There's a new poll on the scene, the Big Ten Battleground Poll. It's a pretty cool concept -- a theme, actually -- focusing only on the eight states that are home to a university in the Big Ten Conference. Moreover, one of the poll's co-director's is Pollster.com's Charles Franklin, which adds some immediate credibility to the results.
The first results from the poll were released Thursday. They show a very tight race in some potentially pivotal states.
In Pennsylvania and Iowa, for example, Barack Obama and John McCain are tied with 45 percent each. In Ohio and Wisconsin, Obama leads by a single percentage point; in Minnesota, he's up by two and in Michigan he leads by four. The data shows McCain up in only one of the states included; he leads by four points in Indiana. Given the poll's margin of error, which is plus or minus four percentage points, Obama and McCain are essentially tied in all of those states.
There is one drawback to the format, and that's the inclusion of Illinois, which can't really be called a battleground in any sense of the word. John Kerry took the state with an 11-point margin in 2004, and it's Obama's adopted home state. This poll shows him up there by 16 points.