Politics

Map Reveals Donald Trump's Path to Victory

Donald Trump might be trailing Hillary Clinton by several points in national polls, but as Americans learned during the 2000 election, the popular vote doesn't mean everything.

donald-trump

Trump could technically get fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, but still win the election if he picks up valuable swing states that are heavy in electoral college votes.

Three swing states — Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida — could make the difference in the 2016 election.

People are sharing this electoral college map from 270towin.com to illustrate that point.

electoral college map

In order to win the presidency, a candidate must earn 270 electoral college votes. For the most part, a state's electoral college votes goes to the candidate who won the popular vote; but in 21 states, electors are not legally required to vote according to their state's popular vote result. (One of Georgia's 16 electors recently said he might not be voting for Trump no matter how the state votes.)

Statewide polling isn't the best indicator of electoral votes at this stage in the election, but assuming historical voting trends persist this cycle, we have a sense of what the electoral college map will look like heading into November. Trump's path to victory is narrow, The New York Times reports, but if he manages to snatch up Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, he could hit the 270 mark.

Importantly, all three of these "swing states" voted blue in the last two elections, pushing President Barack Obama to victory. And the last time a Republican won in Pennsylvania was 1988.

Pennsylvania

That's why the Trump campaign, as well as his primary super PAC, are focusing their efforts on these three states. The strategy is "to aim Mr. Trump like a battering ram at a small number of targets, to keep delivering his provocative message on trade, terrorism and immigration," The Times reports. Considering that white, working class voters — Trump's most consistent voting bloc — are strongly represented in these battleground states, it's possible that the tactic could work.

That said, statewide polls aren't quite in Trump's favor at this point. RealClearPolitics shows Clinton leading by five points in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania

Ohio and Florida are more contested, with the candidates within one point of each other.

Ohio

Florida

"Does Trump have to run the table of the top three targets? Absolutely," Republican strategist John Brabender told The Times. "The fact that we have to worry about winning Pennsylvania to win the presidency tells you it’s a difficult task."

[h/t The New York Times]

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