Election News

Mapping it Out: NY Times Story on Electoral Strategy for Trump

July 31, 2016

A New York Times article out this weekend discusses the Trump campaign's electoral strategy for this fall.  Citing "a daunting electoral map and a significant financial disadvantage", most of the time and money will be spent on just a few states. "It now looks exceedingly difficult for him to assemble even the barest Electoral College majority without beating Hillary Clinton in a trifecta of the biggest swing states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania." The campaign also believes it must win North Carolina.

Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio represent 67 electoral votes. All three were won by Obama in 2008 and 2012; Pennsylvania has not voted Republican since 1988. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.

Let's start with the 2012 electoral map, and assume Trump is able to win these three states, with North Carolina not yet decided. 

 

North Carolina would then loom decisive. That state, reliably Republican for several decades, has become much more of a swing state. Obama won it in 2008, while it went for Romney in 2012. In both years the margin of victory was the 2nd smallest in the country. 2016 could be just as tight. (This past week, a federal appeals court struck down the state's voter ID law which, the court said, suppressed African-American turnout at the polls. In a close race, this decision could make a difference).

Utah as Wild Card?

This is a bit far-fetched, but we're still a few months out, so fun to game out different possibilities. Let's say Trump wins North Carolina, and the above strategy is completely successful. He has 273 electoral votes and wins the presidency, assuming everything else stays the same.  However, what if one state doesn't stay true to form?  What if Utah voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson? We'll take a look at this using our 3-way electoral map:

 
Republicans have won Utah every election, often by a wide margin, since 1968. That year was also the last time a 3rd party won a state. While still unlikely to change this year, Gary Johnson has been seeing low double-digit support in limited polling. Donald Trump is not well-liked in the Mormon community and there is some possibility that Mitt Romney will endorse him. (Alternately, although we've seen nothing to support this, there remains time for Romney himself to register as an independent. The deadline for that in Utah is August 15.)
 
A 3rd party win in Utah, in the above scenario, would throw the election to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation would have one vote. While Republicans control the majority of these state delegations, nothing is guaranteed at that point.


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General Election Begins; 102 Days of Negative Campaigning Ahead

July 29, 2016

 

With the close of the Democratic convention, the 102 day general election campaign is finally underway. It's likely to be nasty.

Politico reports that "the reality is that both parties, saddled with two of the most unpopular presidential nominees ever, are bracing for one of the ugliest and most divisive races in modern history. And with Trump’s penchant for the unpredictable, a contest that has already stretched the boundaries of traditional American political discourse is unlikely to become more civil."

As the campaign gets underway, the national polls show a very close race. Clinton leads by 1.6% on average; a number that is cut in half when just looking at polls that have included Gary Johnson and/or Jill Stein. It's important to note that the most recent polls reflect a convention bounce for Trump; we may see an expansion in Clinton's lead as the first post-Democratic convention polls are released. It will likely take a few weeks for things to settle down.  

August should also see a significant uptick in state-level polling, increasing the relevance of the electoral map based on polls.  


Track the Most Recent Polls on a Single Page

July 27, 2016

Our new Most Recent Polls page provides a running list of the latest presidential and Senate polls for the 2016 election. 


Bernie Sanders to Return to Senate as an Independent

July 26, 2016

Despite winning over 13 million votes as a Democrat during the recent nomination battle with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders will return to the Senate as an independent

The Vermont Senator, speaking at a breakfast on Tuesday, said that "I was elected as an independent; I'll stay two more years as an independent". Sanders is in his 2nd term; he joined the Senate after winning the 2006 election.

Angus King of Maine is the other independent serving in the Senate. Like Sanders, he caucuses with the Democrats. The next election for both of these seats is in 2018.


Trump Gets Convention Bounce, Leads Clinton by 3 in New CNN Poll

July 25, 2016

Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton 48%-45% in a CNN/ORC poll out Monday morning. The new poll is a ten-point swing from a pre-convention poll that had Clinton up by seven points.

The lead is five points in a four-way match-up that includes Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. 

According to CNN: "There hasn't been a significant post-convention bounce in CNN's polling since 2000. That year Al Gore and George W. Bush both boosted their numbers by an identical 8 points post-convention before ultimately battling all the way to the Supreme Court.

The new findings mark Trump's best showing in a CNN/ORC Poll against Clinton since September 2015. Trump's new edge rests largely on increased support among independents, 43% of whom said that Trump's convention in Cleveland left them more likely to back him, while 41% were dissuaded.
 
The Democratic Convention begins today in Philadelphia; we'll likely need to wait until next week to see if there is a corresponding bounce for Clinton as there was for Gore in 2000.

Clinton Chooses Tim Kaine as Running Mate

July 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton has chosen Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate for the 2016 presidential election, according to the New York Times. 


Clinton VP Announcement Expected Late Friday; First Joint Appearance Saturday

July 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton's search for a running mate is complete, CNN is reporting. The choice is expected to be revealed in a message to supporters late Friday, with that person likely to join her at a campaign rally on Saturday.

Here are some of the names that have been most frequently cited in recent days:

Tim Kaine: First term Senator from Virginia as well as a former governor of this pivotal battleground state. Kaine's seat isn't up for election until 2018, giving Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe the opportunity to appoint a successor until a special election in November, 2017. The New York Times reports that while Kaine is the most likely choice, "liberals.. are concerned about Mr. Kaine's positions on global trade deals and Wall Street regulation." He has also been an outspoken advocate of free trade.

Tom Vilsack: The former Iowa governor is the current Secretary of Agriculture. The state is another expected battleground this November. In addition, Vilsack could be a very effective campaigner in rural areas of the rust belt, areas that are key to Donald Trump's strategy for winning the White House. Vilsack is very close to the Clintons.

Cory Booker: Second term Senator from New Jersey, Booker could help with minority turnout. He's also probably the most dynamic personality in the Clinton short list. A couple of factors favoring Tim Kaine work against Booker. New Jersey is not a swing state; its 14 electoral votes are pretty safely in the Clinton column. Perhaps more importantly, Republican governor Chris Christie would appoint Booker's replacement. Given the expected battle for control of the Senate this November, that one shift could keep Republicans in charge of that body.

Tom Perez: A career civil rights prosecutor and current Secretary of Labor, Perez is the most progressive prospect on this short list. A liberal pick might help to bring around skeptical Sanders supporters. Perez is quite popular with labor unions. As a Latino, he could further solidify Clinton's advantage in that rapidly growing demographic. 

Several other names seem to have faded from contention. These include Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Sherrod Brown (OH), Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-34) and Housing Secretary Julian Castro.   


Johnson, Stein Added to Poll Aggregations

July 20, 2016

The 270toWin polling pages have been updated to include and break out the performance of Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein. Given the high unfavorables of the major party nominees, it could very well be that one or both of these 3rd party nominees influences the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

On our 2016 presidential election polls home page, we show the most recent poll from each state. Use the check box to view polls that include Johnson and/or Stein. The polls can be ordered by date or alphabetically by state. Another option is competitiveness (Clinton vs. Trump). Finally, you can choose a candidate to order the results from high to low for that person. For example, Johnson's best numbers have been seen in three Western states and New Hampshire:

With state-level polling expected to significantly pick up in the weeks ahead, we will be transitioning this page in the near future to reflect the polling average for each state, as opposed to the most recent poll.

Each state's most recent poll includes a link to all the polls for that state. There is also a separate link on the page to the national polls. These pages are divided into two sections. The top half just looks at Clinton vs. Trump, while the bottom section includes poll tests that include one or more 3rd parties*. 

 * Some polls are including separate queries for Clinton/Trump and Clinton/Trump/Named 3rd Party. Where both are available, each result is used in the appropriate table. Where the only question is Clinton/Trump/Named 3rd Party, that result is used in both tables. Finally, if the only question is Clinton/Trump, there is no entry for that poll in the 3rd party table.


First Presidential Debate Relocated

July 19, 2016

Citing the cost of security, Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio has withdrawn as host of this year's first general election presidential debate. 

The debate will instead be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The date remains September 26th. Hofstra hosted the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Three presidential debates are scheduled this fall. The second one is October 9th in St. Louis, the final one October 19th in Las Vegas. A single vice presidential debate will be held October 4th in Farmville, Virginia.


New Polls Find Clinton Leads Trump on Eve of Republican Convention

July 17, 2016

Three national polls out on the eve of the Republican convention find Hillary Clinton with a lead of four to seven points over Donald Trump. 

Looking at these current results vs. late June polls from the same pollsters finds the largest shift in the ABC/Washington Post poll, which showed Clinton with a 12 point lead last month. There was no change in the NBC poll's five point spread, while CNN showed Clinton gaining two points on Trump.

 

Each pollster also did a heat that included Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein. Both continue to attract significiant interest for 3rd party candidates, with Gary Johnson getting as much as 13% support. The addition of these two did not significantly affect the overall spread between Clinton and Trump, indicating they are impacting the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees roughly equally.

For those interested, we will be adding results for Johnson and Stein to our polling pages within the next few days.



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