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Electoral College: Trump Surge Sputtering Out?

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states and DC.

Notable changes in: Florida (29), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), Iowa (6), and the tipping point.

National Summary

It has been about two days since the last update. Since then the changes have been mixed, indicating that perhaps the recent movement toward Trump has topped out.

Good for Trump

  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 2.2% in NH to Clinton by 1.8% in NC
  • Trump’s best case has improved from a 100 EV win to a 112 EV win

Good for Clinton

  • The expected case moves from Clinton winning by 32 EV to Clinton winning by 108 EV
  • Clinton’s best case moves from a 178 EV win to a 210 EV win

Charts

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Discussion

While we have some indicators moving in each direction, the two to pay attention to are the expected electoral college result and the tipping point. The two “best case” scenarios give all states with a margin under 5% to one candidate or another. Those are both highly unlikely scenarios less than three days out from polls closing.

Even those two indicators are mixed though. If you had to decide who is favored in this update, you would still pick Trump though. Even though his expected electoral total has gone down, the tipping point moves a bit in his favor, meaning that the amount he has to move polls in order to win has lessened.

So while he is losing by more, the amount of effort to change that has still decreased.

The one caveat there is that while the tipping point has improved since my last update, looking at the actual trend line it seems to be down from a recent peak.

If you put all these mixed messages together, it looks like the recent “Trump Surge” may have reached a high water mark… or at least a pause.

At these levels Clinton is of course still winning. The electoral result according to the current averages would be Clinton 323 to Trump 215, a 108 electoral vote win for Clinton. Trump does better than Romney did here, but still loses.

Trump still has ways to win though. The easiest way right now would be for him to pull in Nevada (0.1% Clinton lead), New Hampshire (0.7% Clinton lead), Florida (1.8% Clinton lead), and North Carolina (1.8% Clinton lead). That would get him to a 269-269 tie and throw the election into the House of Representatives, where he would probably win. To win outright, he would need to also pull in Maine’s 2nd congressional district, where Clinton is currently leading by 2.0% in the Election Graphs average.

Moving things by 2% doesn’t seem that big a move in the grand scheme of things, but given the history of the race in terms of what seem to be the candidate’s floors and ceilings, as well as reports of early voting trends in some of those states (specifically Nevada and Florida), moving those states that last little bit is harder than it may seem just looking at the percentages. If anything, the preliminary early voting data seems to indicate Clinton may end up over-performing the polling, not the other way around.

Just to check in with the sites that give odds (which we do not), the chances of a Trump win given all the current information:

The median of these 8 estimates is 12%. That seems reasonable and in line with what I would expect from the Election Graphs numbers and the small amount of time left before the election is over.

2.5 days until polls start to close. We are almost there.

State Details

The following are the detailed charts for all the states that influenced the national changes outlined above.

Moving from Trump to Clinton

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Moving from Clinton to Trump

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Now possible Trump pickups

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Now possible Clinton pickups

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No longer possible Trump pickups

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Other states that helped move the tipping point

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A note about faithless electors

In the past few days there have been reports of first one, then two, expected electors from Washington state saying that that have decided to or are considering being “faithless electors” by voting for someone other than who they are “supposed to” when the Electoral College votes in December.

Yes, they can do that. In Washington state there would be a $1000 fine if they did, but they can do it, and it would count.

There was also one other potential elector from Georgia who suggested they would be faithless back in August. That potential elector came under extreme pressure and resigned, to be replaced by someone who would presumably vote the “right” way.

That might well happen to these two as well. But faithless electors can and do happen every few election cycles. In the last 50 years there were faithless electors in 2004, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1972, and 1968. That is 6 out of 12 elections during that period. Half. It would not be surprising if there were one or more faithless electors in 2016, especially given the contentious nature of the race. They have never made a difference in the final outcome.

The Election Graphs estimates show what the results “should be” given who wins various states. They do not take into account statements by individual electors on their intentions. If a scenario arises where it is close enough for electors who have made statements like this to potentially make a difference in the outcome or throw the race to the House, we will of course make note of that. And once electors vote in December, we will show the final tallies, including any votes cast by faithless electors.

A note about McMullin

Right now the Real Clear Politics average in Utah has McMullin 12.4% behind the lead. The 538 average in Utah has him 10.3% behind the lead. Although McMullin was a lot closer than anyone expected, he never got closer than 5% to the lead in Utah in these averages and now appears to be fading. 538 still has him in second place, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point that he will win electoral votes.

If that changes, I will of course note it in these updates and on the Election Graphs site.

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks a state poll based estimate of the Electoral College. 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.

Edit 13:56 UTC to add an additional paragraph break.

Electoral College: Trump Surge

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, DC, the Maine congressional districts, and the 2nd congressional district in Nebraska.

Notable changes in: Pennsylvania (20), Georgia (16), Michigan (16), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), New Hampshire (4), Alaska (3), and the tipping point.

With the current pace of polling, there are already a number of new polls out since the line was cut for this update. They will of course be included in the next update.

National Summary

It has been about four days since the last update. Since then the movement has all been towards Trump. Some of this has been movement from polls taken primarily after the Comey letter, but a some of it also represents movement that was already happening when that news broke.

Good for Trump:

  • The expected result has moved from a 62 EV Clinton win to only a 32 EV Clinton win
  • The tipping point has moved from Clinton by 5.3% in PA to Clinton by only 2.2% in NH
  • Clinton’s best case has declined from a 216 EV win to only a 178 EV win
  • Trump’s best case has shifted from a 6 EV loss to a 100 EV win

Charts

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Discussion

Four days ago Trump had tightened the expected electoral college case, but critical states like Pennsylvania were moving against him, so the job of getting to 270 electoral votes was actually getting harder despite the electoral college gap narrowing.

Not so any more. In the last few days, which added lots of post-Comey polls (as well as some covering the pre-Comey period too) the movement has ALL been toward Trump. There is no mixed message this time. No bright side for Clinton. In the last few days almost all of the polling news has been good for Trump and bad for Clinton.

Now, she is still ahead. But Trump once again has a path. The “easiest” path at this point would be to win all the states he is currently leading, then pull in Nevada (0.6% Clinton lead), Iowa (0.9% Clinton lead) and New Hampshire (2.2% Clinton lead). Or he could get any one of those states, plus Virginia (3.2% Clinton lead). Or just Pennsylvania (3.4% Clinton lead). Or just Michigan (4.3% Clinton lead).

All of these states are ones where a few days ago Clinton’s lead was much stronger. Trump has been making gains all over the map.

How much of this is Comey? Some for sure, but as I’ve pointed out before, the expected electoral college been moving slowly toward Trump for weeks. But that did seem to have somewhat stalled out. The tipping point was moving back toward Clinton. With the Comey letter the move toward Trump came back with a vengeance.

We’re not quite at Trump’s highs from September, but we are getting near there. Now, even at his best point in September, Trump was still losing to Clinton. But it was close. And it is close again now. The Trump surge is real, and he has made this a race again.

The tipping point is at 2.2%. That is within the zone where a systematic polling error or a last minute news event that happens too late to be captured in polls could reverse the result. A Trump win COULD happen. This is not impossible.

Clinton is still heavily favored though.

This site does not produce “odds”, just the range of “you shouldn’t be completely shocked” outcomes, which is intentionally pretty wide. Right now, a Clinton win is expected, but a Trump win is not out of the question.

Lots of places do produce odds though. Here is the current rundown in terms of percentage chance of Trump winning:

I was asked on Twitter yesterday for my odds. Given that my model does not produce a number for this, I was reluctant to give an exact number. But I gave a range and said between 5% and 10%. With a few additional polls added since then, I’d go toward the higher end of that range. Maybe 7% to 10%.

Why that range?

Trump is getting very close to Clinton, but in all the prior polling movement in the campaign Trump has never been able to actually pull into the lead. It seems like he reaches a ceiling and gets to the point where to gain any further he has to not just convince the wishy-washy undecideds, but he has to start getting actual Clinton supporters to flip, which seems like a much harder job.

But until September I thought Trump’s ceiling was matching Romney’s performance in 2012. With current polling, Trump wins every state Romney won, then adds Florida and Ohio. So levels that look like ceilings can indeed be broken. Another bad news cycle for Clinton, or even some systematic error in the polling could easily put us there.

So 7% to 10% seems reasonable.

If a Trump win does happen, surprise is warranted, because he would have beaten the odds, but not shock, because he IS close.

If Trump was a hurricane that was four days out, we would be “within the cone”. Toward the edge of the cone to be sure. We are not directly on the projected path. We expect it to miss us. But we would be making preparations just in case the storm swerves and hits us.

4.3 days until we stop looking at polls and start looking at actual election results.

State Details

The following are the detailed charts for all the states that influenced the national changes outlined above.

Moving from Clinton to Trump

chart-357

Moving into reach for Trump

chart-358

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Moving out of Clinton’s reach

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Other states that helped move the tipping point

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A note about McMullin

Election Graphs is designed around showing the Republican – Democrat margin, and there is not enough time before the election to revamp the site to properly account for 3rd parties that are strong enough to have a shot at winning electoral votes.

Right now the Real Clear Politics average in Utah has McMullin 12.0% behind the lead. The 538 average in Utah has him 10.3% behind the lead. Although McMullin was a lot closer than anyone expected, he never got closer than 5% to the lead in Utah in these averages and now appears to be fading. 538 still has him in second place, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point that he will win electoral votes.

If that changes, I will of course note it in these updates and on the Election Graphs site.

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks a state poll based estimate of the Electoral College. 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.

Edit 17:45 UTC to fix some wording in the hurricane comparison paragraph.

Edit 19:53 UTC to fix a Comey/Comet autocorrect.

Electoral College: Trump improving, but not enough

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, DC, and the Maine congressional districts

Notable changes in: Iowa, Georgia, Utah, Alaska, Indiana, Missouri, Maine (CD2), and the tipping point

National Summary

It has been about six days since my last update and the trend since then has been toward Trump. Here are the stats:

Good for Trump:

  • The expected result changed from a 140 EV Clinton win to a 130 EV Clinton win
  • The tipping point moved from Clinton by 4.9% in PA to Clinton by 4.1% in PA
  • Clinton’s best case declined from a 238 EV win to only a 234 EV win

No change

  • Trump’s best case remained a 34 EV win

Charts

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Discussion

With all the data we have now, looking back to the release of “the tape” on October 7th the overall movement has been mixed. Both candidates have improved their “best cases” as states that were not close have gotten closer… on both sides. So this doesn’t show a move toward one candidate or another, but rather some red states getting less red while simultaneously some blue states got less blue.

Some of the really close states moved across the center line… in both directions… resulting in a net movement of the expected electoral college margin toward Trump by 24 electoral votes… but the most indicative sign of movement toward Trump is actually the tipping point.

Since the release of the tape the tipping point has moved from Clinton leading by 6.0% (in Virginia) to Clinton leading by only 4.1% (in Pennsylvania). So… with some of the worst news cycles for a politician in decades, with day after day after day of negative revelations…  Trump improved his position by nearly 2%.

How to interpret this? My best guess… Most people were pretty well set on their Trump vs Clinton choice prior to the reveal of the tapes and the subsequent sexual assault allegations. In the wake of the first debate the part of the public that was persuadable had already swung us from near Trump’s ceiling to near Trump’s floor. With the string of additional bad news, very few die hard Trump supporters moved away from him, while some number of those persuadables viewed this as the press piling on Trump and went back to him thinking this was unfair.

But to be honest, the above is trying to make up a story to fit the numbers. Is it right? I don’t know.

In the end though, the reality is that in the face of a hurricane of bad coverage, Trump has actually improved his position.

Despite the improvement, Trump is still losing by a significant margin, but Trump’s best case does still includes a win.

If he keeps all the states he leads, then flips Arizona, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, he could still pull out a narrow win. Arizona is close enough it could flip back easily enough. North Carolina and Florida have both been back and forth over the past couple months, so seeing them go red again would not be shocking.

Pennsylvania is the hard pull. While he made it close in September, Trump has never led in Pennsylvania. And Trump needs Pennsylvania to win. Right now, this is Clinton’s firewall.

Clinton would clearly like to be leading in Pennsylvania by more than 4.1%… but even at that margin, it is a tall wall for Trump to climb.

There are 13.7 days left until the first polls close. With less than two weeks left to go now, it is almost certainly too late for Trump to flip all the states he would need to flip in order to win. But if he manages to continue the trend of the last couple of weeks, it is enough time for him to make it close enough that Democrats will start to panic.

State Details

The following are the detailed state charts for states that influenced the status changes since the last update.

Weak Clinton to Weak Trump

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Weak Trump to Weak Clinton

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Influencing the tipping point

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Now possible Clinton pickups

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No longer possible pickups for Clinton

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A note about McMullin

Election Graphs is designed around showing the Republican – Democrat margin, and there is not enough time before the election to revamp the site to properly account for 3rd parties that are strong enough to have a shot at winning electoral votes.

Right now the Real Clear Politics average in Utah has McMullin 5.5% behind the lead. The 538 average in Utah has him 8.5% behind the lead. If/when McMullin is within 5% according to either of these averages, I will add notes to both the Utah and National pages about the possibility of McMullin winning Utah’s 6 electoral votes.

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks a state poll based estimate of the Electoral College. 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.

Electoral College: Trump breaks the Romney barrier

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states and DC. Multiple times each. Notable changes in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine (All), and Georgia.

There have been tons of polls, including “50 state” polls from three different sources, one of which had weekly data going back four weeks that needed to be added. There were many shifts caused by this batch of polls. We’ll look at all the charts, but lets start with the headline:

The Romney Barrier

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The averages in Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina all moved from Clinton to Trump. Iowa did move in the opposite direction, but it is much smaller, so the net change was dramatically toward Trump.

Before this batch of changes, the “expected” result if everybody won the states they lead was Clinton 341 to Trump 197… a 144 electoral vote win for Clinton.

With this batch of polls, the expected result is now Clinton 285 to Trump 253. This is still a Clinton win, but now by only 32 electoral votes.

From February onward this race had been stuck in the zone with Trump losing by margins between McCain’s loss (192 electoral votes) and Romney’s loss (126 electoral votes).

For the first time since February, Trump is now looking like he would do better than Romney did. Trump now matches Romney’s map, but adds Florida and Ohio. It isn’t quite enough to win, but Trump is now closer than he has ever been… and doing better than the last two Republican candidates.

Some folks were looking at Clinton’s lead in mid-August and were trumpeting the possibility of a Clinton landslide in early August. It was just looking like a solid win for Clinton back then, not a landslide, but things have actually moved in the opposite direction. A 32 electoral college win is more like a squeaker. It would only take Michigan flipping to get us to a 269 to 269 electoral college tie.

(There were also changes in the “best cases” from a lot of states moving in both directions. Trump’s best case went from winning by 68 electoral votes to winning by 66 electoral votes. Clinton’s best case went from winning by 210 electoral votes to winning by 190. So the overall range of possible outcomes reduced.)

Tipping Point

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Now, despite the expected case moving in Trump’s direction, changes in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had the net effect of… zero. Well, to be precise the tipping point changed from a 3.4% Clinton lead in Florida to a 3.4% Clinton lead in Michigan. So the state that holds the balance shifted, but the actual percentage did not.

Looking at the trends though, rather than just the change in this update, while the expected case has clearly been moving in Trumps direction the last few weeks, the tipping point has been trending toward Clinton.

What does this mean?

At a basic level it means that while Trump has made the race closer, pulling over the next few states he needs to win is getting harder.

3.4% is still close, but if Trump is at or near his ceiling, it may be a tough last 3.4% to move.

To be absolutely clear, with all of the above Clinton is still a strong favorite. Trump has made it a lot closer than it was, but he still has a lot of work to do to pull the remaining states he would need past the line to secure an electoral college victory. It isn’t impossible. It is just very hard.

Individual States

OK, with the two national summaries out of the way, time for a run down of all the states that shifted in ways that caused changes to the expected or best cases. I’ll just do a run down of all the graphs without commentary on each one. For the most part they speak for themselves. Keep an eye out for the polls that look like outliers. In some cases if new polls don’t back those up, the changes described here may reverse themselves quickly as new polls come in.

States moving from Clinton to Trump:

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States moving from Trump to Clinton:

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States now in play for Trump:

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States now in play for Clinton:

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States no longer in play for Trump:

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States no longer in play for Clinton:

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What’s Next

This batch of polls was huge, so in the time it took me to complete it, there have already been a bunch of new polls which I will be adding as soon as I can. Even if those polls don’t change anything, there will be polls soon enough that do. This is a dynamic race, and as I post this we have 54.7 days left until we start getting the actual results. Hang on tight, we’re in for a nice ride before we are done.

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.

[Update 07:16 UTC to add comment about outliers.]

[Updated 07:27 UTC to fix some awkward wording.]

Electoral College: Georgia Red Again (Barely)

States with new poll data since the last update: Georgia, Nevada

For the first time this month, we have a categorization change that goes in Trump’s direction. This time it is in Georgia:

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With new polling, two of the three results showing a Clinton lead in Georgia roll off the average, replaced by results showing Trump ahead. The average in the state moves to a 0.4% Trump lead. This is an incredibly narrow lead. Georgia really could go either way. But for the moment, Georgia is once again on the more familiar red side of the center line.

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With this, the “expected” result, where each candidate just wins all the states they are ahead in, returns to Clinton 347 to Trump 191, a 156 electoral vote win for Clinton. Still clearly in the zone where Trump does better than McCain (192 electoral vote loss) but worse than Romney (126 electoral vote loss).

Does this indicate Trump has bottomed and is now on the rebound? Well… Georgia is a state that has looked close for months. The polls bounce around quite a bit. A move from a 0.8% Clinton lead to a 0.4% Trump lead may not be super significant. It may flip back with the very next poll. So as usual, use caution in interpreting a move like this. If it is followed up by more good news for Trump, then we can start talking about a Trump rebound. For now, that is still premature.

81.1 days left until the polls start to close.

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.

Electoral College: Blue Georgia?

States with new poll data since the last updateGeorgia, Michigan

The string of bad news for Trump continues. This time out of Georgia:

chart-233

Georgia has looked like a swing state ever since there were enough Clinton vs Trump polls to draw any real conclusions. It has consistently looked close. There was even a brief time in May where Clinton led in Georgia.*

With the latest results in Georgia, Clinton once again leads… but the polls in the average range from Clinton +4.0% to Trump +4.0%. The average itself is very close. Clinton only leads by 0.3%. The only real conclusion here right now is that Georgia could go either way. Which is remarkable, since this is Georgia. Georgia hasn’t gone blue since Bill Clinton won there in 1992.

Clinton’s very narrow lead here may well disappear with the very next poll, but for the moment, she is slightly ahead, so Georgia goes into her column.

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If each candidate wins each of the states they are ahead in, Clinton now wins 357 to 181, a 176 electoral vote margin. This doesn’t yet match her high in May of a 188 electoral vote win in the expected case, but it is getting close.

With talk of a massive Trump loss once again dominating the chatter about the election, keep in mind that a 176 electoral vote margin still places Trump in the zone where he is doing worse than Romney (126 EV loss) but better than McCain (192 EV loss). Trump is losing, but it is the same sort of loss as the last couple of Republican candidates, not something of historic proportions. At least not at the moment.

Of course, there are 94.2 days until the polls close. That is plenty of time for things to change. A lot. It could get worse for Trump… or it could get better. It may well be that the latest drops are part of a Clinton convention bounce and not permanent damage for Trump. We’ll know better in a few weeks.

* This was not noted at the time because the poll that pushed Clinton over the edge wasn’t found and added until after the state had popped back to Trump.

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.

Electoral College: Georgia a swing state?

Since the last update on the Electoral College picture there have been polls in Wisconsin, California (x2), Mississippi, Virginia, Pennsylvania (x2), Maryland (x2), New York (x5), Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Utah, and Georgia. The only one of these that resulted in a change in the overall 2016 electoral college summary was the poll in Georgia.

That poll was bad news for both Trump and Cruz. It showed both of them losing to Clinton. We don’t pay attention to individual polls of course, we look at the averages. But in both cases adding in this new poll drops the Republican lead in Georgia to less than 5%, which means that Georgia may be in play for Clinton this year. Georgia hasn’t been blue since 24 years ago when it voted for another Clinton in 1992.

Lets look specifically at the two match-ups here:

Clinton vs Trump

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Georgia has been sparsely polled. It was not particularly expected to be a swing state. For Clinton vs Trump we only have three polls and so are still using the 2012 and 2008 election results to fill in the poll average. This new poll represents a really large move from the others as well, so there is a potential that future polls will show it to be an outlier.

But with those caveats, we now only have a 3.6% lead for Trump, which is close enough that we include picking up Georgia in Clinton’s “best case”.

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Clinton’s best case, where she wins not only the states she is ahead in, but also picks up the states where she is currently less than 5% behind… that would currently be Colorado (1.9% Trump lead), Georgia (3.6% Trump lead), and Missouri (4.7% Trump lead)… is now a 208 electoral vote win. The last time the margin was that large was when Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole with a 220 electoral vote margin in 1996.

Keep in mind however that this is Clinton’s best case. The “expected” result is a narrower 138 electoral vote win. That is in between Obama’s win in 2012 (126 electoral votes) and his win in 2008 (192 electoral votes).

Trump’s best case, where he picks up all six of the weak Clinton states (North Carolina, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and Minnesota) is still to pull out a 30 electoral vote win.

The downward trend in Trump’s general election polling that started in January continues. The questions are “How far does he fall before he bottoms?” and “Can Trump rebound after that?”.

Assuming he is the nominee of course.

Time to look at the other contender:

Clinton vs Cruz

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Like Clinton vs Trump, there have only been three polls of Clinton vs Cruz, but in this case one of the three is much older. We’re still filling the average with the 2012 and 2008 election results as well.

With the new poll, Cruz’s lead in Georgia is down to only 1.4%. Unlike the Clinton vs Cruz case we actually have two polls showing a similar result, so the case that this is just an outlier is a little weaker.

In any case, the average now shows Georgia as a close state.

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Clinton’s best case here improves to winning by 188 electoral votes.

Comparing Cruz and Trump, Cruz is doing better in the tipping point metric, in his worst case, and his expected case. He and Trump tie in their best case, with the narrow 30 electoral vote win.

Cruz’s trend has also generally been an improving trend. Today’s change is actually notable for being only the third decline for Cruz in my summary in the last year.

This decline then brings up the opposite question than the one we asked about Trump. Rather than asking when we will reach a bottom, with Cruz the question is when he will peak.

203.4 days until the general election polls start to close.

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.

Republicans: Trump wins Nevada, plus a look at Super Tuesday

Once again the headline out of a state is Trump winning. In Nevada the delegate count was:

14 Trump, 7 Rubio, 6 Cruz, 2 Carson, 1 Kasich

To be on the glide path for a 1st ballot victory though, Trump needed 15 of the 30 delegates. So he fell slightly short.

Now, don’t misunderstand. This is still an impressive victory, and looking at the upcoming states he has a clearer path to victory than anybody else. His margins were higher in Nevada than many people expected. But if today’s performance was replicated in all of the other states, Trump would come to the convention with more delegates than anybody else, but not the majority needed to win outright. Of course as we continue more people will drop out, and the amount with which states give bonuses to the winners increases, so that still seems like an unlikely final outcome.

Right now Trump continues to do everything he needs to do to win. Lets look at some of the graphs, then we’ll do a quick look at the March 1st “Super Tuesday” states.

chart-47

The overall delegate count is now:

81 Trump, 17 Cruz, 17 Rubio, 6 Kasich, 5 Carson, and 7 for people who have dropped out

Trump continues to dominate. Lets look at this as percentages:

chart-48

The “winners” here were actually Cruz, Rubio and Carson. Each of them improved their proportion of delegates with Nevada’s results. Trump actually went down. He doesn’t have to worry too much about that though. He still has a majority of the delegates allocated so far, and he is far far ahead of any of his opponents.

Finally, lets look at the “% of remaining delegates needed to win”, which I argue is the single most important thing to look at to understand where the race really is:

chart-49

Because Trump got 14 delegates instead of 15 delegates, his line goes up a little bit. (Remember, on this chart down is good, up is bad.) The red line goes from needing 49.39% of the remaining delegates to needing 49.42%. This is a relatively trivial difference though. It is basically flat. Trump’s situation is very close to unchanged.

Meanwhile, the other lines keep going up at a decent pace. Kasich and Carson add about 0.6% to their numbers. Cruz and Rubio add about 0.4%.

This should be obvious, but the more they lose, the harder it is to catch up.

Many people are still talking about how as consolidation happens, the remaining non-Trumps will do better and the picture will change. Maybe, but nobody new announced they were dropping out after the Nevada results (yet anyway). So it looks like we may still go into March 1st with a five person race.

Lets run a hypothetical using current polling on the Super Tuesday states and see where we end up using RCP poll averages for the five remaining candidates. We’ll make delegate estimates based on the specific delegate allocation rules in each state.

Texas (155 delegates)

  • Current poll averages: 37.3% Cruz, 28.0% Trump, 11.7% Rubio, 4.7% Carson, 3.0% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 99 Cruz, 56 Trump

Georgia (76 delegates)

  • Current poll averages: 35.0% Trump, 22.7% Cruz, 19.3% Rubio, 7.3% Carson, 6.3% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 50 Trump, 26 Cruz

Tennessee (58 delegates)

  • Last poll from November so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 37 Trump, 21 Cruz

Alabama (50 delegates)

  • Last poll from December so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 32 Trump, 18 Cruz

Virginia (49 delegates)

  • Using only February poll: 28% Trump, 22% Rubio, 19% Cruz, 7% Kasich, 7% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 17 Trump, 13 Rubio, 11 Cruz, 4 Kasich, 4 Carson

Oklahoma (43 delegates)

  • Using only February poll: 32.5% Trump, 25.0% Cruz, 15.5% Rubio, 7.0% Carson, 0.0% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 17 Trump, 15 Cruz, 11 Rubio

Massachusetts (42 delegates)

  • Current poll averages: 41.0% Trump, 17.0% Rubio, 10.0% Cruz, 7.5% Kasich, 3.5% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 23 Trump, 9 Rubio, 6 Cruz, 4 Kasich

Arkansas (40 delegates)

  • Using only February poll: 27% Cruz, 23% Trump, 23% Rubio, 11% Carson, 4% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 18 Cruz, 13 Rubio, 9 Trump (giving Rubio the 2nd place finish breaking 23% tie by alphabetical order)

Minnesota (38 delegates)

  • Last poll from January so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 18 Trump, 11 Cruz, 9 Rubio

Wyoming (29 delegates)

  • No polls at all, using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 12 Trump, 7 Cruz, 5 Rubio, 3 Kasich, 2 Carson

Alaska (28 delegates)

  • Last poll from January so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 13 Trump, 8 Cruz, 7 Rubio

Vermont (16 delegates)

  • No polls at all, using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 10 Trump, 6 Cruz

OK, that’s it.  Adding all that up…

Estimated Super Tuesday delegate totals: 294 Trump, 246 Cruz, 67 Rubio, 11 Kasich, 6 Carson

That gives Trump 47.1% of the super Tuesday delegates, Cruz 39.4%, and everyone else much less.

Trump needs 49.4% of the delegates to be on the path to an outright win though! So 47.1% would be in the realm where heading to a contested convention might be possible! Still unlikely, as the additional states in March will add up fast, and more candidates are likely to drop out. Still though, possible!

Adding in the existing delegates, we’d have a post-Super Tuesday race that looks like this:

375 Trump, 263 Cruz, 84 Rubio, 17 Kasich, 11 Carson, 7 for candidates who have already dropped out

Now, these are estimates based on current polling, and very few of these states were well polled as of this post, so much of the above is based on one or two polls, or using the national averages rather than state polls. And I had to make the assumption that all congressional districts would mirror state results (which is unlikely to be true). And Wyoming actually elects individual delegates rather than doing things based on candidate preference, so it may be an oddball in the end. And of course things are likely to change further before people actually vote next Tuesday. But… the general outlines of this aren’t likely to be too far off.

If this is even remotely close to where we are on March 2nd, we end up with Trump very close to the 50% of delegate mark. (The above has him EXACTLY at that mark.) He would need just a LITTLE bit more to actually push him over the edge to a clean win.

The flip side of that though is the combination of all the anti-Trumps would need just a LITTLE bit more in order to have this be on the path to a contested convention. I mentioned earlier that this is still an unlikely outcome. It is. After March 1st, the disproportionality of delegates given to the winner increases, and after March 15th we have pure winner take all states as well. If Trump remains in the overall lead, even with a plurality, then that is all it takes to push him over the edge.

If the anti-Trumps want to have any hope here at all, they need to be in a position by mid-March that they can win not just a few, but many states of the winner-take-most and winner-take-all variety. And frankly, the most likely scenario even then is just forcing a contested convention where Trump still has the most delegates, not someone else winning outright.

The anti-Trumps would have a hard road to get to an outright win. Cruz would need 56.8% of the remaining delegates to catch up and win after March 1st if things played out like my estimates above.

If you had to make a guess based on what we know now, a Trump nomination is far more likely than any other… and with an outright delegate majority on the first ballot, not after a contested convention.

6 days until Super Tuesday. We’ll see how close my estimates above turn out to be.

Update 2016-02-26 07:17 UTC – On February 22nd New Hampshire certified the results of their primary. In the final tally Trump had one more delegate than previous estimates, and Rubio one less. This did not seem worthy of a separate post, but a note here seemed appropriate. The totals on ElectionGraphs.com have been updates appropriately. This does not substantively change any of the analysis above.

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.

[Edit 16:28 UTC to correct math on % of remaining Cruz would need after Super Tuesday, I’d originally shown a higher number around 61%.]

[Edit 2016-02-27 17:06 UTC to fix place where Kasich had been autocorrected to Quash.]

[Edit 2016-02-28 22:03 UTC to add dropped out candidates to the after Super Tuesday estimate.]

Electoral College: 01:15 – Lots of states, All expected

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 310 228
Current Status 206 332
Obama Best Case 190 348

There were no states called between 00:45 UTC and 01:00 UTC so there was no 01:00 update.

But there were tons of states called between 01:00 and 01:15 though.

  • Obama: CT, DE, DC, IL, MD, MA, ME-All, ME-1, RI
  • Romney: OK, GA

I also corrected the light blue line in the chart, which I’d neglected to decrement when Romney won South Carolina.  That line represents the states where Romney was ahead by more than 5%, but less than 10%.

The three scenarios remain the same though, as no close states have been called.  In 2008, since McCain’s best case was still to lose, I also tracked a “McCain SuperBest” case on election night, the case where he would have won all the states he was behind by less than 10% in.  That was to keep it interesting in a race that wasn’t close.  No need for that this time.

This time we wait for the states that are actually close.

Electoral College: A bunch of states get closer, but not the right ones for Romney

As election day approaches, the number of polls coming in each day has increased dramatically, and that means some states will be jiggling just from the higher volume of polling, although some of it may represent actual movement too.

Today according to the five poll average, five states change categories today, and they all move toward the center, toward being more competitive.  But when we look at them, it turns out none of these (with one possible exception) look like they will be in a position to make any difference in this race.  Let’s take a look at each of them anyway:

Missouri had been trending further toward Romney, but the last poll looks like Obama may be gaining a bit of support there.  It doesn’t matter though, Romney is going to win Missouri.

Wisconsin had bounced up to over a 5% Obama lead.  It now falls below that level to a 4.5% Obama lead.  This is close enough that I once again classify Wisconsin as “Lean Obama” and therefore a state that Romney could win.  But of all the close states, this is the one with the second largest Obama lead.  There are many closer states that are better Romney targets as he tries to claw his way to 270.

Ever since Thursday I have been mentioning the big ugly outlier in Virginia.  Well, today it finally rolls off the five poll average.  With this the average drops to a 3.6% Obama lead.  Virginia would never have left the “close state” category without the outlier, but even without the outlier, Obama has been making gains in Virginia.  A week ago all the polling indicated a tied race in Virginia.  No longer.  It is still close, but now Obama has a clear lead.

Of the states changing status today, Virginia is currently the closest, and it is also the only one with a history of actually being very close.  At the moment, Virginia isn’t close enough compared to the other close states to actually be part of Romney’s “easiest path to victory” which I’ll cover later in the post, but given the history of polling in the state, it could easily get closer again before we are done, so it still has a chance of making a difference in the race if Romney can win it.

This state is “getting closer” only because the outlier is rolling off the average though.  Without the outlier, the trend is actually toward Obama in Virginia.  Virginia seems to be slipping away from Romney.

I am showing a chart since August to show a bit more context for Georgia.  The five poll average moved to a greater than 10% lead for Romney due to what is a clear outlier in September.  Polling has been sparse in Georgia, because it hasn’t been in contention this cycle, so that outlier only rolled off the average today.  I now have Romney with a 7.5% lead in Georgia.

So this “gain” for Obama doesn’t matter.  Romney will be winning in Georgia.

Michigan has been hovering right around the 5% Obama lead mark for the last month or so.  Usually Obama’s lead is slightly more, with today’s update it is slightly less…  4.7%.  This is due to one recent poll that actually shows Romney ahead in Michigan!  This is out of line with all other recent polling, but as usual, I do not manually remove outliers, I let the averages do their thing.  (Although I keep thinking that maybe in 2016 I should use a median, which is less sensitive to these things.)

Anyway,  at 4.7%, Michigan has the biggest Obama lead of any of the current crop of “close states”.  Like Wisconsin, this means that there are a lot of other states that would be easier for Romney to take the lead in that Michigan.  If Romney actually pulls ahead in Michigan, this means it is very likely that he has already pulled ahead in all of the other close states…  at which point he would not only have won, but be heading for a pretty comfortable victory.

So while it might be a bit closer than it was (maybe), Michigan is still quite unlikely to end up flipping to Romney, or to be one of the critical states in the last days.

This brings us to the new map and summary:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 338 200
Current Status 206 332
Obama Best Case 190 348

Romney’s best case now actually is the best it has been ALL YEAR LONG, exceeding his best case at the peak after the 1st presidential debate.  In a sense, this does represent a Romney comeback in the last few days.  He *is* making a bunch of states closer.  He has taken a bunch of states where Obama had been ahead by more than 5%, and pulled them back so they are somewhat close.  This may help him in the popular vote, but in the electoral college, it doesn’t look like he has moved any of these states ENOUGH.  He may be making states closer, but he is NOT pulling them over the line to him.

Meanwhile, while Obama hasn’t been pulling ahead by more than 5% in more states, and he hasn’t managed to pull any more states to his side either, he actually has been increasing his lead in some of the most critical states.

Time to take a look in more detail by comparing the five poll average now to the five poll average 7 days ago:

  • Nebraska 2nd (1):  3.8% Romney lead a week ago, 3.8% Romney lead now (no change)
  • North Carolina (15):  2.4% Romney lead a week ago, 2.4% Romney lead now (no change)
  • Colorado (9):  2.8% Obama lead a week ago, 0.4% Obama lead now (2.4% move toward Romney)
  • Florida (29):  0.8% Romney lead a week ago, 1.1% Obama lead now (0.3% move toward Obama)
  • New Hampshire (4):  1.0% Obama lead a week ago, 2.6% Obama lead now (1.6% move toward Obama)
  • Ohio (18):  2.0% Obama lead a week ago, 3.4% Obama lead now (1.4% move toward Obama)
  • Iowa (6): 1.2% Obama lead a week ago, 3.4% Obama lead now (1.2% move toward Obama)
  • Virginia (13): 0.4% Obama lead a week ago, 3.6% Obama lead now (3.4% move toward Obama)
  • Pennsylvania (20): 4.6% Obama lead a week ago, 3.8% Obama lead now (0.8% move toward Romney)
  • Maine 2nd (1): 6.1% Obama lead a week ago, 4.2% Obama lead now (1.9% move toward Romney)
  • Nevada (6): 2.8% Obama lead a week ago, 4.2% Obama lead now (1.4% move toward Obama)
  • Wisconsin (10): 3.8% Obama lead a week ago, 4.5% Obama lead now (0.7% move toward Obama)
  • Michigan (16): 6.5% Obama lead a week ago, 4.7% Obama lead now (1.8% move toward Romney)

That is a lot of close states!  But what can be seen here?  Out of 13 close areas, only FOUR moved toward Romney in the last week.  Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maine’s 2nd congressional district, and Michigan.  Of these only Colorado is in Romney’s easiest path to victory.  I listed the states above in order by the level of Romney support from highest to lowest.

That means the states he NEEDS to be improving in the most in order to win are Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Iowa.  Looks like Colorado is almost tied now, so I guess whatever Romney is doing there is working and is time well spent.  But the rest of these critical states are moving the wrong direction for Romney.

There has been speculation that Romney is trying to do a “hail mary” of some sort, trying to actually win Pennsylvania and Michigan as an alternate path to victory.  The states he is ahead in, plus Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania and then Michigan is certainly another path to victory.  But given Obama’s current leads in those states, going through New Hampshire, Ohio and Iowa certainly seems like an easier path than Pennsylvania and Michigan.  Perhaps Romney’s internal polling shows Obama’s support is “softer” in these states though.

For the most part though, this looks like effort put into the wrong places, while Obama consolidates his leads in the states more likely to be the tipping point.  And that is the cue for today’s tipping point graph:

The Virginia outlier is gone, so now the chart can be interpreted directly.  (I’ve removed the little x’s showing what things would have looked like if I had manually removed the outlier.)  Iowa is now the tipping point state, and Obama is ahead by 3.4% in Iowa.  There was a dip in the past few days (which was slightly more without the Virginia outlier) but Obama’s popped up again.  If Romney manages to move the polls in all the close states by at least 3.4%, he can win.  But that is a tall order at this point.  A very tall order.

As I type there are 48 hours and a few minutes left until the first polls start closing on election night.  3.4% is a huge move in such a short time.  Something incredibly dramatic would have to happen to move opinion that much in the final moments.

Romney’s only real hope at this point is that all the polls are wrong.

Absent that, Obama wins a second term.

Note: Chart and map from the Abulsme.com 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Both assume Obama vs Romney with no strong third party candidate and show polling as it currently exists. Things will change before election day. On the map red is Romney, blue is Obama, gold states are too close to call. Lines on the chart represent how many more electoral votes a candidate would have than is needed to tie under several different scenarios. Up is good for Obama, Down is good for Romney.