The US Presidential Election is a set of 50 statewide contests held on the same day. Can Donald Trump find a way past Hillary Clinton to win enough of them, to win the Electoral College vote?
As of now the polls still say no. Most states are safe or very likely to go for one candidate or the other. In those, Clinton leads big. Using the RealClearPolitics count, we see Clinton up 201-165 in the solid states. That means Trump has to win big in the close states, in order to win the election.
Right now he’s winning five states that Obama won: Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, and North Carolina (though Romney also won NC). This is not enough for him to win. The states Trump is currently leading in the polls, as depicted in the map above, only give Trump 246 electoral votes to 292.
Add Florida, however, and that is enough. He’d take a 275-263 advantage. But if he then loses Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, or North Carolina, and he’s back behind again. He’s walking a tightrope and has very few paths to victory. He’s got to run the table because he’s not expanding the map.
Trump is winning no states that George Bush didn’t win. He’s following the same path that Bush took, but not as well. Consider the core of the battleground:
|North Carolina||Trump +0.8|
The only state on the map where Bush never won that’s even close for Trump, is the ever-hopeful Pennsylvania. So Trump has to find a way to hold all those states he’s barely winning, plus knock off one of the two that Clinton is barely winning. With Clinton up 7 in Virginia, 6 in New Hampshire, 6 in New Mexico, 5 in Michigan, and 5 in Wisconsin, getting more options doesn’t seem likely.
And that assumes Clinton can’t make gains in states like Arizona (Trump +2.2), states put in play because of Trump’s specific weakness.
Trump virtually has to run the table in order to win this election, and unless something changes, that just doesn’t seem particularly likely. Since the debate Trump has been treading water in the polls, but he needs to be making gains. Since Fox’s 9/11 poll that gave Trump a 1 point lead, only the LA Times has given Trump any national polling leads, and at this point nobody believes they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
So does Trump have another shake up in him, to maybe hire a good campaign staff for the first time this year?
To get a picture of the popular vote, see our national polling roundup.