It's now been over two months since Sen. Barack Obama officially clinched the Democratic Party nomination. In terms of sizing up the presidential race, that means we now have 10 weeks of poll data to figure out how McCain and Obama fare in a pure head-to-head match-up.

By taking the averages of these polls and seeing the trend lines over time, we get a sense -- better than any individual snap-shot poll -- of how each candidate's chances are shaping up. Call it that despised word of the primaries, "momentum."

So which way are Southern states moving? Using the polling averages used over at, some clear categories emerge:


The best example of this is Virginia. Most polls show the VA race as tight, but the trend lines show the state is moving in Obama's direction:

The other big one in this category is Florida. McCain remains slightly ahead, but what's more interesting is how much Obama has gained on him over the last few months:

Obama's poll numbers have also been on the rise in Alabama, Arkansas and even Kentucky -- but he's likely starting in too deep of a hole in those states to close the gap by election time.


McCain leads in most Southern states, but there are few where his lead is actually expanding/. The one notable exception: South Carolina, where a couple early polls had shown a potentially close race. Not many polls have been done in SC since, but those available show McCain's lead growing -- more from a drop in Obama's support than from any gains on McCain's part:


There isn't much movement in other Southern states, where McCain largely has a comfortable lead. What's interesting is that in no Southern state except North Carolina have McCain's numbers been going up -- he leads in the other 12 Southern states because he started out with a huge advantage, or because Obama's ratings have also fallen or leveled off (for example, Georgia).

So what about North Carolina? The Tar Heel state is unique to Southern states in that, while Obama has actually gained some ground, McCain has kept the state in the GOP column because he has also boosted his numbers:

Also: Gallup has a new round of numbers out, broken down by region. Interestingly, the only take-away in terms of trends is that the race is about where it was in June in the South and West. In the East, McCain's slightly gained; in the Midwest, Obama.