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The Collective
Thursday, October 23, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Gallup has a comparative post of two versions of its likely voter model (the traditional model and one that attempts to take into consideration higher than normal turnout) and its registered voter poll: Obama Has Modest Lead Among Likely Voters.

Obama leads in all three, although not surprisingly, the gap between the candidates is more narrow in the traditional likely voter model (50%-46%) is less than in the expanded model (51%-45%) or the registered voter poll (50%-43%).

Looking across the polls, it seems likely that Obama will break the 50% popular vote threshold, which is symbolically significant, as it is perceived as conferring additional legitimacy to a win. The last Democrat to break the 50% barrier was Jimmy Carter in 1976. It is rather unlikely, however, that Obama will get anywhere near LBJ’s 61.05% from 1968.

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Filed under: 2008 Campaign, US Politics | |
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  1. Rather unlikely that he’ll get to 60%+?

    How about almost inconceivable!

    The party system is just fundamentally different now. The Johnson landslide in 1964 (not 1968, as the post says) was the low-water mark in post-WWII “electoral fusion of purpose” while 2004 was the high-water mark.

    As I explain in a footnote to my recent post on whether the US at last has the “responsible party system” advocated by the APSA in 1950, “electoral fusion of purpose” indicates the extent to which the presidential candidate and legislative candidates of the same party draw their support from the same places.

    In 1964, we had a personal validation of the candidate (or a rejection of his opponent), but it was weakly reflected in congress.

    Forty years later we would have a starkly partisan polarization. 2008 is likely going to be much closer to 2004 on this metric than to 1964. The difference is that one of the parties has moved to a significant lead over the other.

    That is, two candidates could be widely separated in the public’s preferences, but the two parties are unlikely to be so separated-and indeed were not in 1964 (but should be more so in 2008 than in 2004).

    So, yes, more than 50%, but well under 60%, is likely. But whatever it is should be pretty strongly reflected in congress, for a fairly high “electoral fusion of purpose.”

    This is going to be interesting to watch after January!

    Reply to MSS

    Comment by MSS — Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

  2. How about almost inconceivable!

    You know me, I like understatement. ;)

    And yes, it will be interesting.

    Reply to Dr. Steven Taylor

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

  3. [...] the national numbers certainly don’t look good for McCain, the latest batch of state-level numbers is even worse. [...]

    Reply to PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » State Level Polling

    Pingback by PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » State Level Polling — Friday, October 24, 2008 @ 6:59 am

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