Friday, September 19, 2008


No one can argue the fact the presidential race has swung heavily towards Barack Obama in the last week. To see just how much momentum we are talking about, its worth taking a look at the fine work the people of FiveThirtyEight are doing. More specifically, one of the site's most useful and telling resources is their Super Tracker, an analysis of daily tracking polls based on statistical plotting and tied together with an overarching trend line.

As you can see above, the trend line had steadily worked its way towards McCain over a three month period, until a week or so ago when it seemed to bottom-out and and sharply shift back towards Obama. And to those critics who argue its merely statistical noise, the site's contributors explain:
Let's not equivocate too much here. Over the course of the past several days, there has been a rather dramatic shift in this election toward Barack Obama. Our trendline estimate, which is engineered to be fairly conservative, registers the swing as equaling roughly 4 points over the course of the past week.

Changes of this velocity are unusual outside of the convention periods and the debates, especially in close elections. It took John McCain about 60 days and tens of millions of advertising dollars to whittle Obama's lead down from roughly 5 points at its peak in early June, to the 1-point lead that Obama held heading into the conventions. Obama has swing the numbers that much in barely a week.

....the fact is that Obama is in a stronger position now than he was immediately before the conventions. We now have him winning the election 71.5 percent of the time, which is about as high as that number has been all year.
Anyhow, I think its safe to say we have all slept better this week, especially considering the state of the race immediately following the republican convention. Moreover, it looks like the Obama campaign knew what it was doing when, despite falling numbers, it refused to panic-- which in my opinion is more comforting than any poll yet released.

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