Donald Trump's Path to Victory Has Widened

November 2nd 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's path to victory modestly widened this week, with national and state polls tightening less than a week before Election Day.


Though Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is still leading nationally, that lead has slimmed since mid-October when she was ahead by about seven points, according to RealClearPolitics. As of Wednesday, national polls have Clinton leading Trump by about three points. Signs still point to a Clinton victory in November, but if the polls continue to tighten, that could change.


"Whenever the race tightens, we get people protesting that the popular vote doesn’t matter because it’s all about the Electoral College, and that Trump has no path to 270 electoral votes," FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver wrote. "But this presumes that the states behave independently from national trends, when in fact they tend to move in tandem."

FiveThirtyEight ran some simulations that show how a two-point margin in the popular vote could impact Trump's chances of winning. If the election were held today — with Clinton ahead by about three points — the likelihood of Trump winning competitive states such as Florida and North Carolina would be shaky at best. But a two-point margin would put those and many other states in play.


What it would take for Trump to win?

Assuming that the popular vote narrows to two points, increasing the probability of Trump victories in numerous, competitive states, Trump does have a shot at the 270 electoral votes. He'd have to win states that are currently leaning toward Clinton — Nevada, North Carolina, Maine, and Florida — and at least one more states that's safely in Clinton's territory such as New Hampshire or Colorado.

Here's a map of what that would look like from 270ToWin.


It's a narrow possibility, but the prospect of a Trump victory is no longer considered the long-shot it was just two weeks ago.