Hillary Clinton Vs. Donald Trump Polls: Clinton Regains Lead, Race Tight But Electoral College Looks Bad For Trump

A series of polls this week shows Democrat Hillary Clinton pulling back ahead of Donald Trump in the 2016 race for the White House, after Trump apparently benefited from a “bump” in his popularity as a result of becoming the presumptive Republican nominee to briefly take a fractional lead over Clinton last week.

But Clinton’s lead in the polls, and in the overall polling averages, remains narrow, showing that the race has grown tighter — albeit with nearly six months to go before the general election on November 8. In fact, neither Trump nor Clinton has yet been officially named the nominee of their respective parties.

Trump, however, now appears to have collected the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the Republican nomination, according to an unofficial delegate count by CNN. Since his chief opponents Ted Cruz and Josh Kasich dropped out of the race in early May, the New York real estate mogul and reality TV star has been running unopposed on his way to the nomination.

Even with the close race shown in head-to-head polls between Clinton and Trump, however, the apparent Republican nominee still faces a seemingly insurmountable deficit to get to the White House — the electoral college, where he must somehow put together enough victories in individual states to reach 270 electoral votes.

Three polls last week showed Trump pulling ahead of Clinton nationwide. In a Rasmussen poll, Trump led by five percentage points. A Fox News poll showed Trump ahead by three points and an ABC News/Washington Post poll put Trump ahead of Clinton by two points.

Those polls were three of only six showing Trump in the lead or tied, out of 30 major polls released since February 28. But they nonetheless allowed Trump to pass Clinton in the Real Clear Politics polling average by 0.2 of a percentage point.

But six more polls have been released since the ABC/WaPo poll, all but one putting Hillary Clinton back on top in the presidential race against Donald Trump — and the one poll in which Clinton did not lead — a May 17 through May 20 poll by American Research Group — showed a tied race at 46 percent each for Trump and Clinton.

Watch experts on an NBC Today Show panel discuss the new polling, in the video below.

Rasmussen, which showed the biggest lead for Trump yet seen in the race just one week earlier, on Thursday released a new poll showing Trump’s entire five-point advantage erased with Clinton back on top by one point.

Clinton held a four-point edge in an NBC News/Survey Monkey poll, and a five point lead in the May 25 Ipsos/Reuters daily tracking poll. Polls by YouGov/The Economist and Morning Consult each showed the former Secretary of State with a one-point lead over Trump.

The new polls pushed Clinton back into the lead according to the Real Clear Politics average by a single point, and a 4.2 point advantage according to the Huffington Post/Pollster.com average. Real Clear Politics did not include all of the newly released polls in its average, as of May 26.

New state polling also helped Trump in the race to win 270 electoral votes — which is the only race that actually matters, because the electoral college will determine the next president, not the overall popular vote.

But, according to the latest polling compiled by the Election Graphs site, a recent SurveyUSA poll in Florida showed the race in that state narrowing, with Clinton now holding just a one-point lead in the crucial swing state, whose 29 electoral votes are, along with New York also at 29, the second biggest haul in the election.

Only California, with 55 electoral votes, is more valuable.

In the polling average compiled by Election Graphs, Clinton now holds a 4.2 point lead in Florida, moving the state into the “weak” column for Clinton.


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So what would it take for Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton in the electoral college, according to the most recent state-by-state polling averages?

To top 270 electoral votes, Donald Trump must win all five “weak” Hillary Clinton states — Florida, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina and Iowa. But those victories still would not be enough. Trump must also hold on to his own four “weak” states, which are Georgia, Arizona, Colorado and Missouri.

If Donald Trump wins all nine of those states, he wins 274 electoral votes and the presidency, according to polls averaged by Election Graphs. But if Trump loses even one of the nine, Hillary Clinton will win the electoral college. And if both Clinton and Trump hold on to each win their respective “weak” states, Clinton accumulates 338 electoral votes to just 200 for Trump — a definitive Clinton victory.

[Featured Photos By Justin Sullivan/Spencer Platt/Getty Images]