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Electoral College: Trump makes it tight again

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

Notable changes in: Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), and the tipping point

National Summary

It has been about two days since the last update. While there are mixed changes since then, on balance this is a good update for Trump, and the race looks closer than it did two days ago.

There will be one more update later today to capture any last minute polls released after the cutoff for this update. (There have already been a handful.)

Good for Trump

  • The expected case moves from Clinton winning by 108 EV to Clinton winning by only 8 EV.
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 1.8% in NC to Clinton by 1.6% in PA

Good for Clinton

  • Trump’s best case has deteriorated from a 112 EV win to only a 66 EV win

No Change

  • Clintons best case remains steady at a 210 EV win

Charts

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Discussion

The fact that Trump’s best case is getting worse is pretty much irrelevant. Either candidate winning all the close states is a very low probability event. A few months out it is good to show how things might reasonably move. But on election day, the expected electoral college and the tipping point are the two numbers to watch.

In the last update I speculated that because the tipping point and expected electoral college votes were going in different directions Trump may have topped out. But the movement toward Trump seemed to have a little bit of life in it yet. With the latest batch of update, the Election Graphs poll averages for Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada all move from just barely blue to just barely red. And the tipping point gets a bit narrower too.

Some have suggested there may a strategy to intentionally release Republican leaning polls at the last minute specifically to influence the poll averages, and the impact of some of these polls has been shown to be significant. This probably has something to do with the moves here too. But this site’s philosophy is to basically include all polls with very few exceptions, and when you throw everything in, this is the move you get. Given non-poll-related information on early vote results and such, I have my doubts about Florida and Nevada, but this site will stick to what the numbers say…

…and the numbers say that it is looking very close again. In the expected case Clinton wins by only 8 electoral votes. To flip the election, Trump only has to win Pennsylvania, and Clinton’s lead there is down to 1.6%.

The tipping point margin isn’t quite as small as it it was in September when it was down to 0.4%, but it is close enough that you could easily imagine a Trump win. Right?

Lets check the sites doing odds again for what they think the chances of a Trump win are…

The median estimate of Trump’s chances 2 days ago was 12%. Now it is 14%. So, slight increase, but not a huge one. And if you look at the individual estimates above, many actually went down since two days ago. But if everything is closer, why?

Well, each of the models of course have their own methods, and the movements in each would have a different explanation. Some of them discount or don’t include at all some of the pollsters showing the Trump movement that has moved my averages.

But just looking at the state of the race as a whole instead of specific models… Trump has never been ahead in the electoral college, by most measures he hasn’t ever led the popular vote either, and he’s also never led in Pennsylvania (or the other further off states he would have to flip to win).

So even taking the averages here at face value, and not doubting the status of Florida or Nevada, to win Trump would still need to break his September ceiling and do better than he has done at any time in this race so far. That is possible, but not likely.

Add to that the indications of high Hispanic turnout in several states, notably Florida and Nevada, and that some of the recent polls may be intentionally skewed… and it seems like if someone over performs their polls, it is more likely to be Clinton. But that is looking at things other than the polls themselves.

All and all, the new median of a 14% chance of a Trump upset seems about right.

Maine CD2, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, and Iowa are all within 2% at the moment. They could still go either way based on the current averages. That is enough to swing the election.

So, as has been the case for awhile, a Trump win would be surprising, but should not be shocking. Trump has a path.

We shall all see soon enough.

In New Hampshire we already have some results of course… Dixville Notch, Harts Location, and Millsfield have already reported results. The totals: Trump 32, Clinton 23, plus a handful of votes for others. So there you go.

For real meaningful results, we now have less than 8 hours until parts of Indiana and Kentucky close. Then less than 9 hours until the first full states close and the states start getting called one way or the other.

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 Clinton to Trump

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No longer possible pickups for Trump

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Also impacting the tipping point

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A note about faithless electors

In the past few days there have been reports of first onethen 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 9.4% 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.

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 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

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Moving into reach for Trump

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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’s Polling Meltdown

States with new poll data added since the last update: All of them. Multiple times. There are additional new polls since I had to cut things off for this update as well. Those will be in the next update.

National Summary

The last week of polls has been devastating to Trump’s position. In the last update we were just starting to see the reaction from the first debate. With this batch the post-debate polling continued to roll in, and while there were a couple of minor moves toward Trump, the net change in this update was a dramatic move toward Clinton:

  • The expected result moved from Clinton by 6 electoral votes to Clinton by 154 electoral votes
  • The tipping point moved from Clinton by 2.1% in CO to Clinton by 4.5% in MI
  • Trump’s best case moved from a 60 EV win to a 26 EV win
  • Clinton’s best case moved from a 208 EV win to a 196 EV win

Looking at the charts:

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The previous update mentioned some Trump losses starting a week or two before the debate. With a lot more polls filling in the time period right before the debate as well as right after, it now looks like those losses were reversed before the debate.

In the time after the debate though, all three indicators on the chart have moved in Clinton’s direction. The race is now essentially back to where it was at the beginning of September. We’re not yet back at Clinton’s high point from August, but it is getting close.

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The tipping point chart is even more stark. As with the electoral college view, it looks like Trump’s mid-September declines were reversed by debate time, but after the debate everything falls off a cliff. Most of Trump’s gains from August and September are gone. Right before the debate he topped out with Clinton only ahead in the tipping point metric by 0.4%.

Clinton now leads by 4.5%. The tipping point state is Michigan. Clinton only has to increase her lead slightly there to not just take Michigan out of reach for Trump, but the Presidency.

What we are seeing in the polling results right now at this point probably fully factors in the debate itself. But we are just starting to see the impact from Trump’s “worst week in presidential campaign history ” that started with the debate, continued with his attacks on Alicia Machado, and ended with the leak of some of his tax information. The events of that week are not yet fully baked in.

And of course, the polls do not yet reflect the VP debate, or more importantly, the 2005 Trump video that was leaked on Friday. It is hard to imagine the events of the last few days NOT having an impact on the polls.

And the next debate is coming up. It should be interesting. If you were not planning on tuning in before, change your plans.

31.7 days left until the first actual election results start coming in.

State Details

A lot of states moved in order to produce the summary results above. For those interested in looking at the state by state details, they are below:

Weak Trump to Weak Clinton

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Moving out of reach for Trump

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Moving out of reach for Clinton

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Moving into reach for Trump

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States that changed categories but then moved right back again

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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: Some post-debate Clinton gains

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

National Summary

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

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

Looking at the charts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Details

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

Weak Clinton to Strong Clinton

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

Didn’t change categories, but moved the tipping point

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Weak Trump to Weak Clinton then back again

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

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

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on 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.

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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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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: 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 Still Rebounding

States with new poll data added since the last update: Wisconsin, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia, Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas

With the logic change out of the way, the race moves on. With the latest batch of polls, one state changes category, and two more contribute to a change in the tipping point.

Electoral College Trend

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Despite a few bad polls for Trump right after the convention, the general trend in Michigan has been a tightening race since the beginning of July. With the latest, Clinton’s lead falls to only 4.4%. For the first time since March, Michigan is looking possible for Trump, so we now include it in his best case.

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If Trump wins all the states he is ahead in, plus all the states where Clinton leads by less than 5%, he now wins by 56 electoral votes.

(Note the transient spike on the chart as well. This was caused by one poll added in this batch briefly bringing Pennsylvania back into reach for Trump, but another poll added in this same batch increased Clinton’s lead again right away, so there was no net change due to Pennsylvania this time.)

Tipping Point

Ohio and New Hampshire were and still are “Weak Clinton” states, but they wiggled around a bit with the latest polls and moved the tipping point from Clinton by 4.4% in Ohio to Clinton by 3.8% in Ohio, an 0.6% move toward Trump.

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Overall

In both the Trump best case and the tipping point, we see Trump clearly reaching a peak during the conventions, then plummeting the first half of August, then recovering ever since. He isn’t quite back to where he was before the conventions, but he is getting close.

So far Trump is making a lot of states that were not close a few weeks ago close. But no states have crossed the center line in the last couple of weeks. We have seen this before. There are a variety of blue states where Trump seems to be able to come close, but he is having a hard time pulling them across the line into the red zone.

Since the conventions the “expected” case has been in the range between Clinton winning by 144 and Clinton winning by 188. Trump hasn’t done better than losing by 144 electoral votes since before he was locked up the Republican nomination. The test for any continued Trump rebound will be if he can start to move not just his best case, but the expected case as well. Can he actually flip states? Or just make them close?

The electoral college margin in the expected case is deceptive, because these numbers can change very quickly. The tipping point is the thing to watch at the moment. At a 3.8% Clinton margin, less than 1 out of 50 people have to change their minds to flip the outcome. The public is polarized, but 1 out of 50 isn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things. You can imagine events that would flip that many people if Clinton has a bad week.

Historically though, Trump is very near his previous ceilings. Every other time he has reached these levels, he has fallen back down fairly quickly. Will this time be different?

67.2 days 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: 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.