By Jim Ellis
Sept. 26, 2016 — While the national polls continue to yield a basic tie between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the state totals are the real determining factor and we have significant new data from key targets this week.
To re-cap, if the election were today it appears Clinton would win possibly with as few as 272 Electoral Votes as compared to Trump’s 266. The latter’s coalition would include the states of Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada along with the 2nd Congressional District of Maine all converting from the 2012 electoral map. Most polls suggest that Trump is currently leading or has a strong chance of winning these entities on Election Day.
Florida, arguably the most important swing state, reported two very different polls this past week. The latest, from Suffolk University (Sept. 19-21; 500 likely Florida voters), finds Trump leading by a single point, 44-43 percent. But, earlier in the week, Florida’s St. Leo University released a survey (Sept. 10-15; 502 Florida adults) that projects Clinton holding a significant 49-44 percent Sunshine State advantage.
The North Carolina data, and four polls were released this week in the Tar Heel State, tilts toward Trump. Fox News (Sept. 18-20; 800 NC registered voters) gives the Republican his largest margin, 45-40 percent. Public Policy Polling (Sept. 18-20; 1,024 likely North Carolina voters) sees Trump ahead, but by a smaller 45-43 percent spread. The New York Times/Siena University survey (Sept. 16-19; 782 likely North Carolina voters) forecasts a 41-41 percent tie. Elon College (Sept. 12-16; 644 likely North Carolina voters) is also in the same realm, posting Trump to a 44-43 percent edge. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson scores six percent in three of the four polls, but touches double-digits (11 percent) in the NYT/Siena College survey.
The Colorado numbers are surprising. The latest polls suggest Trump is performing better in a state that appeared clearly headed toward Clinton. It still is, but the margins are much closer. Quinnipiac University (Sept. 13-21; 644 likely Colorado voters) gives Clinton only a 44-42 percent edge. Mesa University, a Colorado school (Sept. 14-18; 540 likely Colorado voters), also posts Clinton to 44 percent support, but finds Trump well back at 35 percent. The nine-point difference between the two candidates is closer to what earlier polls were reporting.
Trump has been on the upswing in Ohio and Iowa, and current data supports this trend. Fox News (Sept. 18-20; 806 registered Ohio voters) gives Trump a 42-37-6 percent split over Clinton and Johnson, consistent with other recent survey reports. In Iowa, the Q-Poll (Sept. 13-21; 612 likely Iowa voters) sees Trump pulling away: 44-37-10 percent.
Nevada, another critically important battleground state, also reports a Fox News poll (Sept. 18-20; 800 likely Nevada voters). As has been the monthly trend, Trump maintains a small lead here, 43-40-8 percent.
Virginia, a state that has twice voted for President Obama and home to Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine, is becoming a reliable Hillary Clinton state, too. The Quinnipiac Old Dominion data (Sept. 13-21; 659 likely Virginia voters) gives the former Secretary of State a 45-39-8 percent lead. Roanoke College (Sept. 11-20; 841 likely Virginia voters) projects an even stronger 51-40-8 percent Clinton advantage.
The remaining states reporting poll results this week are performing as one would expect based upon voter history:
Georgia: Quinnipiac (Sept. 13-21; 638 likely Georgia voters) sees Trump in front 47-40 percent, getting much closer to the state’s traditional voting pattern after early polls suggested the former First Lady was making inroads.
Illinois: A state that Republicans are not contesting, the Emerson College Polling Institute (Sept. 19-21; 700 likely Illinois voters), while showing a closing Illinois Senate race between Sen. Mark Kirk (R) and Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8) – the challenger’s lead dropping to 41-39 percent — forecasts a significantly larger 45-39-11 percent Clinton margin.
Wisconsin: Finally in the Badger State, the Emerson College Polling Institute (Sept. 19-20; 700 likely Wisconsin voters) sees the Clinton lead holding relatively steady, when compared to previous Wisconsin data, at 44-38-11 percent. Early in the cycle, this entity was viewed as a potential conversion state for Trump, but the Clinton numbers have yet to waiver.