The final polls are in, capping off one of the most topsy-turvy Presidential races of modern times.
While there has been a litany of polling over the last year and a half — some accurate, most not as evidenced in the unpredictable rise of Donald Trump — the majority of what is out there has not favored a path to victory for the Republican candidate.
However, it may be short sighted to look at the race as in the bag for Hillary Clinton, especially when taking a more granular view of the state-by-state final polls as of Monday evening, the eve of Election Day.
Real Clear Politics currently shows an advantage for the Democratic nominee of less than three percent nationally. But national popularity votes do not win Presidential elections. Just look at the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore in which Gore won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College.
I believe Trump will upset HRC tomorrow.
I want to see everyone’s maps! Make one and tweet me: pic.twitter.com/frTlRQxhhQ
— Harlan Hill (@Harlan) November 7, 2016
The numbers that really matter when determining who will win and who will lose on Tuesday night, Nov. 8, have everything to do with these numbers rather than the total number of ballots cast — and presently, things look good for Donald Trump.
Here is how RCP sees it.
Taking the state-by-state data — most of which are final polls, most of which being the operative term because you’re about to discover a quick update that favors Trump — Clinton holds an advantage of 203 electoral votes to 164 for the Republican.
Under this scenario, Clinton would have to win only 67 more to secure the Presidency while Trump’s path is 106. This seems like a clear-cut advantage, and it is to a degree, until you start breaking down the so-called “tossup states,” where the final polls are within the margin of error and could break either way.
The lower Clinton’s margins are in these cases, the better chance Trump has of swooping in and getting those electoral votes if turnout breaks in his favor. Evidence you’re about to see shows it is.
But using the scenario as presented, RCP extrapolates an Electoral College scenario where there are no tossups — meaning whoever is ahead in the final polls gets the votes — leaving Clinton with 301 to Trump’s 237.
Again, 270 is the number you want to focus on.
Now, for Trump to pull off the upset, he would need to secure just 33 electoral votes from Clinton’s “win” column while holding onto the tossups that have been awarded to him at this juncture.
Trump’s margins in the tossups are within the margin of error per the RCP polling aggregates, but they are all over one percentage point, and momentum in recent days has favored him. Meaning, Mrs. Clinton once had a larger Electoral College lead. Now she doesn’t, indicating Trump has made inroads in her most vulnerable areas, as you’re about to find out.
Out of the states deemed Clinton “wins,” there are two especially vulnerable states where early Monday she held lower than one percentage point advantages — Florida (29 electoral votes, a lead of 0.2 points) and New Hampshire (4 electoral votes, a lead of 0.6 points).
On Monday afternoon, Florida’s final polls flipped into his favor (0.2 points, a 0.4-point swing), theoretically giving him 29 of the 33 votes needed.
— Lizzy ✌????️VOTE TRUMP (@MissLizzyNJ) November 7, 2016
While this post was in the process of being put together, RCP updated its Electoral College final polls one last time, giving Clinton a mere 272-266 advantage. That leaves New Hampshire.
While Clinton voters can take solace in the fact that the final polls show a six-vote advantage — enough to give her the White House — there is cause for concern.
Two weeks ago, the race was considered all but over as fallout from Trump’s bawdy 2005 remarks continued to sour voters on him.
Given how much the race has tightened — and what the final polls from each of the states now say — the certainty is no longer there.
But what do you think, readers?
Will turnout break in Trump’s favor? Will Clinton win in a surprise landslide? How accurate do you think the final polls will be? Sound off in the comments section below.