McCain's Poll Numbers Are Breaking the Idea of Traditional Red and Blue States

Polls show a McCain-Rice ticket beating a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket in New York.

By + More

I've been saying most of this year that it's time to throw out that old electoral map of red states and blue states. Fresh evidence for this comes from Scott Rasmussen's recent state polls. Marist has a John McCain-Condoleezza Rice ticket beating a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket in New York 49 percent to 46 percent and a McCain-Rice ticket beating an Obama-Clinton ticket there 49 percent to 44 percent. I'm pretty sure McCain is not going to ask Rice to be his running mate; he can't approve of her work as national security adviser when the Bush administration refused to follow his recommendation for a surge of troops in 2003 and 2004. But for McCain to be leading the Democrats' dream tickets (at least some Democrats think that's what one of those two is) in a state John Kerry carried by a 59 percent to 40 percent margin is pretty striking.

Then consider the Rasmussen polls in several western states, where Obama is either leading or trailing McCain by narrow margins. I'll put the percentages for Bush-Kerry in the adjacent columns.

Rasmussen 2004
  McCain Obama Bush Kerry
Alaska 48 43 61 36
Colorado 46 46 52 47
Montana 48 43 59 39
Nevada 41 45 50 48
New Mexico 42 45 50 49
Oregon 42 48 47 51
Washington 43 48 46 53
In Oregon and Washington, the balance is similar to that in 2004. But McCain is plainly weaker than Bush—or Obama stronger than Kerry, in the other five. If Alaska is going to be a target state, what state isn't?

In contrast, McCain seems to be running better than Bush (or just about the same) in Rasmussen polls in some of the large states that were seriously contested in 2000 and 2004.

Florida 47 43 52 47
Michigan 43 42 48 51
New Jersey 46 45 46 53
Ohio 47 40 51 49
Pennsylvania 44 43 48 51
So the westerner McCain is running behind the Texan Bush in the West, while in an economy threatened with recession he's running better than Bush in some big industrial states. Very interesting.