Tuesday, September 13, 2016

State of the Race: 56 Days To Go

President Obama in Philadelphia (photo by Hillary for America)
With less than two months to go until the final election day (yes, early voting is key!) I'm going to devote none of this week's edition of "State of the Race" to the current headlines you're probably sick of hearing about. Instead, let's get down to brass tacks: Hillary's road to 270 electoral votes!

In no particular order of states, here we go:

New Mexico, Wisconsin and Maine: Wait, what? Aren't these safe blue states? Yeah, pretty much. But some recent polling has shown it close in each of these. However, they must be pretty safe since the Clinton camp and the supporting Super PAC aren't spending anything on ads there. The only apparent danger is losing one of Maine's electoral votes, but it must be a small risk. Plus, a bonus electoral vote from Nebraska would cancel it out.

Texas: Wait, what? Isn't this a safe red state? It would seem so. But yet another poll shows a close race (Trump +6). And it's from Emerson, which recently showed some atypically bad results for Clinton. I'd continue to keep an eye on it for reasons outlined previously...and also if Trump's support among Latinos drops below the 15% or 10% mark.

Georgia and Arizona: Still close tossup states according to the polls, though Clinton's superior ground game and analytics could make the difference. There are also senate races in each of these states that could go Democratic with the help of a Hillary landslide. At this point though, I'd say Arizona has the better chance of turning blue. Whatever the case, these should be considered "bonus states" at the moment.

Virginia and Colorado: Still off the table apparently, though rest assured the Clinton campaign isn't taking them for granted.

Nevada: Polls continue to show a small single-digit lead for Hillary here, but with her massive lead among Latino voters, it seems like she should be doing a little better. However, polls have a habit of undercounting the Latino vote in Nevada and that might be an explanation. Overall, I feel pretty confident about our chances in this state.

Iowa: Super-close. I have no idea who's really ahead in Iowa, though again, the Clinton camp's organization has a good chance of putting them over the top. President Obama and Bernie Sanders could probably help out a lot here.

New Hampshire: Most polls show Clinton with a reasonably comfy lead here, though Marist just came out with a poll that had her up only by 2. However, it also had Republican Kelly Ayotte unexpectedly way ahead in the senate race. So that makes me think it's an outlier and we should still feel pretty good about carrying it at this point. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren could probably help out a lot here, just to make sure.

Michigan: Since neither the Clinton campaign or the supporting Super PAC are running ads here, we can assume it's safe for now.

North Carolina: Polls are all over the map right now, and it looks about as close as Iowa. However, this state is a key target for Clinton (unlike in 2012 for Obama) and that must mean they think they can win it. They are also completely swamping the GOP in the ground game here, so again, that just might make the difference.

Florida: Polls seemed to have tightened lately in this key state, though I'd love to see some more polls from the likes of Marist or Monmouth before any proclamations are made. For now, I still give Clinton the edge.

Ohio: Again, close...but I don't see much in the way of tightening like we may be seeing in Florida And yes, I am ignoring Quinnipiac as usual. Definitely going to be a fight just like in 2012, that's for sure.

Pennsylvania: This state is pretty close to being off the table, which pretty much means Hillary is the next president. This fascinating article (which also covers Ohio and Michigan) from Bloomberg explains why:
If Hillary Clinton manages to turn out all of the Democratic base and get-out-the-vote targets, she would have more than 3 million votes in her pocket without having to win over a single persuadable voter.

And Trump could run a perfect ground game, miraculously turn out all his Republican targets, win every expected persuadable vote cast—projected to be around 187,000—and still lose.

That means that the difference between a battleground and a blowout in Pennsylvania is whether Trump can peel off Democrats.

Obviously, the Clinton campaign isn't taking this state for granted...as President Obama's speech today made clear. And I believe they are going as big as possible in Pennsylvania to both keep Trump out of reach of 270 and also make sure the Democrats pick up that senate seat.

So there you have it. Clinton continues to dominate Trump in the electoral college, and she's very close to locking down 270+ as it is. In about a month, we'll check in with each of these states once again.

For all the state polls discussed here, go to FiveThirtyEight.

Thoughts? Agreements? Disagreements? Leave them in the comments!

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  1. She will surge farther ahead, everywhere?

    I already love her, but, when I heard Obama speak her, I loved her more, who knew there was more, ergo: so goes annibannani, so goes America?

  2. Boy, it was nice to hear President Obama speak yesterday! We're like weary battle troops, and the reinforcements have arrived.

    I agree with your analysis; with Trump's rust belt targets looking out of reach and VA and CO looking safe for Hillary, he's got to have PA.

    I've been thinking a while that in the final months of the campaign Trump's business dealings would be his final undoing. Hillary and the Dems have probably been quietly doing research for the last year, and working with journalists doing the same thing. They'll keep rolling out new stuff every week or so, saving the juiciest for last. I'm really looking forward to it.

    1. did you already read the newsweek story? Rachael gave a prelim last night.