This can’t be how Democrats imagined the presidential race playing out. Republicans nominated the least popular candidate in history and yet Hillary Clinton is locked in a close and competitive battle with Donald J. Trump, just seven weeks before Election day.
Clinton’s high-single-digit lead in the national polls coming out of the conventions has all but evaporated. And even her grip on the Electoral College looks less certain than it did just a few weeks ago.
The cycle started with four tossup states including Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Colorado. Clinton was favored to win all four coming out of the conventions, even though she only needed to win one of them based on the most likely allocation of other states in order to top 270 electoral votes.
But Trump’s recent closing nationally and in competitive states has caused us to change the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating in Ohio and Florida from Tilts Democrat to Tossup.
Since Trump is still less likely to win Colorado and/or Virginia, he’ll need to make up for those 22 electoral votes elsewhere, assuming he wins North Carolina. Winning Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) would still leave the reality show host short of victory, so Trump would need to win either Nevada or Iowa or New Hampshire.
Recent polling shows Trump running ahead of, or at least even with, Clinton in Iowa and Nevada. And some Democratic strategists have been privately concerned about both states for months. We’re changing the rating of both states from Leans Democratic to Tilts Democratic, with the traditional Democratic-lean of the states keeping them out of Tossup for now.