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:
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.