Monday, October 27, 2008

Tea leaves about who will win

Electoral today compares trends in the Electoral College during the 2004 cycle to trends in the Electoral College during the 2008 cycle. The comparison suggests that neither Bush nor Kerry dominated the Electoral College projections in 2004 the way that Obama has dominated them this year.

Gallup observes that in the past 14 elections, that is, the elections between 1952 and 2004, the candidate who leads in the Gallup poll a week prior to the election wins the popular vote. There have been two exceptions to this rule:

1980: In 1980, Jimmy Carter led a week out by a total of 8 points among registered voters and 3 points among likely voters. Subsequent to this poll, Carter and Reagan debated, and Reagan moved into the lead among likely voters by 3 points.

2000: In 2000, the race narrowed the last several days, and Gore surged ahead to win the popular vote.

1980 is the only time that the candidate who trailed in the Gallup poll a week out actually emerged as the winner of the presidential election. Gallup concludes:
With only one week left in Campaign 2008, history is on the side of Barack Obama. It would be unusual -- although not unprecedented -- to see his recent 7- to 9-point leads among registered voters and 4- to 7-point leads among traditional likely voters shrink enough between now and the election to put the presidency within McCain's reach.
It doesn't matter. I'm nervous enough to work to make it so. Are you, too?


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