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October 30, 2004
Final Mason-Dixon Battleground Polls Hint At Bush Win

In what should be the final iteration of the Mason-Dixon polls that have been remarkably stable over the course of this election cycle, George Bush has a significant edge over John Kerry and appears headed to a victory on Tuesday. With a margin of error at 4%, the battleground states stack up like this:

Florida - Bush, 49-45 (27 EV)
Arkansas - Bush, 51-43 (6 EV)
Colorado - Bush, 50-43 (9 EV)
Ohio - Bush, 48-46 (20 EV)
Iowa - Bush, 49-44 (7 EV)
Michigan - Kerry, 47-45 (17 EV)
Missouri - Bush, 49-44 (11 EV)
New Hampshire - Kerry, 47-46 (4 EV)
Nevada - Bush, 50-44 (5 EV)
West Virginia - Bush, 51-43 (5 EV)
Oregon - Kerry, 50-44 (7 EV)
Pennsylvania - Kerry, 48-46 (21 EV)
Wisconsin - Kerry, 48-46 (10 EV)
Minnesota - Bush, 48-47 (10 EV)
New Mexico - Bush, 49-45 (5 EV)

What does this portend for Tuesday? Of the states outside the margin of error, Bush carries 43 electoral votes, while Kerry takes only 7. Add in those at the margin of error, and Bush picks up an additional 32, for a total of seventy-five battleground electoral votes that appear pretty firm. For states too close to call, Bush leaners hold 30 electoral votes as opposed to 52 for Kerry -- meaning that Bush right now is poised to pick up 105 battleground electoral votes while Kerry can only claim 59. Even if the leaners all break to Kerry, Bush has enough of a lead among the solid states that the 75 electoral votes in his pocket will take him to victory -- and these polls don't even include Hawaii and New Jersey, both of which have suddenly become toss-ups.

The GOP has to be happy with these results, but it still will take all of their effort in the remaining 70 hours or so to make sure they get voters out to the polls.

(Mason-Dixon polled 625 likely voters in each state, with the exception of Minnesota, where they polled registered voters instead -- which tends to favor the Democrat, especially here. The polling took place between 10/27 and 10/29, so it represents the freshest look so far in each of these states. No other demographic data was immediately available.)

UPDATE: I didn't link to this earlier, but the Newsweek results seem to dovetail with the Mason-Dixon polls:

After months of the tightest presidential election contest in recent memory, a new NEWSWEEK poll suggests momentum may be moving toward President George W. Bush. As the bitter campaign enters its final days, against the eerie backdrop of a surprise appearance by Osama Bin Laden, Bushs lead is still within the polls margin of error, but larger than last week. If the election were held today, 50 percent of likely voters would cast ballots for Bush and 44 percent for the Democrat, Sen. John Kerry. (Ralph Nader would receive 1 percent.) That compares to a Bush lead last week among likely voters of 48 percent to Kerry's 46 percent.

Newsweek also reports increased support for Bush among independents, the amount of which makes Power Line's Rocket Man skeptical of the overall poll result. I think what happened here is that as the pool of undecideds has gotten smaller, the remainder has grown more volatile.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 30, 2004 9:38 PM

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