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Electoral College: Trump takes the lead in North Carolina

Since the last update there have only been polls in North Carolina and Texas, but North Carolina makes a difference:

chart (120)

A particularly good poll for Clinton from April rolls off the average and now all the recent polls have Trump ahead or tied in North Carolina. The average is now a 2.2% Trump lead. North Carolina has been back and forth between Clinton and Trump several times over the last year, but Trump’s position at the moment is now better than it has been since last September.

Only a month ago, Clinton was at her best position in the last year. Is this an actual dramatic swing toward Trump in North Carolina? Maybe. It is also possible that there is just highly volatile polling, and Clinton had a good run, and now Trump is having a good run. The bottom line is that North Carolina has spent all but a handful of weeks in the last year with neither candidate having a lead of more than 5%. In other words, it is a close state that could go either way.

But for now, Trump is once again in the lead, so North Carolina goes into his column for the expected results:

chart (121)

Since North Carolina has more electoral votes than Arizona, this more than reverses the movement of the expected result from a few days ago when Arizona flipped (just barely) to the blue side.

Looking back and comparing now with exactly two months ago, we see that Trump’s best case has improved from a Clinton 20 EV win to a Trump 76 EV win. The “expected” case has improved from a 138 EV loss to a 130 EV loss. Clinton’s best case has stayed the same. The tipping point has also moved from Clinton by 5.2% to Clinton by 3.0%.

So in 3 out of 4 measures, Trump has improved. In the other there has been no change.

In the Pollster national poll average over the same time period Trump has gone from being behind by 7.4% to being behind by 6.6%. Wait… what was that last one?

Hasn’t everybody been talking about how Trump has been collapsing in the national polls? But he has actually gained ground in the past two months! What is going on here?

Here is the national chart from Pollster:

pollster-2016-general-election-trump-vs-clinton

How much and in what direction the gap has changed of course all depends on what timeframes you are comparing.

Trump had narrowed the national gap with Clinton to only about 3.2% in mid May. (The RCP average actually had him very slightly ahead at the peak.) Since then, he has fallen back.

But he is still better off than he was in late April. And he has improved even more dramatically if you compare to late March. So the longer term national trend is the gap between Trump and Clinton narrowing, despite the opposite movement in the last month.

With the high resolution polling on the national picture, you could see the “Trump Bump” when after securing the nomination Trump closed the gap and then fell back again. With the slower state by state picture, that essentially may have happened too quickly for it to be visible.

Overall Clinton is clearly in a dominant position over Trump.

But Trump has indeed been catching up in a number of states. He hadn’t actually pulled a state over to his side since February though. Just as it is now, it was also North Carolina back then… and that time it only lasted a month or so before the state went blue again.

We will see soon enough if North Carolina stays red longer this time, and if Trump can pull more “Weak Clinton” states to his side. Pulling back Arizona would be the obvious first target, followed by Pennsylvania, Iowa and Florida. With those four states, Trump would take an overall lead for the first time.

That is all it would take. Four states. Of these Trump is furthest behind in Florida, but he is only behind by 3.0% there. With all the talk of how dire Trump’s situation is, he really isn’t that far back.

If Trump has a few good weeks and Clinton has a few bad weeks, that can change quickly.

Keep watching. 135.8 days until the polls start closing on election day.

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.

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