Donald Trump has always had very few routes to 270 electoral votes. Now, with less than 90 days until Americans cast their votes, an electoral victory for the GOP nominee has gone from bleak to nearly impossible.
I’ll start with the usual caveat about how it’s only August. Unforeseen events happen, polls can change, yadda yadda yadda.
But this is also the beginning of the end of the campaign, and the electoral map is starting to fill in.
Depending on your preferred polling data, this campaign started with about nine toss-up states: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire – all totaling 120 electoral votes. The remaining states – the non-battlegrounds, if you will – added up to 227 electoral votes for Clinton and 191 for Trump.
As more polling firms weigh in, this set of toss-up states is shrinking, while a new list is beginning to emerge.
First, let’s take a look at the initial group of nine so-called battleground states, which is now dwindling away.
In Colorado (9 electoral votes) and Virginia (13 electoral votes), for example, the Clinton campaign is pulling ads off the airwaves and using those resources elsewhere – a sign she is confident in her chances there, and rightly so. According to RealClearPolitics, Clinton leads by an average of almost 10 points in Colorado and seven in Virginia.
Add those two states to the Democratic column, and Clinton’s electoral vote total grows to 249.
In Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and New Hampshire (4 electoral votes), the story is almost identical. While initial polling showed a tighter race in both states, the Democratic nominee keeps expanding her leads. In Pennsylvania, Clinton now leads by an average of 9.2 points, and she’s ahead by seven in New Hampshire.
Add those electoral votes to the blue column, and the Democratic nominee’s total swells to 273 – enough to secure her the presidency, even if Trump won every remaining state.
But, as I said before, Clinton isn’t just pulling states out of the toss-up column; she’s pulling out of Trump’s column, too.
It’s clear that these three states are too close to call, meaning Trump’s “safe” total shrinks from 191 to 155. That’s right – Trump is actually losing ground.
If you’re keeping score at home, we now stand at 273 likely electoral votes for Clinton, 155 for Trump, and 110 that are – for now at least – toss-ups.
Donald Trump can worry all he wants about winning the remaining toss-up states, but he should be equally concerned about more states falling out of his own column.