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October 2016

Electoral College: Some post-debate Clinton gains

States with new poll data added since the last update: New Jersey, Florida, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts.

National Summary

The newest batch of polls… mostly post-debate polls… results in movement toward Clinton and away from Trump, which matches the consensus expectations after the debate this week:

  • Trump’s best case declines from Trump by 92 EV to Trump by 60 EV
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 1.3% in NH to Clinton by 2.1% in CO

Looking at the charts:


Although polls may still come in that change the shape of the last couple weeks, right now a clear pattern is emerging where both “best cases” have been moving in Clinton’s direction since about September 20th. More states are coming into Clinton’s potential reach, while other states are moving out of Trump’s reach.

Interestingly, the “expected” case, although it has fluctuated as big states move back and forth across the center line, is back at the same place it was in mid-September… Clinton leading by an extremely narrow 6 electoral votes.

But there are six states where the average shows Trump leading by less than 0.5%… North Carolina, Nevada, Kansas, Ohio, Florida, and Iowa. Even if you don’t believe Kansas (I am personally dubious about that one), that means there are 74 electoral votes where Trump is hanging on by a thread. If more polls pull those five non-Kansas states away, his expected case drops all the way to an 154 electoral vote loss.

Things look very close in the electoral college right now, but that could change in a hurry!

The volatility of the electoral college measure means to really judge how “close” the race is, we’d be better off looking at the tipping point:


Although the tipping point also has ups and downs as states move around, there is a trend here too. Trump peaked on September 7th when Clinton was ahead by only 0.7% (in Nevada). Since then, Trump has been losing ground. With the latest post-debate drop, Clinton’s lead in the tipping point state (now Colorado) is up to 2.1%.

At the moment Trump only has to flip Colorado to be in the lead. And a 2.1% lead is not a huge margin there. This is still close. Just not at close as it was.

So far the post-debate moves actually look more like a continuation of trends that started earlier rather than a big change caused by the debates, but even after five days, most of the close states just have a small number of post-debate polls, so we may not be seeing the complete picture yet.

37.9 days, 2 presidential debates, and 1 VP debate left to go until polls start to close…

State Details

All the state level details for those who want to dig in…

Weak Clinton to Strong Clinton


The poll average in Michigan has been moving toward Clinton since September 18th. With the latest update, which included two separate post-debate polls, Clinton’s lead increases to 5.7% which moved the state out of reach for Trump, leading to the reduction of his best case mentioned above.

Didn’t change categories, but moved the tipping point


Weak Trump to Weak Clinton then back again


With the latest batch of polls Florida moved from just barely Trump to just barely Clinton, then moved right back again. As this round ended, Florida ends up with an 0.3% Trump lead. The bottom line with Florida is it has been “close” for all but a few days since the conventions ended. Unless we start seeing a definitive movement in one direction or another, Florida remains “too close to call”.

Having said that, Trump has been boosted by outlier Google polls. In the chart above, EVERY poll showing Trump with a lead more than 5% has been a Google poll. Those polls really do look like outliers. If you took Google out, Clinton would be maintaining a small but clear lead in Florida… but we include everything, and so Florida is still hovering right around the zero line.

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on 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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