Although Election Day is nearly five months away, the vast number of state polling conducted in recent weeks makes it difficult to resist assessing the current lay of the land in the general campaign matchup between Barack Obama and John McCain as it stands today.
Nonpartisan polling organizations have conducted head-to-head matchup surveys of likely or registered voters in 34 states during the past month. This includes 18 battleground states, 4 traditionally ‘safe’ Democratic states, and 13 traditionally ‘safe’ Republican states.
Obama is currently winning the battle for the battlegrounds, leading McCain in 10 of these matchups (Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin). Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia would be considered ‘pick-ups’ as each of those states voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Obama leads by double digits in Maine (13 points), Oregon (10 points), and Washington (16 points).
McCain leads Obama in 5 states (Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, Nevada, and West Virginia). Only Michigan would be considered a true ‘pick-up’ for the GOP, as the Wolverine State voted Democratic for the last four presidential election cycles. McCain does not lead Obama by double digits in any of these states.
Pollsters measure the races in another 3 states as statistical ties: Missouri, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.
Obama is currently winning 3 of the 4 ‘safe’ Democratic states surveyed during the past month by wide margins: California by 17 points, Massachusetts by 13 points, and New York by 19 points. However, a late May Rasmussen poll of likely voters in Connecuticut staked Obama to just a 47 to 44 percent lead, within the poll’s margin of error. Remember, McCain not only won the 2008 GOP primary in Connecticut, but also back in 2000—one of his few victories over George W. Bush during his first presidential campaign.
McCain is leading Obama in all 13 ‘safe’ Republican states surveyed during the past month, including 9 states by double-digits: Alabama (28 points), Arkansas (24 points), Arizona (11 points), Georgia (14 points), Kentucky (24 points), Kansas (10 points), Nebraska (28 points), Utah (35 points), and Wyoming (13 points). Pollsters measure McCain’s advantage more narrowly in Alaska (7 points), Mississippi (6 points), Montana (8 points), and North Carolina (8 points).
If the election were held today it would appear Obama has a modest advantage, although, in an election year considered by most pundits as “the Democrat’s to lose,” McCain is sitting in a fairly strong position.