Monday, June 27, 2016

The Electoral College Map (6/27/16)

Polling Quick Hits:
Changes (June 27)
ColoradoLean ClintonToss Up Clinton
MaineStrong ClintonLean Clinton
WisconsinStrong ClintonLean Clinton
The Hendrix College survey out of the Natural state provides yet another poll in what has been a deep red state over the last four presidential election cycles. Anything out of reliably red states is valuable data at this point as those states are the most underpolled in 2016. Arkansas was the sixth most Republican state in 2012. There were no polls there that showed the race then any closer than 20 points. Yet, in 2016, the first survey out of the state has presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, up only 11 points. Sure, it is early and this is just one poll, but Arkansas joins Kansas, Utah and Texas as red states that are closer in the early polling of 2016 than in the past.

Yes, polling in gap states like Arkansas, where there has been little polling so far is valuable, but battleground polling is just as important. That is especially true in Obama-era swing state, Colorado, where polling has been severely lacking in 2016. Much of that has to do with the fact that Republicans in the Centennial state opted not to have a preference vote in their March caucuses (and thus there was less need to poll), but even given that, there has been a surprising shortage of survey work in Colorado. However, the first 2016 survey in the 2012 tipping point state shows a tight race.  Early on the overall picture on the state level has shown a slight swing (about a point and a half) toward the Democrats since 2012. However, Colorado -- and this is reflected in just one poll after all -- has drawn closer and toward the Republicans.

YouGov also polled in Florida and essentially reaffirmed the small advantage Clinton has had in the Sunshine state in the FHQ graduated weighted average. Since May there has been a range in polling there from Trump +1 to Clinton +8 and this survey falls right in the sweet spot in between.

The polling from UNH in New Hampshire has been widely variable over the last two presidential election cycles, so take their first foray into Maine for 2016 with something of a grain of salt. Clinton's seven point lead statewide is narrower than anything since 2000 and is actually closer to the eight point edge (Bill) Clinton had in the Pine Tree state in 1992. The common bond across those cycles was a third party candidate taking more than five percent of the vote. That share -- the one for "others" -- in this UNH poll was at 19 percent. The key will be whether that trend persists in subsequent polling. Not far behind that in importance is if Trump maintains a lead in the second congressional district (a result that would net him an electoral vote even if he loses statewide).

[*It is worth noting that the congressional district level samples in this poll consisted of fewer than 250 respondents.]

North Carolina:
Like Florida, the YouGov poll in North Carolina basically was in line with where the average has had it: tipped ever so slightly toward Clinton. The Tar Heel state is on the Clinton side of the partisan line in the Electoral College Spectrum below, but it continues to be superfluous to the Democrats' efforts to retain the White House. Keeping it out of the Trump column makes it very difficult for him to get to 270. That is even more true when the alignment of states is considered.

On some level, one could argue that the YouGov survey in Texas echoes the closer than typical result from the recently released Leland Beatty poll. The margins are similar (in the Lean Trump range) and Trump is underperforming Romney's 2012 share of the vote in the Lone Star state. However, the Leland poll likely would have been slightly different had the nearly one-third of the respondents in the undecided category had been pushed on their preference. That may not have closed the gap between Romney and Trump, but it likely would have decreased it some. Still, the picture in Texas, for now, is one of a red state staying red in 2016 but taking on a lighter shade in the process.

The last of the YouGov polls is currently an outlier in the context of the other polling in Wisconsin. There have been other polls in the Badger state that have shown a Lean Clinton range margin, but this is the tightest of any of the 2016 polling the state. The Trump share is in line with where it has been in other polling, but the Clinton share is at its lowest point of any survey of Wisconsin. That is enough to bring Wisconsin just below the line between Strong and Lean Clinton. However, the state remains on the Watch List below.

The Electoral College Spectrum1
1 Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.

2 The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he or she won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, Trump won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (all Clinton's toss up states plus Pennsylvania), he would have 289 electoral votes. Trump's numbers are only totaled through the states he would need in order to get to 270. In those cases, Clinton's number is on the left and Trumps's is on the right in bold italics.

To keep the figure to 50 cells, Washington, DC and its three electoral votes are included in the beginning total on the Democratic side of the spectrum. The District has historically been the most Democratic state in the Electoral College.

Florida and Pennsylvania are collectively the states where Clinton crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election. That line is referred to as the victory line. If those two states are separated with Clinton winning Pennsylvania and Trump, Florida, then there would be a tie in the Electoral College.

NOTE: Distinctions are made between states based on how much they favor one candidate or another. States with a margin greater than 10 percent between Clinton and Trump are "Strong" states. Those with a margin of 5 to 10 percent "Lean" toward one of the two (presumptive) nominees. Finally, states with a spread in the graduated weighted averages of both the candidates' shares of polling support less than 5 percent are "Toss Up" states. The darker a state is shaded in any of the figures here, the more strongly it is aligned with one of the candidates. Not all states along or near the boundaries between categories are close to pushing over into a neighboring group. Those most likely to switch -- those within a percentage point of the various lines of demarcation -- are included on the Watch List below.

The Watch List adds Arkansas and Colorado, and loses North Carolina from the the previous (6/23/16) update.

The Watch List1
from Lean Trump
to Toss Up Trump
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
from Toss Up Clinton
to Toss Up Trump
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Clinton
New Hampshire
from Lean Clinton
to Toss Up Clinton
New Jersey
from Strong Clinton
to Lean Clinton
from Toss Up Clinton
to Lean Clinton
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
from Toss Up Trump
to Lean Trump
from Toss Up Clinton
to Lean Clinton
from Lean Clinton
to Strong Clinton
1 Graduated weighted average margin within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

Recent Posts:
On the Federal Lawsuit to Unbind Virginia Delegates

The Electoral College Map (6/23/16)

The Latest Installment of Stop Trump and the Rules

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Rohit said...

Hi, are you sure Kansas is really "Lean Clinton" ? Most other sources seem to have it as "Lean Republican".

Josh Putnam said...

A couple of things:
1) Past results say Kansas is not a Lean Clinton state.
2) However, the one bit of data we have from Kansas in 2016 says that it is.

And since the model is built on available polling, that puts Kansas in the category it is in.