Is It Possible?

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 2, 2016 — The latest reverberations from a potentially renewed Hillary Clinton FBI investigation are apparently helping to cause a severe tightening in the presidential race.

The latest polls, and there have been six conducted during the period from Oct. 24-30, now show the national popular vote again closing to perhaps within the margin of error. Clinton still leads in all national polls, but the trend is definitely favoring Donald Trump.

The six polls are from Morning Consult (Oct. 29-30; 1,772 likely US voters), Lucid/The Times Picayune (New Orleans) (Oct. 28-30; 857 likely US voters), Rasmussen Reports (Oct. 26-30; 1,500 likely US voters), Investors Business Daily/TIPP (Oct. 25-30; 993 likely US voters), NBC News/Survey Monkey (Oct. 24-30; 40,816 likely US voters via Internet), and ABC News/Washington Post (Oct. 26-29; 1,695 likely US voters). All but one find the Clinton lead dropping from what appeared to be a consistent six to nine point spread down to one or two.

Morning Consult, the only one of this group that was fully conducted after the latest email investigation situation became known, found the Clinton lead at three points, 42-39-7-5 percent over Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

The one poll still showing as much as a six point Clinton lead, from NBC News Survey Monkey (47-41 percent) should be separated from the group because the methodology – Internet-based with a massive 40,000-plus sampling universe – is different from the other five polls that each used more traditional polling methods.

That being said, three of the remaining four studies, Lucid, IBD/TIPP, and ABC/WaPost, all find margins of just one point between Clinton and Trump. The final entry, Rasmussen Reports, which normally polls most favorably for Trump, ironically is a better showing for Clinton. Here, her advantage is three points, 45-42 percent.

Additionally, the ABC News/Washington Post poll also reached a record low Clinton favorability index, actually dipping to 60 percent unfavorable (compared to only a 38 percent favorable rating), and a point worse than Trump. Keep in mind, the majority of this polling period occurred even before the latest mention of a renewed email investigation.

While we might have been seeing a natural tightening possibly because the Clinton lead elasticity was reached, the new investigation factor could be moving the contest into a national tie. But, where do the all-important states stand?

For Trump to actually pull an upset next week, he would first need to maintain his status in Ohio and Iowa, both of which he is generally leading by a small margin, and then take Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada. Even if all of these places come through, Clinton still wins because Trump would need one more state.

The latest polling numbers:
• North Carolina: Remington Research (R) (Oct. 30; 1,176 likely North Carolina voters via interactive automated response; Trump: 47-45-2 percent)
• Florida: New York Times/Siena College (Oct. 25-27; 814 likely Florida voters; Trump 46-42-4-2 percent)
• Nevada: Remington Research (R) (Oct. 30; 1,176 likely Nevada voters via interactive automated response; Trump: 48-44-4 percent)

Does Trump have a chance at another state that would put him over the top? He would have to carry one of the following three in order to achieve an Electoral College victory:
• Colorado: Remington Research (R) (Oct. 30; 1,176 likely Colorado voters via interactive automated response; Clinton: 45-44 percent)
• New Hampshire: WMUR-TV/University of New Hampshire (Oct. 26-30; 641 likely New Hampshire voters; Clinton: 46-39-6-1 percent)
• Pennsylvania: Remington Research (R) (Oct. 30; 1,249 likely Pennsylvaniavoters via interactive automated response; Clinton: 45-43 percent)

Though the race is clearly moving in Trump’s direction, it appears that even the most robust surge will fall short of propelling him to an Electoral College victory.

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