Mark Warner, party builder, is lending his voice to Barack Obama in Virginia:
I'm not sure I would go so far to say that John McCain can't win the presidency without winning Virginia, because it's mathematically possible -- but it's pretty close to a necessity for McCain to carry. So having Mark Warner coming through the car stereos of voters across the commonwealth of Virginia during drive time, asking them to support Obama comes as a major blow to McCain's overall efforts.
Mark Warner is, if not the most popular politician in Virginia, certainly among the small handful of the most popular politicians in the state. At present, he is leading in his Senate race by close to 30 points. His favorability ratings are close to astronomical. In short, he is as strong a surrogate as Obama could ask for in Virginia.
The question, then, for some was whether Mark Warner would be willing to use some of his good will with the voters of Virginia to try to help the Democratic ticket both down ballot and up ballot. The answer is apparently yes. And considering the already remarkable trend in the state, Warner's backing might be just what Obama needs to go over the top and bring the state's 13 electoral votes into his camp.
Throw on top of all of this the roughly 4.3-to-1 edge in television expenditures in the state the Obama campaign is enjoying over the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee -- combined -- and you can see that Virginia is in a good position to flip from red to blue for the first time in 44 years.
In other polling today, the Battleground tracker (.pdf) again shows Barack Obama leading by a significantly narrower margin than other polling, 49 percent to 47 percent. The big media polls see the race quite differently, with Pew giving Obama a 14-point lead (53 percent to 39 percent), the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (.pdf) putting Obama up 10 points (52 percent to 42 percent), ABC News/Washington Post polling showing Obama up 9 points (53 percent to 44 percent), and a McClatchy/Ipsossurvey finding an 8-point Obama edge (50 percent to 42 percent).
We are 13 days out from election day. What are you doing to help enact progressive change in this country?
A lot of new numbers today, some of which I have already mentioned, some of which I haven't.
Pew polling shows Barack Obama leading by a stunning 53 percent to 39 percent margin among likely voters over John McCain. Weighing heavily on these numbers -- and, specifically, weighing down McCain's numbers -- are Sarah Palin's anemic favorable numbers. At present, just 44 percent of the electorate views the Republican Vice Presidential nominee favorably while 49 percent views her unfavorably, significantly down from 54 percent to 32 percent net favorable rating in mid-September. In contrast, Obama's numbers are astronomical, with 66 percent viewing him favorably and just 28 percent viewing him unfavorably.
Lest you think that Pew's numbers are way off, take a look at the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (.pdf) out within the last hour. Overall, Obama's lead is 52 percent to 42 percent -- not too far off from Pew's numbers. Palin's numbers are actually worse in the NBC/WSJ poll than they are in the Pew poll, with 38 percent viewing her favorably and 47 percent viewing her unfavorably. Obama's numbers are similarly strong as they are in Pew polling, with 58 percent rating him positively and 33 percent rating him negatively.
The two polls, of course, could both be outliers -- but from the looks of it they aren't. Today's ABC News/Washington Post daily tracker gives Obama a 53 percent to 44 percent lead among likely voters, and today's Gallup tracker (which I have already mentioned today) shows Obama leading 52 percent to 42 percent in its expanded likely voter model.
Update [2008-10-21 20:31:48 by Jonathan Singer]: A McClatchy/Ipsos poll just out has Obama up 50 percent to 42 percent.
This all isn't to say that the time is now to get complacent -- because it's not. Nevertheless, it's also not time to buy into the McCain campaign spin (which, I might add, it seems at least a few in the establishment media are) that the race is clearly tightening.
In other polling, the new ABC News/Washington Post tracker (.pdf) shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by a 53 percent to 44 percent margin. This poll comes online later in the day than the other four daily trackers listed above, so it is actually a day behind the numbers above. The Battleground tracker (.pdf) goes out on a limb and shows close to a tied race, 48 percent for Obama to McCain's 47 percent.
And for those interested in polling, and the real explosion of polling this year relative to elections past, check out Michael Crowley's article in The New Republic. Although there are some things that I would quibble with in the piece -- for instance, I still don't buy the notion that the polling Research 2000 is doing for Daily Kos is off base, particularly in light of the fact that R2K polling has actually underestimated Democratic performance in the past, and, as you can see above, it doesn't always show the greatest lead for Obama -- though it's worth the read if you have the time.
Finally, a quote of the day:
"It really makes no difference whether you're in a majority or minority, any member of the Congress can go work and make things happen on behalf of their constituents."