A new Georgia poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives Hillary Clinton a four point lead in a head-head match-up with Donald Trump. When 3rd party candidates are tested, the lead is three, with Libertarian Gary Johnson breaking into double digits at 11%.
Georgia has not voted for the Democratic nominee since 1992, when Bill Clinton won the state on the way to winning his first term over incumbent George H.W. Bush. Clinton won the state by just 0.6%, the closest state race that year. Interestingly, it was also the last time a 3rd party candidate received a double digit share of the popular vote. Ross Perot won 13.3% of the vote that year in Georgia, 19% nationwide.
Hillary Clinton has opened up an average lead of almost 8% in national polling. She's led each such poll since the Democratic convention, leveraging a bounce from that event with Donald Trump's bad week to build a fairly sizeable lead.
Several battleground state polls have been released this week, and they are largely showing the same. A Suffolk poll out today gives Clinton a 6 point lead in Florida, while Franklin & Marshall finds her with an 11 point lead in Pennsylvania. In New Hampshire, Clinton leads by 17 and she's even slightly ahead in traditionally deep-red Arizona.
The Florida finding was particularly interesting, as the same pollster found Senator Marco Rubio with a double-digit lead over either of his likely challengers. (The Florida Senate primary is August 30).
The polling averages help us create the Electoral Map Based on Polls. Almost every state* has now been polled in 2016. Here's how the map currently looks:
Click or tap the image above to see the interactive version of the polling map which you can use to create and share your own 2016 presidential election forecast.
* Fewer than 10 states (+DC) have not been polled in 2016; these are all safe red or blue states and are reflected as such on the map. See the bottom of the polling average page for the specific states.
Colorado has moved from toss-up to leaning Clinton in the August 1 update of the Consensus Pundit Electoral Map. This is the only change in recent weeks, as there have been few modifications to state-level forecasts during the convention period.
With the race now set, and state polling likely to become more frequent in the near future, we'll update the map more often. This August 1 update is a good baseline for the start of the general election campaign:
Interestingly, aside from Iowa, all the true toss-up states (as seen by the pundits) are currently in the Eastern Time Zone.
To arrive at the consensus map, we assign a point value to each rating category. From there we calculate the average rating. Those average ratings determine the consensus rating, which may or may not be the most frequent one. For example, only states rated safe by all seven pundits are shown in the darkest shade of blue or red.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.