A Quick Look at the US Presidential Election

Sep 27, 2008: 6:10 PM CST

Whoever wins the White House in November will affect the economy and of course the Stock Market in different ways, so let’s take a quick look at the polls and see who’s up and what could transpire in the upcoming election just over a month away now.

By virtually all accounts, Democratic Senator Barack Obama leads Republican Senator John McCain in national polls, and Real Clear Politics averages multiple polls to come up with the aggregate Obama lead of 47.9% to 43.6% (a 4.3% advantage).

However, it’s not national polls or a national vote that elects the US President, it’s the series of state-wide elections and state-by-state results that contribute to an overall majority vote by electors in the Electoral College, and – not surprisingly – Senator Obama leads by almost all accounts in the all-important “Electoral Vote” count as it stands currently – which is always subject to change in light of significant new developments.

Real Clear Politics – an independent/non-partisan site – currently lists Senator Obama with 223 solid/leaning Electoral Votes to Senator McCain’s 163 vote total – it takes 270 Electoral Votes to win the Presidency.  RCP lists the remaining 147 votes as “Toss-Ups” from averaging polls that determine a lead less than 5% for a candidate.

Over the next month, watch the “Gray” states closely, as it will be voters in these states that will determine the next President of the USA.

So what is the current status according to RCP, if you assign all Toss-Up states according to the aggregate averages so far?

The RCP Average gives Senator Obama the edge currently – 286 votes to 252 for McCain, and if this holds until November 4th, Barack Obama would be the next US President.

It goes without saying that a lot can change between now and then, and plenty of websites will be full of information, punditry, analysis, commentary, projections, etc.

If you’re interesting in following closer, I suggest visiting some of the sites (all over the political spectrum) included in the “Three Blue Dudes” Presidential Election Projection Database which categorizes and updates 78 sites that hold their own projections (some through statistics, some through polls, others through ‘wishful thinking’) of the outcome of the Electoral College vote.

As it stands now, of the 78 sites, 69 sites project an Obama win; 4 project a McCain win; and 4 sites project a 269/269 EC Tie (which is a distinct possibility this year).

The Vice-Presidential Debate is yet to come, as are two more Presidential Debates, as well as the resolution of the Economic “Bail-out” Bill which is currently working its way through Congress.  The race so far has been quite eventful, and I suspect it will continue to be so until that fateful evening in November!

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