It's Mid-August: How Trump Stands Electorally

As the heat index rises across the country- especially here in the Northeast- so too does polling data in the presidential elections.  Some articles have been written here about the proximity of Hillary Clinton in traditional red states like Utah, Georgia and South Carolina.  When Donald Trump basically insinuated that he was going to change the electoral map, he did just that: clearly in favor of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.

This writer has been tracking polls from a variety of sources since November, 2015 in hypothetical Trump-Clinton match-ups and actual match-ups since each secured their party’s nomination.  One thing noticed is that when the presence of Jill Stein and Gary Johnson is included in these polls, they move the dial very little in the difference between Clinton and Trump.  This indicates that they both are drawing equal numbers away from the major party candidates and basically cancel each other out.  For my purposes, since neither will win the presidency and since their effect with respect to either Trump or Clinton are about the same, their presence in polls is ignored for purpose of my analysis.

For that analysis, I compare the difference between the two against the average performance by either party in each state going back to the 2000 election.  That involved two Republican and two Democratic winners, with each having a reelection scenario.  In the table below, column 3 designated “avg. win margin” indicates the average win for the GOP in that state for presidential candidates since 2000.  For example, the 10.5 figure for Georgia indicates that the Republican candidate carried that state by an average of 10.5 points.  Conversely, a figure like -17.25 for California indicates the Republican candidate lost that state by an average of 17.25 points.

In column 4 designated “today’s margin,” that is the estimated Trump performance in that state as of today and is derived from taking the average difference of all the polls in that state.  If there is “n/a” in that column, it indicates that there is either no polling data from those states or, in the case of only one poll, it is more than six months old.

Obviously, the greater number of polls, the greater the accuracy of the final result/prediction.  And what should be further obvious is that traditional swing states receive more attention from polling companies.  For my purposes, although some consider Pennsylvania a swing state, this writer does not.

The results thus far are:

State No. polls Avg. win margin Today’s margin Traditional Prediction
Alabama 0 21.25 n/a GOP GOP
Alaska 1 23.25 n/a GOP GOP
Arizona 10 8.5 0.9 GOP Toss-Up
Arkansas 1 14.5 11 GOP GOP
California 12 -17.25 -21.54 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Colorado 10 -0.5 -5.9 SWING DEMOCRAT
Connecticut 2 -17 -6.5 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Delaware 0 -16.25 n/a DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Florida 29 0.5 -3.23 SWING DEMOCRAT
Georgia 14 10.5 0.68 GOP Toss-Up
Hawaii 0 -18.25 n/a DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Idaho 2 34 17 GOP GOP
Illinois 4 -16.75 -16.09 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Indiana 3 10.75 8 GOP GOP
Iowa 13 -3.5 -2.46 SWING Toss-Up
Kansas 3 20.75 2.67 GOP Toss-Up
Kentucky 2 18.5 5.5 GOP GOP
Louisiana 1 14.5 16 GOP GOP
Maine 3 -12 -8.7 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Maryland 3 -20 -34.67 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Massachusetts 2 -25.25 -30 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Michigan 11 -9 -9.73 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Minnesota 2 -6.25 -9 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Missouri 6 4.75 3.17 GOP GOP
Mississippi 1 14.5 3 GOP GOP
Montana 0 15 n/a GOP GOP
Nebraska 0 24.5 n/a GOP GOP
Nevada 5 -3.5 1 SWING Toss-Up
New Hampshire 22 -3.75 -6.43 SWING DEMOCRAT
New Jersey 8 -14 -12.29 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
New Mexico 1 -6 -8 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
New York 13 -24.25 -21.14 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
North Carolina 19 7 -1.74 GOP DEMOCRAT
North Dakota 0 20.75 n/a GOP GOP
Ohio 19 -0.75 -2.39 SWING DEMOCRAT
Oklahoma 2 29.25 7.25 GOP GOP
Pennsylvania 19 -5.25 -6.26 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Rhode Island 0 -26 n/a DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
South Carolina 3 13 4 GOP GOP
South Dakota 0 17.25 n/a GOP GOP
Tennessee 2 13.25 13.5 GOP GOP
Texas 4 18.25 7 GOP GOP
Utah 9 40.25 4.33 GOP GOP
Vermont 1 -25.75 -22.75 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Virginia 12 1.5 -7.83 SWING DEMOCRAT
Washington 2 -11 -12 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
West Virginia 2 14.75 32 GOP GOP
Wisconsin 16 -5.25 -9.88 DEMOCRAT DEMOCRAT
Wyoming 0 38 n/a GOP GOP


What does this all indicate?  There are 24 GOP/red states, 7 swing states, and 19 Democratic/blue states.  In 6 of the red states, there is no data so we can assume they will remain red.  In another 6 states, Trump is performing close to the historical average and they are likely to remain red also.  In only one state- West Virginia- is he performing above the average.  But, in 11 states he is performing well below the historical win margin.  If we designate a 3-point margin for “toss-up” category, then Trump has delivered Arizona, Georgia and Kansas into that category.  South Carolina, Utah and Missouri are dangerously close and headed into that category unless something changes.

Trump promised to change the electoral map by picking up traditionally blue states, especially through the Rust Belt with his worker-first populist rhetoric.  However, he is showing an improvement in only Oregon, Maine and Connecticut, yet not enough to win those states.  As for those Rust Belt states, he is performing worse than the average in Wisconsin and about the same (slightly worse) in Pennsylvania and Michigan.  I am leaving Ohio and Iowa out because they are swing states.  Hence, it is safe to say that Trump is not changing the electoral map for the better.

As for the seven swing states, in only Nevada is he performing better than the past for GOP candidates.  BUT, that is more than made up for the fact that North Carolina has gone from solid red to either toss-up category at best, or a Hillary victory outright.  Virginia definitely and Colorado probably are all but lost causes at this point.  (NOTE: Clinton has pulled advertisements from these states).  Florida is progressively drifting out of reach as is Ohio (to a slightly lesser degree).

Based upon these figures with “swing states” being any one where the margin designated in column 4 is less than 3 points, Clinton would win with 302 electoral votes to Trump’s 164 without the new swing states.  Although not on the order of a Mike Dukakis loss, Trump’s projected loss would be more in line with the loss of Bob Dole in 1996.

Bottom line: no matter how you look at it, Trump is headed for a resounding defeat on November 8th unless things seriously change.  In short- vote your conscience.