A quick and easy round-up of the state of play in the US election. See the state-by-state polls, read the writing on the wall

Thought I'd take you for a Friday afternoon tour of the US poll sites, because it's hard to believe what we're seeing in the presidential race. Even a month ago it looked tight. Today, it's merely a question of how much McCain will lose by.

As Steve Lombardo writes on pollster.com, "if the election were held today John McCain would lose by 7.7 points. If the current trend is projected to Election Day he loses by double digits". Barack Obama's poll surge of the past three weeks seems to have flattened out this week, but that still leaves McCain well behind.

To be honest, despite the fact so many New Zealand media outlets keep reporting the national polls, they're largely meaningless in this home-stretch. As Al Gore will tell you, winning the presidency is all about the electoral college; that is, the 538 representatives who actually elect the president (on behalf of their states). In short, it's the vote in each state that counts, not national percentages.

And boy oh boy what a picture the states are painting. Here's what the main US polling websites are projecting:

fivethirtyeight.com: Obama 344, McCain 197 (no toss ups)

pollster.com: Obama 306, McCain 157, Toss Up 75

realclearpolitics.com: Obama 306, McCain 157, Toss Up 75

Slate's polltracker '08's has the same message. Obama will have something like double the electoral college votes of his rival. It's astounding where the support is coming from. Virginia and Indiana haven't voted Democrat in 40 years. Yet every one of the dozen polls taken in October have Obama ahead in Virginia and in Indiana it's a tie. Iowa and Minnesota and Michigan and Pennsylvania were said to be battleground states just a few months ago. They're now solidly Obama. Missouri and North Carolina were meant to be safely for McCain, yet Obama is ahead on polling averages. Selecting Arizonian John McCain was supposed to bolster the Republicans in the mountain and desert states. Yet Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada are all neck and neck or leaning Obama.

According to the New York Times, Obama is even ahead with those earning over $50,000 p.a, married women, and white Catholics, all groups that were central to George Bush's win in 2004.

Look at these October 19-22 results from what some are calling the Big Ten States:

Obama 61 (+5 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 32 (-8)


Obama 51 (+8 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 41 (-6)


Obama 52 (+7 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 39 (-6)


Obama 58 (+10 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 36 (-8)

Obama 57 (+10 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 38 (-7)


Obama 53 (+7 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 41 (-4)


Obama 52 (+7 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 41 (-4)


Obama 53 (+8 vs. last poll Sept 14-17)
McCain 40 (-4)

These are polls to amaze. They talk of a landslie. But hey, it's not a done deal yet. McCain will lose, but maybe a momentum could shift late in a race and tighten things up. I wouldn't count on it though.


PS One reason for the Republicans' slide has been Sarah Palin. Check out this piece by Jonathan Raban, recommended by a community member.

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