With the exception of NBC, battleground polls released so far in July show voters are moving toward Donald Trump. In four battleground states — Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania — Trump gained an average of five points and caught Clinton in at least one poll in each state.
If that five point shift is quietly happening in North Carolina and New Hampshire, other battleground states where we have no recent non-NBC polls, then Trump is also quietly ahead in both, bringing him to within 266-272 in the Electoral Vote. He would still need to win Michigan, Virginia, Maine, Ohio or some other state to stop Clinton from accumulating the 270 Electoral Votes needed for a Presidential Inauguration.
|Competitive + TX, NY, CA||Trump||Clinton||Late June||Early July|
|Maine (not CD2)||0||3||-7||NP|
|New York (lock)||0||29||NP||-23|
|34 States/DC in bank||153||99|
Our March 9 projection of Donald Trump’s eventual National Delegate count was within a few votes of the final result. The same analysis shows Trump potentially falling just short at 266-272 if the averages of the state polls of more than a dozen pollsters is accurate.
However, if NBC is accurate and the average of all others are not, then Clinton would easily win with more than 300 Electoral Votes.
The key is watching the Real Clear Politics average movement in state polls between late June, when Hillary Clinton would have clearly won in a landslide, and July. While national polls have moved a few points toward Trump, the problem with national polls is that they are skewed by lopsided results in 37 solid-blue or solid-red states, such as California, New York and Texas.
For example, California’s population is so large that it would add 5 points to Hillary Clinton’s national polling score if the state’s voters shifted from 51 percent favoring Clinton to a 100 percent for Clinton. But that theoretical poll shift would not increase Clinton’s actual total of electoral votes because she already has the state’s 55 electoral votes in her pocket.
|Total Sample||90||10||100||Total Sample||90||10||100|
In this extreme case of a solid-blue California, Trump would almost certainly win the presidential election — even if the national poll correctly calculated he was losing the nationwide popular vote by 38 percent to 47 percent.
So if Clinton maintains a slight lead in national polls due to lopsided liberal states, Trump actually would have a pretty comfortable election today.
Obviously we do not know if these July polls are Trump’s peak — after all, Clinton is coming off a brutal stretch. But the state-by-state numbers show a dramatic turnaround for Trump in less than a month.
In 2012, we looked at “garbage-in, garbage-out” landline public polls and Nate Silver and the betting markets seemed to have the results down. “It is an article of faith among economists that betting markets on politics provide by far the most reliable forecast of future events, easily outclassing both polls and panels of experts,” the Economist said.
Yet the betting markets gave Brexit even less chance than Trump on the actual day the Leave vote won, and Silver told CNN that Trump had only “about a five percent” chance at the nomination. Since then, Silver has changed his tune — he’s now saying Trump will get less than 200 electoral votes, but he does give him a 22.5 percent chance of winning, and actually pegged his chances at 33.6 percent on June 8.
If polls show that a few more battleground states start moving a few points towards Trump, then he become the likely winner.
However, as every political consultant reminds their candidates when they’re reading a hopeful poll, “the election is not actually being held today.”