A couple of weeks back I posted, on this blog, my (first) best estimate of where the electoral map stood, at that moment. The very obvious caveat was (and is) that the map would change as the campaigns drew more attention from the public. Despite the fact that there is much time left the Trump campaign has had a very bad couple of weeks, and that fact brings some significant changes to my original map.
Before we look at that map it must be noted that I am a Democrat, but this exercise is not a partisan one, but driven by the numbers. So what are the changes?
As mentioned in the prior post the Trump theory of victory would have him putting into play states that have voted Democratic in the recent past, but that contain disaffected working class Democrats. Winning Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania would be central, and essential, to this strategy. Building on the Romney map (206 electoral votes) and adding in PA, Ohio, and Florida seems to me to be the likeliest way for Trump to cobble together the 270 electoral votes necessary to win. As mentioned in my first post I do not see how Trump can win this race without winning FLA, and my map has left that State, and Ohio, as toss-ups. Despite that “good” news for Trump the new map puts Clinton over 270, and is, in my view, generous towards Trump. Let us take a look at the changes.
I have moved PA from neutral to Clinton, with a big double digit lead for Clinton in that State making it safe, for today. I have moved Virginia from neutral to Clinton on the same basis. It is clear that Virginia may be demographically unsuitable for Trump, and the same may be said of Colorado, which I have moved from neutral to Clinton. Colorado and Virginia are likely permanently out of reach for Trump, and here is where the flawed theory of the Trump campaign (in my view) becomes evident. A post convention pivot by Trump to extend his appeal beyond the GOP base may not have won either, but certainly may have made them competitive through Labor Day. Instead Trump appears to have doubled down on appeals that are limited to his natural base, and his apparent ceiling is based on his own campaign strategy.
Instead of turning some of the blue states red the trend appears to be moving in the other direction. It is tempting to move North Carolina over to Clinton on this map, as she has opened a wide lead there, but I have held N.C. as a toss-up. My original map had the State of Iowa as Clinton, but I have moved that State into the undecided column, as it is just too close to call. In addition to North Carolina Trump is, shockingly, struggling badly in deep-red Utah, and deep-red Georgia. Georgia? I have moved both from Trump to undecided, as well as Arizona, which is tight. I never thought that I would write that Georgia might be in play, and still have a hard time believing it. Trump himself has acknowledged the problem in Utah, and that problem makes his attacks on Mitt Romney seem a bit short sighted. Although I have not changed it on this map the Second Congressional District in Nebraska, which is reliably red as a state, may be in play for Clinton. (Nebraska allows a split electoral vote, and Barack Obama managed to win one electoral vote there by carrying the Second Congressional in 2008). Trump spending time in Connecticut is something that I do not quite understand from a campaign standpoint. On that basis maybe he should spend some time in Massachusetts?
So there is the latest map, as I see it. The difficulty for Trump is apparent, as this map shows Clinton over 270 without winning either Ohio or Florida. There is still a long way to go, and three debates scheduled. Nothing is wrapped up just yet, but the trend-lines at this point are not favorable to Trump. I am still waiting for the Panos electoral map and the agreement to a wager to benefit charity, but I have a feeling I am in for a long wait.
Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com