Diary

A Look at the Polls and Electoral College Before Labor Day

Earlier today, Caleb Howe dealt in depth with national polling which pretty much confirms what we all know: both candidates are disliked for differing reasons.  That analysis showed the polls tightening as we head into the crux of the campaign season after Labor Day.

What is most telling about the national polls is how unenthusiastic voters are about the choices between the two major parties.  And the alternatives- Gary Johnson and Jill Stein- unless things change dramatically, may not get to that coveted 15% and a place on the debate stage.  I also find it interesting that the Libertarian candidate is shaving points off of Clinton’s lead over Trump instead of Johnson “hurting” Trump.

But, of course, we elect Presidents through the Electoral College and the vote count there, not by a national popular vote.  The following table shows a state-by-state breakdown based on the most recent poll and the average of all polls.  Obviously the more polls, the more accurate the data.

State EV* latest poll # polls average of polls
Alabama 9 Trump +13 5 Trump +19.6
Alaska 3 Trump +9 2 Trump +7
Arizona 11 Trump +4 15 Trump +4
Arkansas 6 Trump +6 4 Trump +7.8
California 55 Clinton +39 15 Clinton +24
Colorado 9 Clinton +6 15 Clinton +5.8
Connecticut 7 Clinton +8 5 Clinton +9.4
Delaware 3 Clinton +22 2 Clinton +16
Florida 29 Clinton +3 38 Clinton +3.4
Georgia 16 Trump +6 19 Trump +1.4
Hawaii 4 none none none
Idaho 4 Trump +30 6 Trump +19.8
Illinois 20 Clinton +13 11 Clinton +18.7
Indiana 11 Trump +24 8 Trump +14
Iowa 6 Trump +3 19 Clinton 1.6
Kansas 6 Trump +14 8 Trump 9.5
Kentucky 8 Trump +4 6 Trump +6.5
Lousiana 8 Trump +20 4 Trump +14.3
Maine 4 EVEN 6 Clinton +3.5
Maryland 10 Clinton +20 6 Clinton +28.5
Massachusetts 11 Clinton +16 6 Clinton +21.7
Michigan 16 EVEN 16 Clinton +8
Minnesota 10 Clinton +9 5 Clinton +8.8
Mississippi 6 Trump +29 5 Trump +15
Missouri 10 Trump +16 12 Trump +4.7
Montana 3 Trump +7 2 Trump +14
Nebraska 5 Trump +7 3 Trump +6
Nevada 6 Clinton +8 9 Clinton +1.3
New Hampshire 4 Trump +1 28 Clinton +5.5
New Jersey 14 Clinton +11 11 Clinton +12.7
New Mexico 5 Clinton +3 3 Clinton +4.7
New York 29 Clinton +22 20 Clinton +20.5
North Carolina 15 Clinton +5 27 Clinton +1.7
North Dakota 3 none None None
Ohio 18 Trump +3 26 Clinton +2.6
Oklahoma 7 Trump +11 5 Trump +21.2
Oregon 7 Clinton +5 6 Clinton +4.8
Pennsylvania 20 Clinton +6 27 Clinton +6
Rhode Island 4 none none None
South Carolina 9 Trump +3 8 Trump +3.5
South Dakota 3 none none None
Tennessee 11 Trump +18 5 Trump +15.9
Texas 38 Trump +17 8 Trump +9.5
Utah 6 Trump +1 12 Trump +5
Vermont 3 Clinton +15 2 Clinton +18.5
Virginia 13 Clinton +13 21 Clinton +8.3
Washington 12 Clinton +10 6 Clinton +13.2
West Virginia 5 Trump +17 6 Trump +19.3
Wisconsin 10 EVEN 22 Clinton +7.8
Wyoming 3 None none None
DC 3 None none None
* elect. votes

In states where there is no polling, one has to assume they will come out as they do historically.  Thus, I assigned the electoral votes of North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming to Trump, and the electoral votes of DC, Hawaii and Rhode Island to Clinton.

Based upon the most recent polls, Clinton holds a 285-219 lead and would win the Presidency (with some votes outstanding due to their “even” status).  In the average of polls, Clinton would win the electoral vote count 347-191.

Where the most recent poll does not deviate wildly from the average of polls, there is stability in the polling.  For example, in Arizona there is no difference between the most recent and the average of polls.  Only in New Hampshire and Ohio is there a discrepancy between the most recent poll and the average of polls- both with Trump showing a lead in those states in the most recent poll.

Looking at that data, we get the following results:

Trump improving Trump declining
Georgia Alabama
Idaho Montana
Indiana Oklahoma
Kansas
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
New Hampshire
Ohio
Texas
Wisconsin
Clinton improving Clinton declining
California Michigan
Nevada New Hampshire
Virginia Ohio
Wisconsin
Trump stable Clinton stable
Alaska Colorado
Arizona Connecticut
Arkansas Delaware
Kentucky Florida
Nebraska Hawaii*
North Dakota* Illinois
South Carolina* Iowa
South Dakota Massachusetts
Tennessee Minnesota
Utah New Jersey
West Virginia New Mexico
Wyoming * New York
North Carolina
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island*
Vermont
DC*
* no polling

The significant aspect are Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.  If they were to somehow flip into Trump’s column, he would still lose the electoral vote count 299-239.  Even if he won Florida, Clinton would win 270-268.  With one more state- Iowa or Nevada- Trump would win. And although North Carolina is stable for Clinton at this point, the average of polls is relatively close putting it within striking distance.

This all translates into the fact it would take a tremendous shift in the polls or something major happening because Trump’s pathway is long, arduous and tortured.  He has dug himself into a hole early and often.  Too many things would have to go right for Trump, but the dolt has defied the odds all campaign season so you never know.  As the earlier analysis shows, this thing is not over yet and the next 60 days should be interesting.