Introduction – How JMC Analytics and Polling calls a state
(1) Safe Democratic/Clinton or safe Republican/Trump (dark blue/red) – If no polls have been conducted within the last 7 days for that state, a 2012 Obama (or Romney) percentage of 60% or above gets this rating. If polls have been conducted, a Clinton (or Trump) average of 50% (or at least a 10-point lead in the polls) or more gets this classification;
(2) Lean Democratic/Clinton or lean Republican/Trump (light blue/red) – If no polls have been conducted within the last 7 days for that state, a 2012 Clinton (or Trump) percentage between 53-59% gets this rating. If polls have been conducted, a Clinton (or Trump) average percentage of 49% or less with a lead of between 3-10 points will get this classification;
(3) Tossup (yellow) – If there was any polling done, a candidate leads by less than 3 points or the 2012 election results had the winning candidate (Obama or Romney) receiving 52% or less;
Presidential Scorecard as of November 4
2012 Electoral Vote: Barack Obama – 332, Mitt Romney 206
Current Electoral Vote (based on last 7 days’ polling): Hillary Clinton – 260, Donald Trump 209, Undecided 69
- Moved Nevada and New Hampshire from “Leans Clinton” to “Tossup” since the last scorecard;
- Moved Arizona, Ohio, and Utah from “Tossup” to “Leans Trump” since the last scorecard;
- Moved Missouri and Texas from “Leans Trump” to “Solid Trump” since the last scorecard;
(UPDATED 11/4 AM) Since the last scorecard, the Presidential race has begun to tighten, both at the national and at the statewide level. And as this has happened, there has been a surge in early voting (37 million nationally, and a record 521K in Louisiana as this article is being written). It appears that a recent announcement of the FBI’s reopening its case against Hillary Clinton’s emails has halted her momentum, as the four point lead Hillary Clinton had nearly a week ago has tightened to just over a point (46-44.5%, with 6% supporting a third party candidate).
The state by state polling has also been more favorable towards Trump this week: not only have seven states (Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Texas, and Utah) moved appreciably towards Trump, but there are four more states (Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) that have become much less blue in recent days, and it’s possible that they could be tossup states by Election Day.
Given that the race is tightening, partisan intensity matters much more now. On that score, the numbers are mixed: while Hispanics seem energized, blacks are not: in North Carolina, 22% of early voters are black (compared to 27% in 2012). Similarly, in Louisiana, 27% of early voters were black (compared to 31% in 2012). And in Georgia, 27.5% of early voters are black (compared to 30% in 2012). Given that blacks support Democrats with near unanimous support, this lessened intensity can directly impact the results in places like Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio.
So can Trump win? While Hillary Clinton is in the driver’s seat, here is what it would take for a hypothetical Trump victory, which would require that all of the following events happen in this sequence:
(1) Hold onto all the states Romney carried in 2012 (206 electoral votes) – Currently, North Carolina is the only one of those states that is shaky for Trump (47-46% lead for Clinton over the last 7 days), but black early voting turnout is substantially down from 2012. And North Carolina is one of those states where people like to early vote – 62% of the 2012 vote was cast before Election Day. So reduced black voter intensity will likely have a negative impact for Clinton on Election Day;
(2) Pick off a state carried by George W. Bush in 2004 but carried by Obama both in 2008 and 2012 (50 electoral votes) – Currently, only Ohio is leaning towards Trump, although the race remains very tight in Colorado (43-40% Clinton), Florida (47-46% Clinton), Iowa (44-44% tie), and Nevada (46-44% Trump). All four of these states are heavy early voting states (in Colorado’s case, all ballots are cast by mail), meaning that the race will be decided by those casting ballots right now;
(3) “Surprise” victory (67 electoral votes) : There are six “wildcard” states that in recent Presidential races have leaned Democratic, and are standing in the way of a Trump victory – Maine (4 electoral votes), Michigan (16 EVs), New Hampshire (4 EVs), Pennsylvania (20 EVs), Virginia (13 EVs), or Wisconsin (10 EVs). While Clinton leads in all but New Hampshire (where Trump is tied 43-43% with Clinton), the race has been moving Trump’s way in the last week in these states, which is why they have to be watched with less than 100 hours before balloting begins. Maine has gone from 11 to 7 points for Clinton (45-39%) in the last week, and it’s possible for Trump to win one of its electoral votes. Michigan has gone from 7 to 5 points for Clinton (48-43%). Pennsylvania has moved from 6 to 4.5 points for Clinton (47-42.5%), Virginia has moved from 8 to 4.5 points for Clinton (45.5-41% Clinton), and in Wisconsin, Clinton leads 47-41%. There’s another reason these states are so important: they’re not heavy early voting states, which means nearly all the votes cast will be on Election Day. Meaning that any possible late momentum for Trump would have a magnified effect here.
And the race for the US Senate remains a tossup (Republicans are expected to win the Louisiana Senate race, although in the meantime there is a competitive race with 23 candidates in it). JMC currently shows Republicans leading in 47 races, Democrats in 47, and there are 6 “tossup” races. Given that Republicans start off with 54 seats, there are two seats (Illinois and Pennsylvania) where they are behind, and five seats (Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin) where they are in tight races. There is only one Democratic held seat in any jeopardy: the Nevada seat held by retiring Harry Reid. Republicans need to win 4 of these 6 “tossup” seats to hold onto the Senate.
We will do one more scorecard right before the election, as there are numerous polls likely to be conducted throughout the weekend.