVs weighting the states by by population.

  2. Neil Says:

    cheers, during the primaries they had Clinton vs McCain as well at the top right. She was always did better.

    A lot of the commentators there seem to be lawyers (much like over at TalkLeft), one of them recently went to work for the summer for the Washington law firm that represents the Obama campaign. I find them very informative and they tend to stay away from the usual pettiness.

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