« If You Can't Trust Fox News, Who Can You Trust? | Main | Bush's Disappearing Lead in the CBS News Poll »

Final Pre-election Poll Analysis

By Alan Abramowitz

1. The National Polls

In the 12 most recent national polls listed on pollingreport.com, among likely voters, Bush is leading in 7 polls, Kerry in 2, and 3 are tied. Average support was 48.2 percent for Bush, 46.7 percent for Kerry, and 0.8 percent for Nader. In the 7 polls that provide results for registered voters, however, Kerry is leading in 4, Bush in 1, and 2 are tied. Average support was 47.0 percent for Kerry, 46.7 percent for Bush, and 0.9 percent for Nader.

Bottom line: Even in the samples of likely voters, Bush is well below the 50 percent mark generally needed by an incumbent. In fact, when Gallup allocates the undecided vote, their likely voter sample goes from a 49-47 Bush lead to a 49-49 tie. In the broader samples of registered voters, Bush is actually trailing in most of the recent polls. With a very high turnout expected tomorrow, the registered voter samples are probably more representative of the actual electorate than the likely voter samples.

2. The Four Major Battleground States

In Florida, there have been 11 polls since October 15. Bush led in 5, Kerry led in 5, and 1 was tied. Average support was 47.5 percent for Bush, 46.5 percent for Kerry, and 1.2 percent for Nader. Turnout in the early voting has been enormous, with a clear advantage for Democrats. Expect a huge turnout tomorrow as well that will put this state in the Kerry column.

In Ohio, there have been 11 polls since October 15. Kerry led in 7, Bush led in 3, and 1 was tied. Average support was 47.2 percent for Bush and 48.3 percent for Kerry. Ralph Nader is not on the ballot. Turnout is going to be enormous and two federal judges ruled this morning that Republican political operatives cannot challenge voters in minority precincts. That was Karl Rove's last gasp in Ohio. The Buckeye state will go Democratic this year and no Republican has ever won a presidential election without carrying Ohio.

In Pennsylvania, there have been 11 polls since October 15. Kerry led in 8, Bush led in 2 and 1 was tied. Average support was 46.8 percent for Bush and 48.7 percent for Kerry. Ralph Nader is not on the ballot. Pennsylvania looks solid for Kerry.

Finally, in Michigan, there have been 5 polls since October 15, including only the most recent release of the Mitchell tracking poll. Kerry led in all 5 polls. Average support was 44.2 percent for Bush, 47.2 percent for Kerry, and 1.0 percent for Nader. Michigan also looks solid for Kerry.

Bottom line: George Bush's situation in all four of these key battleground states is dire. His support is well below 50 percent in all of them and he is currently trailing John Kerry in 3 of the 4. A clean sweep of all four states by John Kerry is a distinct possibility.

Comments

It looks like the polls are still over sampling republicans in the national tallies. The state polls seem to be more accurate. What about the Democracy Corp poll...any news yet. Also, the Repubs are still trying to go to the appellate court for the State of Ohio to appeal the decision by the lower court. Is there any news? Thanks for these wonderful and insightful updates on the Polls.

I share your analysis, but you are clearly following assuptions that undecideds do not swing to the incumbent. Are your sure, given the emphasis on terrorism/security that seems to trump the Iraq war and economic/health care issues.

You note that "no Republican has ever won a presidential election without carrying Ohio." Indeed, I have heard this factoid repeatedly in various media reports over the past few weeks. In most reports, there is an implied causal relationship between Repubs winning Ohio and winning the White House--a causal relationship I find questionable at best. (Why Ohio--i.e., what is the special relationship between Ohio and Repubs? I also note that I have heard no report concerning the relationship between Ohio--or any other state--and Dems winning the White House.)

Anyway, just wondering if you can shed some light on whether there is in your mind any such causal relationship, or whether this is more a curiosity than anything else.

Thanks for the insightful blog.

If Kerry carries three out of four of those battleground states or more, then even if he loses WI, he seems to be leading in Iowa, he would win. Is it true that Kerry might carry Arkansas? That seems unlikely.

On the Osama tape, which could determine the outcome of the election, it is curious how the right has had NO problem proclaiming without condemnation in the media and insinuating in the campaign that Osama favors Kerry. Krauthammer (in the Washington Post a few weeks ago) and now Safire (in the NY Times) and lately -- with a flap from the Kerry camp -- FOX have insisted WITHOUT EVIDENCE that this is so. But now there is evidence of the opposite but liberals are squeemish or dutifully cowed. (Kerry, unlike on flipflop, where both he and the mainstream media, including liberals, were all but silent for 5 months, only raising the issue AFTER the Republican Convention, obviously can't speak to this issue. On flipflop, Jonathan Chait devastated the spin, then went on to explain away press silence (none dare say 'justifying the lying') on the issue.
Here's a letter on the Osama tape that I sent to the NY Times. Like my last 50 letters, they surely won't print this one either. But progressives really should have forced the mainstream media to confront this issue:
To the editor:

William Safire's "Osama Casts His Vote" (op-ed, Nov 1) is remarkable for brazenly levelling the potent standard Republican charge that Al Qaeda released the tape to help Kerry, but then diverts attention to other subjects without making any substantive argument to back his point. Using a semantic method of argument, that bin Laden is "echoing" the Kerry campaign in suggesting that Bush is deceptive is itself a transparent sleight of hand -- as if bin Laden could not possibly have gotten that bizarre notion anywhere else. But then, to top off the argument, he claims, as do all Republican and many Democratic pundits, that the tape helps Bush substantially.

So bin Laden releases a tape certain to help Bush in order to help Kerry? The more powerful argument, meekly given short shrift in passing by Maureen Dowd in "Will Osama Help W.?" (op-ed Oct 31), that "some intelligence experts suggest" that Osama prefers Bush for the latter's foolish belligerence, fits the facts of the situation. Dowd also understates the case: Bush has failed to pursue Al Qaeda full force since the Afghanistan War, while also handing jihadism "Christmas" in the form of the Iraq war. Why wouldn't and doesn't bin Laden prefer Bush, a preference consistent with his actions?
------------------------------------------------
I know that this is an uncomfortable issue, but the playing field has been one-sided, and, as in flipflop, this could decide the election. Even if Kerry, in spite of all this and the distortions of the Matt Bai Oct 10 article that became the theme for the last three weeks of the Republican campaign, manages to win, in a truly level playing field, the Dems should have been able to take the White House and the Senate, and put the Repubs in danger of losing the House. But as things have gone, a reverse of 1994 just goes against the grain of the machine agenda.

There is a very real possibility that Bush will lose the EV and win the popular.

Oh, the Gods are nothing if not amused.

cheers.

Based on your comments I have told everyone I know that Kerry will win. I just hope it's not hopeful spin.

NO causal relationship with the Ohio thing. It's just a battleground state. 3 seperate influences, Farm Belt, Industrial Midwest, and appalachia. It is true that no Republican has won without carrying Ohio. But that just means Ohio is illustrative of trends in battleground states and not a causal agent.

As other states gain population and Ohio loses it, this relationship may break down.

As far as the 4 big states, 2 are blue (Michigan, Pennsylvania) The other two are up in the air (Ohio, FL) I'd like to see Kerry take em both early so I can go to bed.

No Republican has ever lost Ohio and won the Presidency likely for two very good reasons I can think of:

1. Ohio is worth 20 EV making it one of the biggest swing states. You really can't write off 20 EVs and have a lot of chance at the whole thing.

2. Ohio is a slightly right to the middle of the road state and any Republican not carrying it will also likley be loosing many other states.