With just a few days until Iowa, the concentration is naturally on the delegate races, but general election polling continues as well. Until we have actual delegate counts, we’re still following changes for the five best polled candidate combination. With the newest batch of polls, we have two of the Republicans strengthening their position against Clinton in Minnesota.
Clinton vs Rubio
There hasn’t been a lot of polling in Minnesota, but what there is has been tilted further toward the Republicans than the five election average I use as a starting point for my poll averages. With the latest poll, the average moves to a Clinton lead of only 1.5%. This makes Minnesota start looking like a pretty close state. It makes Minnesota a possible pick up for Rubio, and therefore improves his “best case” against Clinton:
What’s remarkable looking at Clinton vs Rubio at this point is the huge number of close states. There are 146 electoral votes in the “up for grabs” category, where the polling margin is under 5% and it would be very easy to imagine the state going either way. Add to that that the tipping point is only a 0.2% Clinton lead, and Clinton vs Rubio is the most evenly matched of the five best polled candidate combinations by a decent margin. The race is very close, and the “best cases” for the two candidates are relatively close to being symmetric.
If the Republican race was about picking the candidate most likely to beat Clinton, Rubio would be way ahead. But it isn’t, and he isn’t.
Clinton vs Cruz
Cruz improved in Minnesota from being behind Clinton by 8.8%, to only being behind by 6.3%. This did not result in a category change, but it did move the tipping point… the state that puts the winning candidate over the edge if you put the states in order. We go from the tipping point being Virginia with a 7.6% Clinton lead, to being Florida with a 6.6% Clinton lead. This still means Cruz is very far behind. He is clearly losing to Clinton. It isn’t particularly close. But it is closer than it was. Cruz has been consistently improving on this metric since June. If Cruz stays in contention in the primaries, watch this number to see if this trend continues and Cruz starts making it an actually competitive race, or if Clinton vs Cruz continues to look like an easy Clinton win.
Clinton vs Trump
OK, technically Clinton vs Trump is #6 in terms of how well polled the candidate combination is, which means by my rules I wouldn’t be talking about it right now. But given Trump’s position in the polls, I’ll mention it anyway. New Clinton vs Trump polling in Michigan (not in Minnesota like the other two) increases Clinton’s lead from 2.4% to 3.0%. This does not move Michigan to a new category, but it does move the tipping point. In this case the tipping state was and still is Michigan, so the tipping margin just moves from 2.4% to 3.0%. There isn’t enough here to declare a real trend. And both 2.4% and 3.0% are “close”. So either way, a Clinton vs Trump race is one with a small Clinton advantage, but still a race that could go either way.
In just a few more days, we’ll have actual delegate leaders in both parties. Things are moving fast.
284.6 days until polls start to close on Election Day 2016.
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. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. 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.