Donald Trump Is Slightly Bouncing Back In The Polls & 197 Might Have Just Become The Scariest Number Ever
When you take a look at the current electoral college predictions, the map remains on the bluer side of things. That's great news for Democrats, but you shouldn't find complete solace in the visual representation of our future. After all, it's the numbers that decide, and currently Donald Trump is set to win 197 electoral college votes, according to the polling experts at FiveThirtyEight. That's just 73 from winning. Combine that with his rise in the polls these last two weeks, and you shouldn't count Trump out just yet. His campaign might have some life left in it.
That's right, he's rising in the polls. According to the latest update from Nate Silver, Trump has moved up about 2 percentage points in the last two weeks. Clinton had a national lead of 8.5 percentage points that has gone to 6.5. That's still a significant lead, but the momentum is worrisome. The odds of Trump taking the White House have also nearly doubled. On Aug. 14, he had less than an 11 percent chance. Now it's just over 19 percent. If you include data on the economy and historical data, FiveThirtyEight's "Polls-Plus" forecast bring his odds up to nearly 27 percent. That may be far from 100, but it's certainly unsettling.
So back to the number 73 — how would Trump make up those Electoral College votes? FiveThirtyEight shows, just according to the polls, that North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, and Florida are the states polling the closest. Clinton has a lead in these states but it's within 5 percentage points. Their total Electoral College sway is a combined 68 votes — so then he's 5 points short. Nebraska and Maine may each throw him a vote too (they split their Electoral College votes), which would leave him needing just 3 votes.
The next closest state is Nevada. Here Clinton leads by 5.3 percentage points. Up for grabs are six of those Electoral College votes. Another — albeit less likely option — would be New Hampshire. Clinton leads there by 5.9 percent, and there are four votes up for grabs there. Both of these states have gone for the Democrats in the 2008 and 2012 elections with Obama on the ticket, but Nevada voted for George W. Bush twice, and even New Hampshire did in 2000.
But, ultimately, the race may already be over, as POLITICO's Eli Stokols has argued. He quoted Tony Fratto, a GOP insider and former Bush deputy press secretary: "I think it's too late, in fact. I don't believe he can change. All of this is trying to trick voters into thinking there is a better Donald Trump out there. There is no better Donald Trump," he said. Still, the numbers could change. They point out that 90 percent of Americans may have already made up their mind, but where are they geographically? The undecided could very well be in these same swing states.
Don't misunderstand me. Trump winning is still a long shot, but it's important to keep in mind that in presidential politics, it's just a few percentage points in a handful of swing states that could tip the race. And he just needs to pick up 73 electoral college votes to move to D.C. this fall. As Silver argued, the race is still pretty uncertain. He would say it's not all that close either, even though Clinton has a lead. And that's important to remember when taking into consideration the importance of your vote at the polls this year. Nothing is guaranteed.