Six Days Left: Trump Has a Lot of Outs

When poker players are drawing to a straight or a flush, they will often talk about having a certain number of “outs” — i.e. how many cards are left in the deck that can make their hand, allowing them to win the pot.

Donald Trump doesn’t have a winning hand yet, but he has a lot of outs.

Last Thursday night, we wrote at Townhall about Donald Trump’s easier-than-you-think path to 270 electoral votes. We explained that Trump could get to 265 by winning Utah, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina. At the time, this still seemed like a somewhat daunting task, albeit one that was within the realm of possibility.

But now? Well, Trump’s lot has improved significantly in these states since Thursday night, as Hillary Clinton’s lead appears to be fading fast:


  • RCP Average (10/27): Trump +5.8%
  • RCP Average (11/2): Trump +6.0%
  • 6 Day Swing: Trump +0.2%


  • RCP Average (10/27): Trump +2.8%
  • RCP Average (11/2): Trump +5.7%
  • 6 Day Swing: Trump +2.9%



  • RCP Average (10/27): Trump +1.1%
  • RCP Average (11/2): Trump +3.3%
  • 6 Day Swing: Trump +2.2%


  • RCP Average (10/27): Clinton +1.5%
  • RCP Average (11/2): Trump +3.0%
  • 6 Day Swing: Trump +4.5%


  • RCP Average (10/27): Clinton +1.6%
  • RCP Average (11/2): Trump +0.7%
  • 6 Day Swing: Trump +2.1%


  • RCP Average (10/27): Clinton +2.0%
  • RCP Average (11/2): Trump +1.6%
  • 6 Day Swing: Trump +3.6%

North Carolina

Obviously, these states are still too close to call, but Trump now is tied or enjoys small leads in all eight of them. Continue Reading

Trump’s Path to 270 Is Easier Than You Think

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

“It’s over. Trump can’t win.” That’s the narrative the Clinton campaign and the mainstream media have relentlessly promoted over the past several days. The problem with that narrative is that it is a bald-faced lie. This election is nowhere near over. Not even close!

Let’s take a look at the electoral map. Remember, to become the next president of the United States, Trump needs to win 270 electoral votes. Conversely, he needs to hold Hillary Clinton to 269 electoral votes because, with a Republican House of Representatives, a 269-269 tie is likely to also result in a Trump presidency.

Trump’s baseline amount of electoral votes is 158. Let’s assume Clinton’s baseline is 239 — we will generously cede her Virginia (13), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16), New Mexico (5), and three of Maine’s four electoral votes.

If this is a fixed reality, Trump must win the following states to get to 265 electoral votes (ordered from easiest to win to most difficult):


Utah just became a battleground state as Independent candidate Evan McMullin has been surging recently. It truly is a three-way race at the present. The most recent poll, conducted on October 23 and 24 by Heat Street/Rasmussen, gave Trump a narrow 32-29-28 lead over McMullin and Clinton, respectively.



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Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles Project. Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director at American Principles Project. Continue Reading

The Five Battleground States Trump Needs to Win

The media has grown obsessed with driving the narrative that Hillary Clinton has this election in the bag. Supposedly, according to our elite overlords, this election is so over. You might as well stay home!

But when you analyze the data, placed in context, especially on a state-by-state basis, this narrative reveals itself to be ridiculous. The presidential race is still very close. It’s not over yet.

Some pollsters say Clinton is up double digits. Others say the race is a virtual tie. The stark differences can be chalked up to differing turnout models: Will Democrats turn out for Hillary Clinton like they did for Barack Obama, as many of these models that show Clinton up double digits presume? Or will Donald Trump add new voters to Romney’s insufficient 2012 coalition and surprise with a victory? It’s hard to tell.

But regardless, national polling numbers matter little. The electoral college determines the next president. So for that, we look to state polling numbers.

And state polling has been very close.

Remember, for Trump to become president, he just needs to deny Hillary Clinton a victory and get to an electoral tie, 269-269, at which point the House of Representatives would pick a president, and presumably, the Republican House would pick Trump.

Here are the top five battleground states Trump needs to win to make that happen:

5.) Florida and Ohio

Okay, maybe I meant top six. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Trump wins without winning Florida (29 electoral votes) and Ohio (18). Continue Reading

State-by-State Breakdown: Here’s How Hillary Could Lose

When trying to handicap the presidential race, it is tempting to rely on national polling. But ultimately the next president is not determined by the popular vote — he or she will be determined state-by-state via the electoral college.

We report on national polling at The Pulse 2016 all the time, so I don’t mean to suggest there isn’t use for it. Analytics outfits like FiveThirtyEight have found heavy correlations between national polling and election results at the state level.

Because of this correlation, it’s almost a mathematical certainty that, if Clinton wins the popular vote by ten points on Election Day, she would also win the electoral college. But what if she wins the popular vote by just one or two points? As we learned in 2000 with the election of George W. Bush, the results of the popular vote and the electoral college don’t always agree with each other.

And we shouldn’t expect a landslide. As we reported earlier this week, the race has tightened dramatically. Clinton and Trump are virtually tied as we head into Labor Day weekend.

So what can we expect from the electoral college? Let’s first look at the states we can predict with near certainty. These states serve as each candidate’s electoral vote floor.

Map via


SAFE RED: Alaska (3), Idaho (4), Montana (3), Wyoming (3), North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), Nebraska (5), Kansas (6), Oklahoma (7), Texas (38), Arkansas (6), Louisiana (8), Kentucky (8), West Virginia (5), Tennessee (11), Mississippi (6), Alabama (9), South Carolina (9)

TRUMP: 137

SAFE BLUE: Washington (12), Oregon (7), California (55), New Mexico (5), Minnesota (10), Illinois (20), New York (29), Vermont (3), Maine (4), Massachusetts (11), Rhode Island (4), Connecticut (7), New Jersey (14), Delaware (3), Maryland (10), District of Columbia (3)


These results are basically preordained. Continue Reading

Trump Leads in Key Swing States in New Quinnipiac Poll

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

According to the results of the latest Quinnipiac poll, Donald Trump may be surging in three key swing states. The poll, released this morning, covered Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio.

When the choices were limited to just Trump and Hillary Clinton, the results were:

  • Pennsylvania: Trump, 43 percent; Clinton, 41 percent
  • Ohio: Trump, 41 percent; Clinton, 41 percent
  • Florida: Trump, 42 percent; Clinton, 39 percent

When Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are included, the results get even better for Trump:

  • Pennsylvania: Trump, 40 percent; Clinton, 34 percent; Johnson, 9 percent; Stein, 3 percent
  • Ohio: Trump, 37 percent; Clinton, 36 percent; Johnson, 7 percent; Stein, 6 percent
  • Florida: Trump, 41 percent; Clinton, 36 percent; Johnson, 7 percent; Stein, 4 percent

Remember, Trump does not need to win the popular vote to become president, so national polls ultimately don’t matter. He just needs to perform well on a state-by-state basis.

And Trump’s path to victory — reaching 270 electoral votes — becomes much easier if he wins all three of these swing states. Pennsylvania, worth 20 electoral votes, has not gone Republican since 1988, but it has been trending in that direction lately. Florida, which is worth 29 electoral votes, proved to be the decisive state in the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore. And in 2004, Bush won Ohio by the thinnest of margins, squeaking out a narrow victory in the electoral college.

Winning Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida would allow Trump to lose several battleground states, including Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Iowa, and still win the presidency. Continue Reading

For Trump’s Presidential Hopes, It’s Rust (Belt) or Bust

Donald Trump (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Recent polling has not looked good for Donald Trump. While the presumptive GOP nominee had closed the gap with Hillary Clinton at the end of last month, June polling has shown her reopening the gap — up to nearly 6 points nationally by RealClearPolitics’ average. Seven of the past eight major national polls have shown Clinton with a lead of 5 points or greater. And numbers this week out of Florida — a vitally important swing state — were equally dismal, where Quinnipiac shows Clinton opening up a significant 5-point lead.

Given Clinton’s apparent momentum, however, it is interesting to note places where she hasn’t seen a major polling bump. Most notable is Pennsylvania, a Democratic-leaning state, where nevertheless Trump is still statistically tied with Clinton according to Quinnipiac. The same poll also shows both candidates tied in Ohio, another important swing state in the same region.

While the general election cycle is still early yet, these numbers may suggest Trump’s most likely — and perhaps only — winning strategy. If the Donald hopes to attain victory in November, he needs to focus his attention and resources on wresting one key area away from the Democrats: the Rust Belt.

Electorally, the likelihood of Trump making significant headway in other swing states is not looking great. As mentioned earlier, polling is showing Florida moving away from him. Trump’s documented difficulty in winning over Mormons — a key Republican voting constituency in many Western states — plus shifting demographics may push Western swing states such as Nevada and Colorado out of reach. Continue Reading

Trump’s Surge Continues: The Donald Pulls Ahead of Hillary in More Polling

From left: Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (credit: Gage Skidmore/Marc Nozell)

Two more national polls were released this weekend showing Donald Trump closing in on — and even pulling ahead of — Hillary Clinton.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Trump just three points behind Clinton in a head-to-head match-up, an eight-point jump from last month and within the poll’s margin of error. And an ABC/Washington Post poll has Trump leading Clinton by two points, an 11-point swing from two months previous. Added to other recent polling, the combined RealClearPolitics average now shows Trump barely leading Clinton nationally, a massive surge from just weeks ago.

Looking more closely at the numbers, one of the most noteworthy findings involves Clinton’s inability to win over Bernie Sanders voters. One out of five Sanders supporters in the ABC poll would support Trump over Clinton (versus 71 percent for Hillary), and NBC notes that only 66 percent of Sanders voters would support Clinton over Trump in its poll. While this could certainly change in favor of Clinton if and when she locks up the Democratic nomination, a continued struggle would present a fantastic opportunity for Trump, who could contrast his perceived outsider status with Clinton’s establishment insider image.

A number of battleground state polls were also released over the weekend showing slight leads for Clinton over Trump in Ohio (five-point lead) and Florida (one-point lead) and a dead-heat among both candidates in Virginia. The number to watch in these states moving forward will be that of the undecided independents. Continue Reading

New Poll: Trump, Clinton Neck and Neck in Key Swing States

From left: Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (credit: Gage Skidmore/Marc Nozell)

Quinnipiac is out with a new batch of battleground state polls.

Brace yourselves, #NeverTrump’ers: The Donald might become president.

From ABC News:

In Florida and in Pennsylvania, Clinton is at 43 percent while Trump is 42 percent, according to the poll. Among Ohio voters, Trump gets 41 percent and Clinton gets 39 percent.

Worth noting is that the gender and racial gaps in each state are wide. In all three states, Trump leads among men and white voters, while Clinton leads among women and nonwhite voters. For example, in Ohio, Clinton gets 76 percent of nonwhite voters, while Trump garners 14 percent. And 49 percent of white voters prefer Trump, while 32 percent prefer Clinton.

Also, voters in all three states believe Trump would do a better job than Clinton in handling the economy. Florida and Ohio voters think he’d handle terrorism better than Clinton, while voters in Pennsylvania are split.

If Pennsylvania is really in play, this completely changes the electoral map and opens up interesting possibilities for the Trump campaign.

Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe. Continue Reading

Clinton Ties (Statistically) Kasich — in Ohio!

From left: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ohio Gov. John Kasich

PPP is a Democratic pollster so take it with a grain of salt, but their latest poll shows that Hillary Clinton is in a statistical dead heat John Kasich in Ohio. Clinton has 41 percent to Kasich’s 43 percent, within the margin of error.

Donald Trump is behind Clinton in Ohio 45 percent to 42 percent, while Ted Cruz is tanking there, losing to Clinton 44 percent to 35 percent.

What does a result like this tell us? First, Hillary Clinton is eminently beatable. The more voters see her, the less they like her.

Second, Kasich is likely taking a hit for running as a liberal Republican among his Ohio voters — and among Trump supporters who don’t understand why he is still in the race.

Third, Cruz has become the establishment candidate, and it’s killing him.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Kasich Faltering in His Home State

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Alarm bells are sounding for Ohio Governor John Kasich as an October Quinnipiac poll shows him falling to third place in the state that elected him governor:

If Ohio’s Republican primary were held today, 23 percent of GOP voters would vote for real estate mogul Donald Trump, 18 percent for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, according to polling results released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.

This is a major drop for Kasich, who as recently as August held a six point advantage over his nearest competitors for the nomination.  What’s still unclear is whether the new data undermines Kasich’s argument that he’s the best person to win Ohio for Republicans in 2016.  Kasich hasn’t been polled in a matchup with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton since June:

A poll from that month found that if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were to go head to head with Kasich, Kasich would win 47 to 40.

“With Ohio being such a critically important state — no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying it — that gives Gov. Kasich a key talking point about why he should be the nominee,” Brown said in June.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action. Continue Reading