Decision 2016 – JMC Analytics and Polling’s “Swing State Tracker”
Given that there has been substantial movement in the polls this past week, what is REALLY happening with the Presidential race right now? Since this racet is not so much a national contest as it is 50 simultaneous state contests, where the race is or is heading in marginal states is critical for a proper analysis of the race, with less than 72 hours before Election Day voting starts in the Eastern Time Zone.
Therefore, JMC Analytics and Polling has aggregated ALL polling (using polls published on RealClearPolitics) into 15 day increments, so that you can clearly see how the race is heading in “swingy” states. Based on this information, JMC is making calls below for each “swingy” state:
Arizona: Poll numbers have swung decisively towards Trump in the last week (despite speculation that Arizona would vote Democratic for only the second time since 1948), and Republicans have by a 40-34% margin outvoted Democrats in early voting. (JMC call: Trump)
Colorado: Trump has steadily closed in the polls, and mail in balloting (all voting in Colorado is conducted via mail in ballots) only shows a 7K vote Democratic advantage out of 1.5M votes cast so far. Still, this is a state where Democrats tend to underpoll, and as such, it’s not certain that Trump can close his gap in the polls enough to carry the state. Especially since over 40% of the state’s voters have already turned in a ballot – can Trump’s late surge lift him to victory on the basis of the (estimated) 30-40% yet to turn in their ballot ? (JMC call: Clinton)
Florida: While there has been a late surge of early voting (early voting ends today), Democrats still only have a 7K vote lead out of 5.7 million votes cast. However, that advantage four years ago was 104K. And Republicans tend to vote more on Election Day. So while polls have not yet shown a late surge to Trump (this state is too closely divided for that), lessened black voter intensity that was also apparent in Georgia and North Carolina can make this difference here. And he has remained competitive here throughout the campaign. (JMC call: Trump)
Georgia: Trump has maintained a narrow lead in the polls, and in a state where the electorate is nearly 30% black, lower black voting intensity (as of this morning, it was 28%, while it’s been over 30% in the past) has a direct impact on the vote Clinton can possibly get. (JMC call: Trump)
Iowa: Democrats traditionally dominate in early voting, although that advantage narrows the closer you get to Election Day, and turnout is down 16% (or 100K votes, in raw numbers) from what it was in 2012. Since the early vote enabled Obama to carry the state both in 2008 and 2012, that lessened Democratic intensity does not help Clinton. (JMC call: Trump)
Michigan: This is a state that has not voted Republican since 1988, and for a while, polling showed that the state was out of reach for Trump. However, the gap has steadily closed to four points since November 1. Since this is not an early voting state, could a late surge put Trump over the top ? Polling conducted this weekend will tell the tale of where things are heading. This is a state that could make Trump President. (JMC call: Clinton)
Nevada: Nevada is an early voting state (70% of the vote was cast before Election Day in 2012), and Democrats were ecstatic over long lines of Hispanic voters staying in line until late last night to early vote on the last day. However, early voting numbers (from a partisan perspective) were similar to 2012. So this one goes down to the wire, although late polling has shown movement to Trump. This is another state where weekend polling will tell the tale. (JMC call: Clinton)
New Hampshire: For months, this swing state has appeared to be out of reach for Trump. The last few days, however, have shown late movement to Trump, and this is not an early voting state. As with other states, polling conducted this weekend will tell the tale of where things are heading. (JMC call: Trump)
New Mexico: For a “majority minority” state that has only voted Republican once since 1988 (and even then by 10K votes), this is the type of state which would seem to be out of reach for Trump. Plus, 59% of the vote was cast early in 2012. Still, recent polling has shown Trump closing the gap, and given that this state has not been on anyone’s radar, could an upset be in the works here? (JMC call: Clinton)
North Carolina: This Deep South state has seen considerable demographic change, and strong Democratic early voting enabled Obama to carry the state in 2008, and he came very close Furthermore, polling has shown this to be a close state. However, polls have steadily been moving in Trump’s direction, and in a state where 62% of the vote was cast early in 2012, this year’s early vote (early voting ends today) has shown far less black voter intensity than in 2012: 22% of early voters this year were black, compared to 28% in 2012. Clinton can’t afford a drop of that magnitude in this swing state. (JMC call: Trump)
Ohio: This was a state that never warmed to Mitt Romney in 2012; this year, Trump has remained competitive throughout the campaign. Plus, Democratic voter intensity in Cleveland has been noticeably lower than in 2012, and Trump has been picking up momentum in recent polls in a state where far less than 50% of the vote was cast early in 2012. (JMC call: Trump)
Oregon: Oregon has not voted Republican since 1984 (and even then, was one of Reagan’s weaker states). Still, it has remained competitive in more elections than not, and Trump has been closing the gap in the polls. Plus, given the presence of liberal university towns/cities like Portland and Eugene, a vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein comes directly at Hillary Clinton’s expense – much like the Nader vote nearly caused Al Gore to lose the state in 2000. While Oregon is unlikely to vote for Trump this year, he may finish closer than expected. (JMC call: Clinton).
Pennsylvania: This state has been just out of Trump’s reach throughout the campaign, but he’s been closing the gap when it counts – right before Election Day. Plus, this has been one large state where more voters (81K, to be precise) have registered as Republicans than Democrats since January 1. Finally, early voting is not allowed here. Which means that 90-95% of the vote will be cast on Election Day. Therefore, a late surge has more of a direct impact on the final results than in other swing states. If Trump carries this state (like Michigan), he becomes President. (JMC call: Clinton)
Utah: Normally, this heavily Mormon state casts near unanimous percentages for Republicans. Donald Trump has not been able to hold his own with Mormons, however, making this state competitive, particularly since there is a Mormon “fifth party” candidate named Evan McMullin who has some appeal here. Still, there are Republican votes to spare, and not only has McMullin begun to fade, but Clinton has stayed below 30% in every poll conducted. (JMC call: Trump)
Virginia: This state is “Ground Zero” for changing demographics that have arguably taken this state out of the “Deep South” in terms of voter attitudes. And Donald Trump has run far behind here, although he’s closed the gap in polling this past week. Plus, the last two statewide races (Governor in 2013 and Senator in 2014) have seen late Republican surges that almost made the difference. Which most likely will be the case this year, but weekend polling (as well as the fact that this is not an early voting state) may make this state interesting on Tuesday night. (JMC call: Clinton)
Wisconsin: Wisconsin has not voted Republican since 1984, but has come close several times. Polling has consistently shown modest leads for Clinton, with little evidence of any last minute surge for Trump. Still, if the numbers move this weekend, this could be a state worth watching on Election Day, especially since less than half of the state’s vote is cast before Election Day. Certainly a Trump win (like one in Pennsylvania and/or Michigan) makes Trump President, but as of the time this is being written, we don’t see much evidence of that here. (JMC call: Clinton)
(Updated 11/5 PM) The bottom line of the analysis is that at the present time, Hillary Clinton would win the Presidency with 275 electoral votes (Trump gets 263), unless Trump can flip either Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Wisconsin.