The Path to 270 Electoral Votes

In this period of intense dislike for Hillary and Donald on the one hand and the tug of traditional party loyalty on the other, it may be useful to see how the two compare in the handful of states that matter – the traditional “swing states” and a few that may be drawn into play in this presidential cycle. There is little useful state polling (and it threatens to change significantly before November), but the primaries have shown areas of strength and weakness – at least when competing against others in their own party. Ironically, both campaigns were strongest in states that they will lose anyway – Hillary winning with black votes in the South, and Trump beating Republicans in the Northeast.

For simplicity sake, Politico identifies seven states which have been the focus of campaigning in recent presidential elections. To that can be added a half dozen where a particular issue, Senate race, or local party dynamics can tip a “leaning” state in the other direction.  For the remaining 37 states it doesn’t matter – if they are in play, the election is a landslide. Excluding the following states (in which Obama beat Romney by less than 10%), any Democrat starts with 196 and any Republican starts with 181. (The results from the 2012 election which Obama won overall 332-206 are per theWashington Post, and the 2016 primary results are per Politico.)

The Swing States  (with their Electoral Votes, and Obama’s margin against Romney in 2012)

– Colorado (9) Obama +4.7%. Cruz outmaneuvered Trump for delegates in party conventions; Sanders beat Clinton 59% to 40%. Growing Hispanic vote.

– Florida (29) Obama +.9%. Clear Trump win despite Bush and Rubio home state; Clear Clinton win. Growing Puerto Rican vote. Will be closely contested again – probably critical for any Republican.

– Iowa (6) Obama +5.6%. Cruz narrowly beat Trump and Rubio despite taking a stand against ethanol; Clinton squeaked by Sanders.

– Nevada (6) Obama +6.6%. Clear Trump win; Clinton won in contentious convention. Senate race to replace the retiring Harry Reid.

– New Hampshire (4) Obama +5.7%. Trump and Sanders were easy winners. Significant Senate race.

– Ohio (18) Obama +1.9%. Kasich beat Trump 47% to 36%; Clear Clinton win. Significant Senate race. Coal in the south. Kasich can probably deliver the state – if he wants to.

– Virginia (13) Obama +3.0%. Trump beat Rubio 35% to 32%; Clear Clinton win. Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe recently gave 200,000 former felons the right to vote. DC suburbs fear anti-government rhetoric, but military will go heavily for Republican. Coal in the west.

Other Likely Contested States

– Michigan (16) Obama +9.5%. Trump easy winner; Sanders edged Clinton.

– Missouri (10) Obama +9.6%. Trump edged Cruz; Clinton edged Sanders. Republican field significantly out-polled Democrats. Home of machine politics and Ferguson – for good or bad.

– New Mexico (5) Obama +9.9%. Primary scheduled for June 7. Latina Republican governor, but Hispanic voters.

– North Carolina (15) Romney +2.2%. Trump beat Cruz 40 to 37%; easy Clinton win.

– Pennsylvania (20). Obama +5.2%  Trump and Clinton were clear winners. Significant Senate race. Experts such asCharlie Cook and Nate Silver’s 538 rate Pennsylvania as trending Republican, driven by the industrial and coal mining voters in the western part of the state. Perhaps the new ultimate swing state.

– Wisconsin (10) Obama 6.7%. Cruz beat Trump 48% to 35% with the support of a very effective state party organization; Sanders beat Hillary easily. Significant Senate race.

To get to 270, Trump would have to get 64 more electoral college votes than Romney while holding North Carolina. Based on the primaries and 2012, the best places to look would seem to be Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania which would give him 292. Not easy, but quite possible.  


    This week’s video is last week’s Donald Trump – Megyn Kelly reconciliation meeting.  Along with his announcement of potential Supreme Court judges and his fundraising alliance with the Republican National Committee he is clearly pivoting to the general election while Hillary and Bernie continue their increasingly acrimonious contest.

www.Rightinsanfrancisco.com – 5/20/16