AUSTIN - With just three weeks left in the increasingly bitter presidential election between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the polls have decidedly swung in Clinton’s favor just a few days ahead of the final debate.
According to the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, Clinton currently leads Trump by more than 6 percent, 48.4 percent to 42 percent. A Poll Tracker analysis of recent polls also gives Clinton a little more than a 6 point lead as of Monday, 47.8 percent to 41.7 percent.
Polling guru Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com currently has Clinton ahead in all three of his forecast models. According to his polls-plus forecast, which combines the economy, historical data, and the current polls, Clinton has an 85.4 percent chance of winning the presidency to Trump’s 14.6 percent.
Silver’s polls-only forecast, which only analyzes the polls increases Clinton’s chances of winning to 88.4 percent to Trump’s 11.6 percent. Finally, Silver’s now-cast, which looks at who would win if the election were held today, pegs Clinton’s chances of winning at 90.4 percent to Trump’s 9.6 percent.
Looking at Real Clear Politics’ electoral map, Clinton currently has 256 of the 270 needed electoral votes needed to win the presidency with Trump taking 170 electoral votes and 112 in the toss up category. Silver’s electoral map for his polls-plus forecast has Clinton with 328 electoral votes to Trump’s 209 while his polls only forecast pushes Clinton’s total to 344 to Trump’s 194.
As the late Tim Russert said, “it’s all about Florida” may be the story once again during this election cycle. Real Clear Politics has Clinton leading in the electoral swing state by an average of 3.6 points. A win in Florida by Clinton will likely wrap up the election if other states vote as expected due to Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
Needless to say the forecast for Trump’s road to the White House is filled with roadblocks and potholes. According to the Washington Post, if Trump were to win this election, it would be the biggest “late comeback in the history of presidential polling.”
There are instances of big comebacks in the past including Ronald Reagan in 1980 coming from around six points down in the summer to knock off then-President Jimmy Carter. Additionally, there’s the infamous 1948 race between Thomas Dewey and Harry Truman. Dewey led Truman in mid-October Gallup polling, but lost the popular vote by 5 points.
Political polling has improved greatly over the years, but it’s entirely possible that Trump can prove the polls wrong on Election Day and win the White House. Still, Trump will have to maximize his appeal outside of his base and then capitalize should any major October surprise fall on Clinton.
To use a football analogy, Clinton has the ball with three minutes to go in the game and is slowly winding the clock by running the football. Trump is trying to stop her from running out the clock and mount one final drive to the goal line. The only question now is who will be standing when the clock hits zero.