Trump’s Behind in Polls, But it’s a Long Way to November
Nothing is certain this year, and change is the only constant. So we are not predicting the outcome in this piece. This is just to show how things seem to stand right now, and we’ll update it from time to time, as well as point out how things have changed. Right now, things don’t look good for Donald Trump, as we just noted, in financing and organization.
In fact—at this point—FiveThirtyEight only gives Trump a 20% chance of winning the election. Just three weeks ago, the ratio was 2-to-1, and today, it’s 5-to-1.
This is based on a current forecast of Hillary Clinton winning 49% of the popular vote, with Trump getting 41.8%, and Libertarian Gary Johnson getting 8%.
Here’s the map, as Nate Silver sees it. Note that if you go to the site, you can click on individual states to see the numbers for that state.
Our win probabilities come from simulating the election 20,000 times, which produces a distribution of possible outcomes for each state. Here are the expected margins of victory. The closer the dot is to the center line, the tighter the race. And the wider the bar, the less certain the model is about the outcome.
Note that Trump is expected to win eight of the 13 closest states. But his problem is that most states are not even close.
Sounds scary for Trump, right? Maybe not. As we noted, these projections are just how things look today—after several bad weeks for Trump, which will probably not repeat. FiveThirtyEight has a “Chat” about the current forecasts. Note that we refer to Nate Silver as “Silver,” so you won’t confuse him with the Fearless Leader, at our site.
Silver: The polls can change a lot between now and Nov. 8. . .
And that’s the thing. Of the 80 percent of the time Clinton wins — PLENTY of those times are going to involve her sweating. Either because Trump makes it very close at the end or because there are some periods in which things look very tight along the way, as they did for Obama against McCain and against Romney. . .
David: A lot of Republicans are hoping for an indictment, which seems highly unlikely. Hard to see how the email thing will get worse for her if that doesn’t happen. . .
Silver: Or it’s a case where several little things go wrong for Clinton, instead of one big thing.
Say a lot of the Bernie Sanders vote goes to Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, and the economy is taking some hits, and Trump’s voters turn out at greater rates than polls expect them to. No one of those factors is enough to overcome a 7-point deficit. But collectively, they could be enough.
FiveThirtyEight relies on polls and historical analysis. We also monitor ElectionBettingOdds, which reports what the gambling public thinks—and is willing to put money on. Currently the odds put Clinton the winner at 73.8% compared to Trump’s chances of 21.5%.
Again, things can change. At the beginning of April, Trump was given just a 13% chance, compared to Clinton’s 66.4%. But then, on May 24, Trump had 31.8%, with Clinton at 64.3%. That’s a move from 5-to-1 to just 2-to-1. And remember, that’s just the odds of winning, not the proportion of the win.
Up to now, we’ve been talking about probabilities, which show a wide difference. According to Politico’s 11-state weighted average, the difference is Clinton 44.7% to Trump’s 39.1%.
The POLITICO Battleground States polling average is a calculation of the most recent public polling in 11 swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Updated daily, the average will provide estimates of the candidates’ standing by from overall and state-level perspectives.
Remember that the election will be decided by how many states are won, and which ones. And, in fact, the battle will be won in a small number of states, because so many are solidly Republican or Democratic. However, if Trump really does flip the “Rust Belt,” he could win a decisive victory.
Michigan?? Not sure why Politico considers Michigan a swing state. In the last two elections, the GOP candidates gave up early there. And RealClearPolitics gives Clinton a 90.7% chance of winning the state.
Meanwhile, Trump is aware of the numbers. He spent all spring bragging about the polls, so how can he ignore them now? He discussed it on Mike Gallagher’s radio show.
A Fox News poll released Wednesday evening showed Clinton with a six-point advantage nationwide, widening her advantage from earlier in June.
“The tide is going to turn and people are going to wake up,” Gallagher nonetheless predicted.
“Well, you know, I really feel it, Mike. I go to Ohio, we were there two days ago, and Pennsylvania and near Pittsburgh and we – I was in West Virginia, the crowds are massive. And you know, I walked out of one, and I said, ‘I don’t see how I’m not leading,'” Trump said, invoking the size of his crowds.
“We have thousands of people standing outside trying to get in, and they’re great people and they have such spirit for the country and love for the country, and I’m saying, you know, ‘Why am I not doing better in the polls?’”