States with new poll data since the last update: Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Texas, California, New Jersey, Minnesota, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Idaho, Maryland, Oregon, Maine (All), Louisiana, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska (All), South Carolina, Alabama, West Virginia, Kansas, Kentucky, Utah, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, New Mexico, Montana, Alaska
Wow, that is a lot of new polls. While there were some others, the big influence today is that Reuters/Ipsos has started to do a weekly nationwide tracking poll where they provide state breakdowns for any state where they have enough data. So from now until the election we should start getting regular data on a lot of states that usually don’t get polled.
As usual, most of the updates didn’t change the status of the model, but a few did, and all of these moves this time were toward Trump. Lets take a look state by state:
Arizona [11 EV]
Ever since April Arizona has been looking like a possible target for Clinton… Trump ahead, but with only a narrow lead that Clinton might be able to flip. With the latest updates, Trump’s lead in the average increases to 5.5%, so we take it out of that category. The notion of a blue Arizona slips away from Clinton.
New Hampshire [4 EV]
Honestly, it looks like an outlier, but the most recent of those Reuters/Ipsos results I mentioned show Trump with a huge 14% lead in New Hampshire. The second best number in the average shows Clinton up by 2%, and that is also from Ipsos. All the other recent numbers in New Hampshire show a Clinton lead of at least 9%, and there has been no radical change in the campaign that would indicate a huge swing would be expected.
If these two Ipsos data points are really outliers, then new polls should quickly show that. For the moment though, the average moves to only a 4.0% Clinton lead due to the two Ipsos data points, so New Hampshire is once again categorized as a state Trump has a chance in.
Maine (All) [2 EV]
Maine has been pretty sparsely polled this Election cycle, but what polls we do have show the state trending away from being a solid blue state to being close. The latest couple of results (both Ipsos) have Trump ahead, as have a few previous polls. The average is now only a 4.4% Clinton lead, so Maine is now in the “Weak Clinton” category, and it is included in Trump’s best case.
Now, Maine is one of the two states that splits electoral votes. For winning Maine at large, you only get 2 electoral votes. You then get 1 electoral vote for winning each congressional district. Now, mathematically, for Maine as a whole to have a 4.4% lead for Clinton, Trump would have to be doing even better than that in one of the two congressional districts. But right now the average in CD-1 is a 15.8% Clinton lead and in CD-2 it is a 5.3% Clinton lead. That can’t be! You would expect CD-2 to be Weak Clinton as well, or possibly even Weak Trump.
The problem is that while there has been very limited polling of Maine as a whole, there has been even less polling of Maine at a Congressional District level. There has only been ONE poll of Maine CD-2 this election cycle. It was in June and showed Trump up by 1%. The average is 5.3% Clinton because in order to fill out the average when there are less than five polls, I use previous election results.
New polling in Maine CD-2 is currently what I classify as the “Most Needed Poll” (followed be NE-2, NE-1, ME-1 and SD). Right now we don’t have enough polling evidence to show that CD-2 is actually Weak Clinton or Weak Trump rather than Strong Clinton, but given where Maine as a whole is, the ME-2 electoral vote has to be a possible pick up for Trump too, but it won’t be categorized that way here until there are enough polls backing that up directly.
Before showing the new national trend chart and tipping point charts, a quick note. In addition to the new polls added in the most recent batch, I found a handful of older polls that I had somehow missed earlier in the year. These don’t change the current picture, but they change the past. Specifically, Trump’s position in the spring was significantly weaker than it looked at the time, mainly because Florida would have slipped out of his reach significantly earlier.
To be transparent on this change, rather than just show the new charts, I’ll show the before and after due to today’s update. First the trend chart as it appeared on Election Graphs as of the August 26th update post:
And here it is now:
Note that in addition to the bumps upward in Clinton and Trump’s current best cases, Trump’s best case in the spring is significantly depressed, enough so that his best case moved from a narrow win in most of April to a narrow loss. There are some other subtle differences between these two caused by the addition of these old polls I had missed at the time, but that is the big one, caused essentially by one March poll in Florida that I did not see until August. Apologies for that.
The difference in the tipping point graph is even more dramatic, with Florida worse for Trump than it previously looked, there was a lot more room for the tipping point to wiggle, and it was a lot worse during the spring than it looked.
Here is the before picture of the tipping point graph from the August 26th update post:
And here is the tipping point graph now:
Again the main impact is that the “missing polls” that I added make it clear that Trump was significantly worse off in the spring than I had shown at the time. In fact, it means that at the end of April he was actually below his recent bottom in mid-August.
There were only a handful of polls missed, but this goes to show that even with poll averaging, individual polls in critical states can make a big difference in the overall picture. (Especially when they appear to be outliers, such as the one Florida poll I missed that made the biggest difference. Oops.)
OK, enough hand wringing about things that may have been missed in the spring.
The big current news on the tipping point is that with changes in the averages in Michigan, New Hampshire, and Ohio, the tipping point comes roaring back in Trump’s direction. In this update it moves from a 6.0% Clinton lead in Connecticut to a 4.0% Clinton lead in New Hampshire, but this is a full 3.6% swing toward Trump since his low of 7.6% about 10 days ago.
Now, everything above still shows a Trump loss, but it is looking a lot closer than it did a couple weeks ago. The first part of August was disastrous for Trump, but he has been bouncing back since then. He is still very far behind, but maybe his latest reworking of his campaign is working. His best case is once again to win, although by a very narrow 4 electoral vote margin.
Will the recent trend continue and make this race look even closer? 72.2 days left for him to do it.
Notice on Methodology: In my August 13th update I solicited opinions on possibly changing how this site deals with the case when a pollster releases multiple results from a single poll. See the discussion in that comment thread for more details. Immediately after this post goes live I will be working to change the site logic so that if two results are released from a poll, each counts as only half a poll for purposes of the averages here. Similar logic will apply to tracking polls where samples overlap, but not completely, with polls weighted to reflect the fraction of the new result that is actually from a fresh sample.
As examples of the impact this could have, the three states mentioned in this post would change as follows: Arizona is a 5.5% Trump lead (Strong Trump) with the current logic, it would be a 3.9% Trump lead (Weak Trump) with the new logic. New Hampshire would move from a 4.0% Clinton lead (Weak Clinton) to a 8.4% Clinton lead (Strong Clinton). Maine (All) would move from a 4.4% Clinton lead (Weak Clinton) to a 3.7% Clinton lead (Weak Clinton). With these three examples, two of the changes favor Clinton, and one favors Trump.
At this point I will not be adding new polls to the averages until the math changes are complete and I have reported on the results with a blog post. (Unless my revisions fail and I’m forced to reschedule for another weekend.)
[Note added 21:39 UTC – Actually, as I’m starting in, I realize that tracking polls have a bunch of extra complications that multiple results in a single poll don’t have, so I’ll leave them alone and treat them as if they were completely independent for now. Without weighting tracking polls, the changes above would now be: AZ Trump +5.5% -> Trump +3.1%, NH Clinton +4.0% -> Clinton +4.0% (No change), ME-All Clinton +4.4% -> Clinton +2.0%.]
Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks both a poll based estimate of the Electoral College and a numbers based look at the Delegate Races. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or like Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates or to join the conversation. For those interested in individual general election poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as they are added. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.