It will be a few days before we see any polling results from Wednesday night’s debate, so let’s take a look at the electoral map as it stands right now. In brief: It’s not looking good for The Donald. On the other side, there is much cause for optimism in the camp of Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I. We have a tad over two weeks until the election, but early voting has begun all over the place, and it’s beginning to look like it’s all over but the shouting.
Take a look at those tossups. If you’ve followed the last few election cycles, it’s a familiar picture. The West likely isn’t going to figure into this much. East of the Mississippi, the key states are (again) Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. This year North Carolina is also in the tossup column. If the Dowager Empress carries three of those four, the election is over before polls west of the Mississippi close. At the moment the status of the RCP average in those states are:
- Florida: Clinton + 3.6
- Pennsylvania: Clinton +6.2
- Ohio: Trump +0.7
- North Carolina: Clinton +2.5
That, True Believers, is a blowout.
So how likely is The Donald to flip any of those four states?
His best chance is to flip Florida, North Carolina and keep Ohio in his column. Ohio is the bright spot; he’s been ahead in that state for some time, although the lead there is narrowing; and Ohio is a long-standing bellwether for Presidential elections. North Carolina is a historically red state that has recently gone purple, and Her Imperial Majesty’s lead there is not insurmountable. Florida will be harder; Her Highness has a stronger lead there. The big Cuban expat community is a reliable GOP voting bloc, but The Donald doesn’t poll well with Latinos of any origin. It’s unclear whether he can flip Florida.
Still – if he can keep Ohio and flip Florida and North Carolina, he has an excellent shot at carrying the day.
If he loses any of those three, his odds narrow to almost nothing. He would have to carry almost every state west of the Mississippi except California to win. In this case, we’d better all get used to hearing “Madam President” for at least four years.
It still remains to be seen whether or not the final debate will move the poll numbers any. I’m guessing they won’t; it’s just too late in the game, and The Donald has wandered too far off track. His third debate performance was his strongest, but he still wandered off track and left a few key issues laying on the table; and, historically, final debates don’t change things very much.
I could be wrong; I hope I am. I’m not a particular fan of The Donald, but I prefer him over Her Imperial Majesty by a wide margin. But then again, this is by far the most bizarre election of my lifetime, fought out by the two weakest candidates in living memory.
It ain’t over yet, but the fat lady is warming up in the wings.