MI-PRES: Race Narrows, Good News for McCain

Today, we look at MI. Only one brand new poll, but I’ll tease this into a full expose on MI polling.

First, Rasmussen has a new poll from Aug 7 (July 10):

McCain 45 (42)
Obama 49 (50)

To supplement that the most recent other poll is from PPP (D) on July 27 (Jun 22):

McCain 43 (39)
Obama 46 (48)

And the only other pollster active in MI in Quinnipiac with their most recent poll on July 22 (Jun 24):

McCain 42 (42)
Obama 46 (48)

I include all three for some trend analysis. Basically, they all show the MI race tightening from late June through today. From May through June, MI flipped from leaning McCain to a pretty strong Obama lead of 5-10 points. All 3 pollsters have it back within 5 now with neither candidate over 50%.

Second, the MI numbers are mirroring the national numbers. RCP’s MI Average is Obama +3.2. RCP’s National Average is Obama +3.6. So McCain does a little better in MI than he does nationally. In 2004, MI was 6 points to the left of the country when it went D +3 and the country went R +3. Having MI shift 5-6 points toward the GOP is good news indeed for Republicans in general and McCain specifically.

A necessary caveat belong here. There are many more (and more recent) national polls than MI polls. The MI average is based on polls from July through August. That isn’t exactly apples to apples. On the other hand, the one recent MI poll has it Obama +4 which is right in line with the national average on RCP. And even if MI hasn’t shifted a whole 6 points to be a perfect bellweather, it has shifted at least 3 or more points toward the GOP. This makes it more likely to be the decisive state. Fivethirtyeight rates OH and MI as the #1 and #2 most likely state to be decisive in the election based on some hardcore statistics. I think they are right on that point.

Finally, it seems increasingly likely that if McCain can pull even nationally, he is a favorite to win the electoral college. McCain is behind in most national polls. The 4 most recent polls were Obama +6, Obama +5, Obama +7, and Obama +6. The two tracking polls are Obama +1 and Obama +3. McCain still needs to shift 3-6% of the vote or win the undecided vote 3-1 or, more likely, shift a few points and win most of the undecided vote. But if McCain can make that national shift happen, he easily takes FL, OH, and VA. He likely wins CO. Obama still wins IA. NH, MI and NM become the real toss-up states. And McCain doesn’t have to win any of them to win. But if he wins MI then he has a big lead that allows him to lose VA and/or CO and/or NV without losing the election.