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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 drop continues (mostly)

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

Notable changes in: Arizona, Indiana, Maine (CD2), and the tipping point

National Summary

At this point we have many polls that are fully or partially after the “Trump Tape” release on the 7th, but this batch of polls still included many where most of the time in the field was before that. And of course the state averages here are based on at least the last five polls in each state, so reach even further back in time. The close states tend to be based on polls with middates going back 1-3 weeks.

All that is to say that the changes we are seeing now are starting to include the fallout from that event, but haven’t yet fully factored it in.

With that out of the way, the changes for this round:

  • The expected result moves from Clinton by 176 EV to Clinton by 154 EV
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 5.9% in MN to Clinton by 6.5% in PA
  • Clinton’s best case improves from winning by 202 EV to winning by 226 EV

So wait, the expected result moved toward Trump! Why is the title of this post about Trump’s drop continuing?

Well, basically because the improvement in the expected case is a result of Arizona moving from just barely Clinton, to just barely Trump. Either way it is really too close to call. It may flip back again with the next update. Or maybe it won’t.

But meanwhile, polling changes in Minnesota, Virginia, and Pennsylvania moved the tipping point further toward Clinton, meaning that overall Trump has to move polls even further in order to actually flip the results of the election.

And Clinton expanded her best case a bit as well.

Here are the charts:

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The trend in both charts is clear. After peaking right before the 1st debate Trump has been falling. This is more dramatic in the tipping point chart, but it is clear no matter which way you look at the race.

There is no time left for a Trump comeback from behind win from these levels. It would take something massive that would completely reverse everything we know about this race so far. It would be an unprecedented reversal. Impossible? No. Incredibly unlikely? Yes.

A few weeks ago Trump had managed to make this race close. But it was short-lived. Starting with the debate he has been dropping steadily. We don’t yet have signs that we have hit bottom either. There have been new negative stories about Trump almost every day. Further drops would not be surprising.

We’re no longer really talking about who will win this election. Clinton will win this election. The only question is by how much.

25.8 days left until we have the first actual election results.

State Details

Weak Clinton to Weak Trump

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The latest polls not only move Arizona from Weak Clinton to Weak Trump, but since older polls were added, they actually moved the past curve Trumpward, such that we no longer have a recent period with Clinton in the lead at all. The trend has still been away from Trump toward Clinton since the 1st debate, but Clinton hasn’t pulled Arizona over to her side quite yet.

Moving into Clinton’s reach

chart-341

Trump’s lead in Indiana has been diminishing since late August. With the latest updates Trump is up 4.8%. Trump still leads, but it is now close enough that a Clinton win does not seem impossible. Still a stretch to be sure, but no longer unimaginable.

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Maine’s 2nd congressional district had looked like it would definitely split from the state this cycle giving Trump a somewhat unusual pickup. With the post-debate polls, Trump still leads, but his lead is slipping, and so it now seems that this single electoral vote is now up for grabs. Clinton could steal it back.

States that moved the tipping point

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For more information…

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: Poll Churn (mostly pre-debate)

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, and DC. Notable changes in the tipping point plus New Mexico, Maine (at large), Kansas, and Missouri.

National Summary

With the latest batch of updates, there was a lot of churn that caused some big movements if you look at the charts. For a while as I entered polls it looked like Trump’s peak was definite and a clear downward trend was in place, even before the debate. But then as I continued to enter polls, most of those Clinton gains were reversed.

The primary reason for this? Florida [29 EV], Ohio [18 EV], and North Carolina [15 EV] are all currently very close in my averages. Close enough that single polls can move them back and forth across the center line. As I worked through this round of poll updates, all three of these states moved from Weak Trump to Weak Clinton and back again. Now, the actual changes in the averages in these three states were not much. They just happened to pass the zero line, and have large numbers of electoral votes.

So if you look at the “Expected Case” chart for the electoral college, you see a big move toward Clinton, then a big reversal a few days later. Because of the nature of the electoral college, you should expect (and be careful interpreting) large electoral college moves like this so long as there are big states that are close. In these cases looking at the tipping point provides a different view with a bit less volatility.

In any case, looking only at the final net change from this round of polls, we see these changes in the national picture:

  • The expected case moves from Clinton by 8 EV to Clinton by 6 EV
  • Clinton’s best case improves from Clinton by 188 EV to Clinton by 208 EV
  • Trump’s best case declines from Trump by 106 EV to Trump by 92 EV
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 0.1% in KS to Clinton by 1.3% in NH

Now, this round includes a handful of post-debate polls, but almost all of the movement discussed here comes from before the debate. (The exception is Florida returning to Weak Trump after the debate.)

Looking at the charts…

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Notice the clear dip from about September 19th to September 28th when Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina went slightly blue, then moved slightly red again. In the end, the “expected case” remained flat. The movement Clinton saw from winning by 6 electoral votes to 8 electoral votes in the last update was erased by New Mexico and Kansas both returning to their “normal” colors.

Both “best cases” moved toward Clinton though, with New Mexico and Maine at large both moving out of Trump’s reach, while Missouri moved into Clinton’s reach.

chart-305

The tipping point chart doesn’t end up with huge moves when big states cross the center line, so it might be a better chart to look at right now to see how the race is moving. What we see is that after big gains starting with Trump’s campaign shakeup on August 17th, Trump seems to have peaked around September 7th… way up from where he had been, but never actually taking the lead… and he has been on a slow decline ever since…  but we haven’t yet seen a BIG move back toward Clinton.

By most reports, Trump did badly in the debate, and has been doing things counter-productive to his campaign since the debate. But this does not mean large numbers of people have changed sides. Maybe this will happen, maybe it won’t, but the small number of post-debate polls already included here don’t yet show it. (In fact, as I mentioned, the single state category change post-debate so far is a move toward Trump.)

Additional post-debate polls are coming in quickly now, but I had to cut off the round poll updates somewhere to get this blog post out. There will be another update soon enough, and we’ll start to see a bit better what (if any) lasting change comes out of the first debate. Of course just about as soon as there has been enough time to see that in the polls, it will be time for the next debates…

39.4 days left until polls start to close.

State Details

For those digging into the details, here are the charts for all the states influencing the analysis above:

The big close states:

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chart-307

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Weak Clinton to Weak Trump

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Strong Trump numbers from Ipsos and CVoter balance out the strong Clinton numbers from Google and leave us with an essentially tied Kansas and erase the short blue period for the state I noted last time. (The Ipsos and CVoter results came out later, but covered an earlier time period, so they moved the lines in the past, not just the current number.)

As I stated last time I am incredulous about the Google numbers, and wish there was more additional polling in Kansas to clear up what is really going on there.

Weak Trump to Strong Clinton

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New polls in New Mexico erased the short foray into red territory for New Mexico. As with Kansas, since some of the “new” polls covered older date ranges, the shape of the curve in the past changed as well as the current number.

Strong Trump to Weak Trump

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Weak Clinton to Strong Clinton

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Other states that influenced the Tipping Point

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Note on placing polls on the timeline

I somehow forgot to mention this in my recent interview about this site, but it seems relevant to the discussion above… Many other election tracking sites place polls based on the END of the poll’s time in the field. I place polls on the timeline based on the mid-date of their time in the field. I think this does a better job at trying to identify when directional changes happen, because if an event and a mid-date are aligned, you know that the poll was half before and half after the event. When you place polls by the end of their field time, you can’t make any sort of statements like that about how the poll results match up with the event without referring to the specific start and end dates.

For more information…

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.

Edit 2016-10-01 00:34 UTC to correct the one state that moved after the debates. I had said it was North Carolina moving back from Weak Clinton to Weak Trump, it was actually Florida.

Electoral College: Has Trump Peaked?

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, DC, and the Maine congressional districts. Notable changes in Kansas, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

National Picture

The update today is a strange one. Some indicators move toward Clinton, others move toward Trump. Some of the moves seem to be prompted by outlier data as well, so some skepticism is probably in order. But with the directional mix, one possible conclusion is that we are at or near the top of the recent move toward Trump. As I write this though, we are hours away from the first debate, which may well scramble things again.

The summary changes:

  • The expected case moves from Clinton by 6 EV to Clinton by 8 EV
  • Clinton’s best case improves from Clinton by 178 EV to Clinton by 188 EV
  • Trump’s best case improves from Trump by 98 EV to Trump by 106 EV
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 0.8% in NM to Clinton by 0.1% in KS

So two moves in Clinton’s direction (Expected and Clinton Best), and two moves in Trump’s direction (Trump Best and Tipping Point.)

The charts look like this:

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I’ve added a new vertical line marking the moment when Trump shook up his campaign by bringing in Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. Looking back, we can now see this very closely aligns to the moment Trump stopped dropping and started closing the gap with Clinton.

Trump has still not led in my model, but this is about as close as you can get without crossing that line.

The fact that we are now seeing simultaneous moves in both directions might indicate we are near the top of this particular trend toward Trump. But events have the potential to change things quickly… in either direction.

43.4 days until polls start to close on election day…

State Details

For those who are interested in the individual state moves that combine for the national changes above, here they are. I will only add individual commentary when there is something specific worth noting.

Flipping to Clinton

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I’m putting this one first, because it is one I honestly don’t believe. Every single one of the results showing Clinton ahead since August is from one pollster…  Google Consumer Surveys. This pollster has some unorthodox methods, and has produced strings of outliers in a wide variety of states… some favoring Trump, others favoring Clinton. In this case, other than a single Zogby poll in June, every other pollster shows Kansas not only favoring Trump, but favoring Trump by a substantial margin.

Because I am inclusive and try not to exclude polls, three of the five polls in my average in Kansas are from Google at the moment. This leads to a 0.1% Clinton lead in Kansas. If you excluded the Google polls, my average would show Trump leading by 11.6%. I am very very dubious that Kansas is even a close state, let alone that Clinton is ahead. We need more non-Google polls in Kansas to clear up this situation.

Now, astute observers will note that if you flip Kansas back to red, Trump would actually now be leading in the “expected” result. But not so fast. Google causes changes in other states too. To pick out one prominent example, Google has been giving Trump much bigger leads than other pollsters in Florida. My average in Florida currently shows Trump up by 1.1%, but if you removed Google, the average moves to Clinton by 1.3%. So removing Google might flip Kansas, but it would also flip Florida. You’d still have a Clinton lead overall, just in a different way.

The philosophy of this site is to just include everything unless is it obviously fake or fraudulent. The Google polls may be bad… they are just all over the place compared to more traditional pollsters… but they are not an obvious fake or fraud. So I will continue to include them. I don’t pick and choose polls based on if I “believe” them. Google is in the average. So you end up with a very slight Clinton lead… in Kansas.

But Google is clearly adding noise to the model at the moment… which I’m not particularly thrilled about.

Note that Kansas moved all the way from Strong Trump to Weak Clinton in one jump, so it improved both Clinton’s expected case and her best case.

Flipping to Trump

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This is another state where three of five data points in my average are from Google, and this time the other two are from Reuters/Ipsos, another “50 state” pollster where the numbers can sometimes be way out of line with other polls. In this case Google and Ipsos seem to trend in opposite directions, but it would be really nice to have some other big name pollsters check out New Mexico again before too long, because when all you have are these polls looking at the whole country and then breaking out subsamples by state, you really have a lot of uncertainty on the results. So like Kansas, treat New Mexico with a substantial pile of salt.

Now in reach for Trump

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No longer in reach for Clinton

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Interview

The latest Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast presented interviews with three people who do independent electoral college projections based on state polls… Luis Mendez from projectiondesk.com, Darryl Holman from horsesass.org, and me… Sam Minter from electiongraphs.com. We each talked about how we got into this sort of analysis, what makes our sites different, the challenges we face, and more. Take a listen!

For more information…

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: Maine in play again

States with new poll data added since the last update: Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Maine (at large and both congressional districts), New York, North Dakota.

There was a notable change in Maine at large.

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With the latest polls, Clinton’s margin in Maine once again drops below 5%, thus we once again call it “Weak Clinton” and include the 2 electoral votes from Maine at large in Trump’s “best case”. Maine’s 1st congressional district is “Strong Clinton”, while the 2nd is Weak Trump.

Put that all together and it means that Maine could end up anywhere from Clinton getting all 4 electoral votes to Trump getting 3 and Clinton getting 1. But the current expected result is 3 Clinton 1 Trump.

With the 2 at large electoral votes once again in play, the national trend looks like this:

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Trump’s best case… where he wins everywhere he leads, plus everywhere he is behind by less than 5%… is now to win by 98 electoral votes. This is the best best case Trump has had since the beginning of March.

And of course since the last update Trump has been better off in the expected case than he ever has been before.

All in all, the Trump surge that started in late August has not peaked yet. Given the past trends in the race, the expectation is that we will see some reversion to the mean soon, with Trump weakening again and Clinton strengthening. There are some individual state polls that seem to show some tentative movement in that direction, but nothing definitive that actually flips states yet.

47.8 days until polls start to close on election night. News is coming at us fast at this point, there are multiple polls every day, and we’re only days away from the first debate.

For more information…

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: Trump Close Enough to Smell Victory

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, DC, and the Maine congressional districts. Notable changes in Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, Maine (CD2), Kansas, and the tipping point.

National Picture

Trump continues on the upswing, and at this point Clinton only leads by the very narrowest of margins. One more round of polls in his favor could easily put Trump in the lead for the first time this cycle.

With this update, we have the following changes:

  • The expected case moves from Clinton by 32 EV to Clinton by only 6 EV
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 3.4% in MI to Clinton by 0.8% in NM
  • Trump’s best case improves from winning by 66 EV to winning by 94 EV
  • Clinton’s best case drops from a 190 EV win to a 178 EV win

The full current summary:

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There is no denying this is now a razor thin race. This is close. If the election was held today, it could go either way.

Looking at the trends:

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In both measures, Trump bottomed in mid-August and has been on a strong upswing ever since. Or is it that Clinton has been collapsing? In the end, the result is the same.

Trump is now far outside the “McCain to Romney” zone where he had been stuck. The question is if he is establishing a new normal, with many people permanently converted to his cause, or if this is an unsustainable high that will soon undergo reversion to the mean.

The race is not today. There are 51.0 days until we start getting the first real election results. A lot will happen between now and then. The first debate is now less than eight days away. Will it change anything? We shall see…

Individual States

I won’t provide individual commentary on all of these, but for those wanting to see the details on the states that changed the national summary this time around, here they are. Click through on any chart for the full detail page with individual polls listed.

Moving from Clinton to Trump:

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Now close enough to be in play for Trump:

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No longer close enough to be in play for Clinton

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Another state whose movement influenced the tipping point

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Note on “50 State” polls

Since Election Graphs tries to be as inclusive as possible with polls, we are including some “50 state” polls that some other folks have decided to exclude because of various methodological concerns. Others, like 538, include these polls, but give them very low weights in their models. Because Election Graphs tries to “keep it simple” we don’t do that kind of weighting. Everything just counts and we do a straight average.

Two of these “50 state” polls are now producing weekly results, Google Consumer Surveys and Reuters/Ipsos.

Honestly there are some crazy things in there. For instance:

  • Google thinks Clinton is leading in Kansas, some weeks by a very large margin. No other pollster has seen this. Everybody else shows a significant Trump lead.
  • Google thinks Trump is only 7% behind in DC. In DC? Really? In DC Obama beat Romney by 83.6% and McCain by 85.9%. The idea that Clinton is only 7% ahead of Trump in DC is pretty much ludicrous.
  • The last few Ipsos polls have shown a Trump lead between 13% and 23% in Texas. The most favorable poll to Trump other than Ipsos has a 11% Trump lead, and most show it significantly narrower than that.
  • In general it seems to be very common for these two polls to produce results which are outliers compared to other pollsters… Sometimes they show a result far more favorable to Clinton than anyone else, sometimes far more favorable to Trump than anyone else. The direction isn’t uniform, they just sometimes seem way off the mark.
  • In many states the sample sizes are very low, and you see wide swings. For instance in West Virginia the Google poll moved from Trump +29% to Clinton +1% in one week! Yes, when you average them you get a 14% Trump lead, which is probably reasonable for West Virginia… but still!
  • There are more examples, but you get the idea. In most states, these polls give roughly the results you would expect, in line with other recent polling, but occasionally, especially in smaller states, they seem to be clear outliers.

The craziness of some of these polls leads me to sometimes question my tenets of including everything and keeping it as close to a straight average as possible. But we’re sticking with that and we will see how it does.

And even with this the general notion of this site, that even with very simple assumptions you end up with similar results to what folks with complex models get seems to be holding up. Although the exact state by state results may differ slightly, every analysis I have read has the same general conclusion right now. The race is now much much closer than it was, although Clinton retains a narrow lead.

While these polls are a bit crazy, in the competitive states there are enough other polls so the average seems to be at least somewhat resilient when outliers like these pop up. And in the non-competitive states, well, these 50 state polls may be the only data in the average, so they may screw up the margins a bit, but in the end it doesn’t change the status of the state.

For more information…

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: 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: Four moves toward Trump, Two toward Clinton

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, plus the Maine congressional districts. Notable changes caused by Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, Maine (CD2), and South Carolina.

There were a ton of changes with this batch of new polls. Four of the changes favored Trump, two favored Clinton. We’ll look at each of these in order. The “good for Trump” states first, then the “good for Clinton” states, then we’ll review the net national changes due to all of these together.

Good for Trump

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Missouri, Colorado and South Carolina all show the same general pattern… a Trump decline bottoming out in mid-August, followed by a Trump recovery. The specifics of the patterns are slightly different, but the dip followed by a rebound looks clear. (Although the rebound in South Carolina may turn out to be due to an outlier.)

Missouri and South Carolina had looked like states where Clinton was making it close, Trump now pulls them out of reach again. Meanwhile Clinton’s lead in Colorado looked like it was not at risk for her, but the last few polls show Trump making it close again.

So winning Missouri and South Carolina are no longer part of Clinton’s best case, while the possibility of winning Colorado is now included in Trump’s best case.

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Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that can split their electoral votes. So far Nebraska has not been polled at all at the congressional district level. This week brings only the second time the Maine congressional districts have been. In both cases, the overall numbers for the states have moved toward the center line past all of the congressional districts. Mathematically, the state as a whole can’t be closer than all the parts making up the state, so we know this is wrong, but without congressional district polling, we can’t tell where the congressional districts should be.

In Maine, with the new CD2 polling result, we now have two polls showing Trump ahead. These are the only two polls. The average is filled out with the Maine CD2 results from 2004, 2008, and 2012. Given the strong Democratic wins in CD2 in those years, the two polls from this year aren’t quite enough for the poll average to flip the district to Trump, but the average now only has Clinton up by 3.1%, so we now consider Maine’s 2nd District to be a possible pick up for Trump.

Even with this new poll, Maine-CD2 is what I consider to currently be the “most needed poll” (followed by NE-CD2, NE-CD1, SD, and ME-CD1). Please pollsters! More congressional district level coverage of both Maine and Nebraska! They both look like they have a possibility of splitting this cycle. We need more polling to understand just how likely (or not) that possibility actually is!

Good for Clinton

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Both Florida and New Hampshire show the typical pattern of the Trump collapse followed by a Trump recovery. But in these two states, Trump peaked and is starting to drop again.

Florida does not change categories, but the change there changes the national tipping point.

In New Hampshire, the average just barely passes our 5% threshold to put the state back in the “Strong Clinton” category, which removes New Hampshire from Trump’s best case. It is right on the line though. Clinton’s lead still rounds to 5.0%. The next poll could easily move this back into “Weak Clinton”.

National View

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The change from today’s update to Trump’s best case is to move from winning by 56 electoral votes to winning by 66 electoral votes. So net improvement today.

But note the downward trend after August 27th. Even though today’s update was better for Trump, raising the level of the whole graph over the last week or so on the basis of some polls with older midpoints, it does look like his best case may have peaked and is receding a bit now.

Clinton’s best case is receding as well though. It drops in this update from winning by 248 electoral votes to only winning by 210 electoral votes.

And the center line has not shifted. We’re talking about changes in which states are close, not in who is leading where.

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Today’s update moves the tipping point from Clinton by 3.0% in Florida to Clinton by 3.4% in Florida, but you can see that the tipping point peaked a little over a week ago and has been moving toward Clinton, similarly to how Trump’s best case has been moving.

So has Trump really already passed another peak? Is he on a downswing again? Or is this all just reversion to the mean on a race that really is pretty stable? Or does Clinton weakening in the red states she had hoped to pick up mean Trump still has some momentum left?

Stay tuned.

62.1 days until real election results start to come in.

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: Trump Bouncing Back

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]

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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]

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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]

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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.

National View

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:

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And here it is now:

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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:

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And here is the tipping point graph now:

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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.

Democrats: Sanders wins Maine, but nothing changes

Sanders won Maine 16 delegates to 9 for Clinton.

In addition, further updates to Louisiana since yesterday gave Sanders 2 more delegates and Clinton 2 less.

So effectively, as 25 new delegates were added, Sanders increased his total by 18. So 72%. Way more than the 60.26% I said he needed to be on track to catch up and win. So how does that look on the big chart?

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Yeah, see that little tiny change in direction at the ends of the green and red lines? That’s it.

Sanders did indeed improve his position in the race by winning Maine by a nice large margin. Yesterday he needed 60.26% of the remaining delegates to win. Today he needs… 60.17% of the remaining delegates.

Clinton of course also had a little setback. Instead of needing 39.80% of the remaining delegates, she now needs 39.90%.

Yeah, not much of a change, is it.

After the slight speed bump in Maine, Clinton’s march to the nomination continues…

Update 2016-03-09 03:19 UTC – Full superdelegate scan in preparation for adding new delegate results. Net Clinton +4, Sanders +3. Also 1 additional delegate added to the total number of delegates. This of course does not change the analysis above significantly.

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.