Obama Electoral Lead Widens as National Lead Shrinks

Radley Balko notes a “strange dichotomy” in the election polls:  Obama’s lead in the national head-to-head polls is narrowing at the same time his Electoral College numbers based on state-by-state polls is widening.

Sure enough, that’s the case.   Here’s the RealClearPolitics snapshot:

Here’s the current Electoral College map from electoralvote.com, which has the race at Obama 320 – McCain 204  – Ties 14:

electoral-vote.com  July 15, 2008

How to explain the difference?   Radley argues that it’s the Bob Barr factor.

Barr isn’t yet mentioned in many of the national polls. But in state polls, he’s consistently pulling in five percent or more, and it seems to be coming mostly from McCain. My colleague Dave Weigel—who follows this stuff more closely than I do— thinks it’s too early to give Barr that much credit. He may be right. But for the moment, Barr’s hurting McCain. If McCain’s spending money in Texas or North Carolina after Labor Day, this is going to be a bloodbath. Of course, that kind of showing from Barr would also force the GOP to pay more heed to its neglected limited government wing, and less to its David Brooks faction.  So that would in general be a pretty good thing.

I tend to agree with Dave and Mark Blumenthal on this one.  Polling, especially early polling, for third party candidates is always vastly overstated.  Plus, Ralph Nader’s running, too, and will likely offset Barr in any case.

And, as always, the usual caveats apply.  The same map for July 15, 2004?  Kerry 322, Bush 205.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jim Peterson says:

    Barr will hopefully force McCain to pick Sanford or Palin as VP. Win or lose in November, the libertarian Republicans will take over the party as they must.

    Socons are already sitting in the back of the bus behaving obediently (as they must because they are hostages to the fake abortion issue – the issue used by the oligarchy to pretend we have two parties running the country now).

  2. Triumph says:

    Plus, Ralph Nader’s running, too, and will likely offset Barr in any case.

    Nader will be lucky to get on the ballot in most states given that he isn’t running on a party line. Barr has already secured access in 30 states and will likely be on the ballot in 48.

    Even if Nader gets on the ballot in significant states, the loony left already has its standard bearer, Hussein Osama, on the ballot so they are unlikely to jump to Crazy Ralph.

    McCain is basically a liberal himself, so Barr offers a real alternative.

  3. Chris says:

    Barr 294, Nader 230.

    Watch this space.

  4. Richard Gardner says:

    Plus, Ralph Nader’s running, too

    Don’t forget the Imperial ex-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney running on the Green ticket. She can get the activist vote.

  5. Grewgills says:

    Plus, Ralph Nader’s running, too

    Don’t forget the Imperial ex-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney running on the Green ticket. She can get the activist vote.

    The combined Nader and Mckinney vote will not exceed 0.5% nationally nor will it exceed 2% in any state. I could see Barr picking up 3-5% in several states. The former will have no impact. The latter might impact a couple of tight races, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  6. fester says:

    James — good post but I think you are missing it on the Barr-Nader comparison. The Left has already had the great pleasure of shooting itself in the foot with a third party candidate. The Right has not done that in a couple of generations.

    I have a hard time seeing Nadar getting on the ballot in many states as I know Democrats will actively challenge every damn signature he submits and knock out most of them.

    I participated in that effort in 2004 for Pennsylvania, and it was a bad joke. Nader saw 75% knock out rates in Philadelphia and 65%+ in Pittsburgh. His campaign experienced 50% + knock out rates throughout the state.

    I saw the Nader signature collectors near my office last week, and they still don’t know what they are doing. They are not asking people if they are registered to vote, they are not asking them to actually fill out the form completely (just sign and write your name is what they are doing) and I know they are getting duplicate signatures as I saw one individual sign a petition at my bus stop, and then sign the same damn petition 150 yards later near my coffee shop. The QA sucks. I severely doubt he’ll be on the ballot.