Tightening? That seems to be the question of the day. John McCain admits that he needs (and expects to have) the momentum on his side going into election day. The polls show that Obama’s big October spike seems to have plateaued. But the aforementioned tightening is not really in evidence with seven days to go. (Disclaimer: A lot can happen in 7 days; just read your bible.)
Says Pollster.com’s Mark Blumenthal: “We had what I believe is a new one-day record for new statewide poll releases (37), but if you are looking for evidence of ‘tightening’ you won’t find it here. Fifteen of today’s polls represented updates from the same pollster from previous tracks conducted earlier in October: Eight (8) of the 15 showed a nominal shift in Obama’s direction, 7 in McCain’s direction and 1 showed no change in margin.”
Says FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver (last night): “There is a lot of discussion going on about whether the national race is tightening; our model concludes that it is not.”
UNC’s James Stimson charts a flat line. He notes, “Despite all that daily variation, Barack Obama has held a lead over John McCain of about 7 points over more than a month with virtually no daily variation. In my metric of the two-party vote division, the Obama lead of about 53.5 is just locked between 53 and 54 day after day after day. The organizations that do really large samples are reporting the same fact, remarkable continuity of day to day estimates, as if the race has been frozen since late September. Tracking polls with smaller samples are reporting trends, back and forth, which, while entertaining, appear to be quite false.”
Gallup also charts lots of horizontals, with maybe a slight uptick for Obama.
The RCP Electoral Map is basically flat as well, with a comfortable cushion for Obama.