McCain Opens Small Lead in Virginia
It has been a while since I have taken a close look at what the polls are saying about the race for the White House in Virginia. I thought now, during this period of calm following conventions and big rallies for both sides, would be a good time to see where the Commonwealth is positioned.
Real Clear Politics shows a very small 2.6 point lead in Virginia for Senator McCain. Real Clear Politics uses an average of reputable polls to come up with their spread. The poll average comes from three different polling outfits from September 5th- September 9th. All three show McCain with a lead, and those taken later show his lead increasing. Here is the breakdown:
|Poll||Date||Sample||McCain (R)||Obama (D)||Spread|
|RCP Average||09/05 – 09/09||—||49.3||46.7||McCain +2.6|
|CNN/Time||09/07 – 09/09||920 RV||50||46||McCain +4|
|FOX News/Rasmussen||09/07 – 09/07||500 LV||49||47||McCain +2|
|SurveyUSA||09/05 – 09/07||717 LV||49||47||McCain +2|
There is good news and bad news for both camps in this data.
First for Obama: This is good news because Democrats have come very close to winning the White House in the last two election cycles, without coming close to winning Virginia. The fact that Obama is within striking distance this close to election day is an enormous plus. It also is positive because it shows that it is worth it for him to continue to devote resources to the fight here, after already investing a considerable amount. On the other side, the trend for camp Obama is not headed in the right direction. He has come very close to leading in multiple polls, but now it seems like those gains are receding. They could easily go the other way again, but it is often tough to reverse a trend twice.
Now for McCain: The good news is that he is still ahead and has yet to devote the time or money that Obama has. You may recall a post I put out a few days ago about the Obama camp emphasising the fact that the candidate has been to Virginia five times already since clinching the nomination. (He has also sent his wife and his running mate). McCain has had one rally and has spent far less on TV advertising and is still ahead. He obviously has benefited from his national momentum, but the fact that he has a lead here is still agains the odds. But on the negative side, the fact that McCain even has to fight for Virginia is a huge distraction. This state is normally a layup for the Republican nominee. While McCain has vowed to fight in Virginia, he would much rather be spending his time and money in states where he could steal Democratic electoral votes like New Hampshire or Pennsylvania. As much as Obama would love to win Virginia, he can win the election without it. There is no way McCain can win it all without winning here.
As Tim Kaine told me during the Democratic National Convention, if we learn that Virginia has gone to Obama the night of the election, we know the Democrats will win.