Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is It 4 or 20 for McCain?

According to the polls at RealClearPolitics, it would appear to be good news for both Senators McCain and Obama in North Carolina, depending on which poll you believe.

For the McCain supporters, both history and the Research 2000 and Survey USA polls are worth noting. President Bush won North Carolina in 2000 and 2004 by 13 and 12 points respectively, and with Research 2000 showing a 17 point lead and Survey USA showing a 20 point advantage, McCain should believe that North Carolina will be a reliably Red Republican state at the presidential level in seven weeks.

For the Obama supporters, a trio of polls, taken around the same time, tell a different story: PPP shows a 4 point McCain lead, Civitas shows a 3 point McCain lead, and a just released poll by CNN gives McCain an statistically insignificant 1 point lead over Obama. Not seeing the internals of the CNN poll, we don't know how Obama is doing with several key groups, most importantly with whites in the Tar Heel state.

For Obama to win North Carolina, he needs to claim a higher percentage of white support than what other polls are showing. For example, in the Survey USA poll, only 26% of whites are supporting Obama. Even with a huge turnout of black voters, the senator from Illinois needs to break into the mid- to high -30s in order to claim North Carolina's electoral votes. While there's 48 days to do so, money and manpower will be critical to pulling himself up ten points among white voters.

PS--sorry for the delay in posting since July. It's been a hectic beginning of the school year here at Catawba, but I hope to be able to do some more analysis and posting now that we've got things going here on campus.