Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In polls, Obama's blue line keeps going north, and McCain's red line south

It's easy to get carried away by polls when they seem to back up what you wish for. Still, I was struck by the uniform pattern of state polls trending for Obama, as compiled by Real Clear Politics. In 12 "battleground" states, polling charts show a consistent pattern -- Obama's blue line rising and McCain's red line falling. Sometimes the blue line flattens out, but since September, in all 12 states -- including GOP strongholds like North Carolina and Missouri -- it never yields to the red line. Even in Indiana, which Bush won by more than 20 percentage points in 2000 and 2004, the blue line is now on top, albeit slightly (46.8% to 46.5%).

To find battleground states that are still polling for Bush, you have to go to the West or Deep South, but in some of those -- Montana and Georgia in particular -- Obama's blue line grows stronger.

GOP bloggers like Hugh Hewitt cherry-pick the rare national poll that shows the presidential race tighter than the composite of state polls, which typically are based on more respondents. There are also the warnings, like this one aimed at the mainstream news media, that voters might "pull a Truman" on Nov. 4 and leave the polls looking like confetti on the convention floor the morning after.

There is still a week left in the campaign, and McCain and the GOP could unleash a multi-megaton accusation at Obama aimed at suddenly reversing the steady upward path of that blue line. After Bill Ayers and "spreading the wealth around," what might that be?

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