Well, if the election were held today, Trump would have a 57.5 percent chance of winning to Hillary’s 42.5 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight. In this scenario, Trump and Clinton would tie in the popular vote, but Trump would win Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, giving him a 285/252 landslide in the Electoral College.
Now, of course, if we keep to the polls for the November 8 projection, Clinton edges out Trump, 46/44 in the popular vote, with a slim 276/261 victory in the Electoral College. A rather squeaker win for a man Democrats think will bring about the next apocalypse. As for the chances of winning in this projection, it’s almost 50/50, with Clinton having a 53.7 percent chance of wining to Trump’s 46.2.
Yet, while Hillary fans might find some relief in that projection, and dismissing the “if the election were held today” scenario because Trump did receive a big bump post-RNC convention, they should go back to July 12, where FiveThirtyEight had her chances of winning at 77 percent. So, in the span of roughly two weeks, the chances of her winning the presidency have dropped by 20 points.
Finally, let’s go to the last projection, where FiveThirtyEight factors in economic and historical data, and the one that Clinton supporters will probably tout since Clinton is trouncing Trump. She wins 282/254 over him in the Electoral College and wins the popular vote (again…barely) 47/45. In this scenario, Clinton has a 58.2 percent chance of winning to Trump’s 41.7 percent. So a 60/40 split pretty much, which sounds a lot better on the airwaves. Yet, on July 12, Clinton had 73 percent chance of winning. She’s dropped 14 points since then.
For all of Trump’s faults, Clinton’s woes seem to be more serious and resonate more with American voters. Again, it’s early, but Trump didn’t mishandle classified information. He didn’t potentially leave America’s national security in a precarious state. He didn’t have a private email server, lie about why it was set up, or lie about what information was sent through it. He’s also not part of a party that’s also embroiled in an embarrassing email flap, where it shows the Democratic National Committee was tilting the scaled for Clinton over her challenger Bernie Sanders, even to go as far as suggesting someone ask about the latter’s religion so it could be used against him–all of this on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.
At the same time, let’s not get too out of hand. Clinton might get just as big a bump in the polls after the Democratic Convention. Moreover, today’s projection shows Trump winning Pennsylvania. No Republican has won the Keystone State since 1988, so let’s temper the enthusiasm a tad. Nevertheless, it’s a good sign for Trump, whereas Clinton’s campaign should be worried that a candidate so weak, and Trump is weak, could reduce her chances of winning by double-digits in this short period of time. Additionally, they’re probably looking back and wondering whether they should’ve taken the email controversy more seriously. It wasn’t just a fly-by story. It stuck—and the deep dive she took came days after FBI Director James Comey nuked Clinton’s entire email narrative. While the FBI declined to file charges against Clinton, NBC’s Chuck Todd noted that it was an indictment on her judgment, therefore an indictment of her qualifications to be president. Team Trump didn’t push any ads showing clips of Comey’s press conference, which was a Republican attack ad that was ready to go. If Trump had done that, it would be interesting to see what the numbers would be right now if he had got his act together.