We’ve had a flood of state polls come out today. And I get emails each day with people asking me what I think, how’s it look, what’s happening? So I wanted to take a moment to take stock of where we are and who is likely to be elected President on Tuesday.
Who had a good day or not depends entirely on your vantage point. From the perspective of a week or two weeks ago, today’s polls were pretty so-so for Hillary Clinton. From the perspective of Monday and Tuesday of this week, they were pretty good. CNN, Quinnipiac and Monmouth and Marquette University Law School all released polls today – a batch each from the first three and one from the last. There were various other polls released over the course of the day in various states. The easiest way to see them all is to drill down on the state you’re interested in from The TPM Electoral Scoreboard.
As I noted earlier, I believe the key tell state was Marquette’s Wisconsin poll, which showed Clinton maintaining a solid 6 point lead. That is important because at present Trump could win all the closely fought battleground states still in contention and still lose the election, albeit not by much. He needs at least one solidly blue state. The industrial midwest is where you would expect to see the Blue Wall hemorrhaging. The Marquette poll suggests that’s not happening.
The Quinnipiac and CNN/ORC polls suggest Florida is still at least tied and perhaps giving Clinton the smallest of leads. And the Quinnipiac poll gives Clinton a three point edge in North Carolina. There’s such a flurry of polls this week and so many overlapping and crosscutting news stories I would not put too much stock in any of these polls. I think a fair read is that they suggest that Clinton is at least very much in the hunt in both states.
An additional nugget of information. I have a list of high caliber number crunchers who I follow on Twitter. With the advent of widespread early voting, I watch those folks closely. The most worrisome sign out of North Carolina and Florida has been word of this week of slack turnout among African-American voters relative to 2012. But this alert today suggests that as more early voting locations open and the Democratic ground operation moves into high gear, those African-American numbers of moving in a more positive direction for the Democrats.
I should add there were many other polls. One pretty negative poll was the CNN/ORC poll of Nevada showing Trump up by 6. That’s a fairly big outlier relative to almost all recent surveys. And Nevada has a history of Democrats beating the polls in presidential years. It also seems out of sync with the early vote numbers. Still it’s clearly very close. So who knows? With that poll, the PollTracker Average gives Trump a 2.8 percentage point lead.
Over the course of today the TPM Electoral Scoreboard changed only slightly. We started the day at Clinton 273, Trump 215. Nevada moving from Toss Up to Lean Trump pushed Trump to 221. Florida and North Carolina are currently the two Toss Ups. 538’s forecast ticked about three points in Trump’s direction. The betting markets were stable putting Clinton’s chance of winning a bit over 70%.
Big picture: how you evaluate today really depends on when you’re comparing too. I compare it to the tightening that began before the Comey letter and has continued since. By that measure, I think it was a pretty solid day for the Democrats. The absolute must win states for Clinton – Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado etc seem to be holding up pretty well. And she’s at least tied in the battlegrounds which could move her into the low 300s in electoral votes. One might say that the upshot of today’s polls is that the race is still being fought in the states that could give Clinton a lopsided win rather than those where Trump could win the race. Trump has to run the table in all the battlegrounds and then pick up at least one blue state. At the moment, that does not seem likely.