The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The GOP’s massive electoral map problem isn’t getting any better

Democracy Corps, a Democratic polling consortium, is out today with a slew of new polling in 2016 presidential battleground states. And it doesn't look good for Donald Trump.

Now, this is a Democratic polling firm. And, it is June 30, meaning the actual election is still 131 days away. Neither party has held its national convention. Neither Trump nor Clinton has named a vice president. None of the three presidential (and one vice presidential!) debates has happened.

We know those events can change polling — sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. But what if — all of those caveats aside — these Democracy Corps polls are right? Using our handy-dandy electoral map tool, I gamed out three scenarios based on the results.

Here's what the map looks like if you give Clinton the five battleground states where she is leading as well as the other traditional Democratic states, give Trump Arizona and the rest of the strongly Republican states, and put Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada in limbo.

That map has Clinton at 319 electoral votes to Trump's 191.  There are 28 electoral votes uncommitted.

Now, here's what happens to the map if you give Clinton all three of the swing states where she is tied with Trump in the Democracy Corps polling.

That second map has Clinton at 347 electoral votes to 191 for Trump.

Finally, what if Trump won the three states that are tied in the Democracy Corps poll?

That map puts Clinton at 319 electoral votes to Trump's 219.

In all three maps, Clinton wins and wins easily, because you need only 270 electoral votes to be elected president.

What the trio of maps also reveals is just how difficult it is for any Republican to win the White House under the current electoral map. There are 17 states (and the District of Columbia) that have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in each of the six presidential elections between 1992 and 2012. Add them up and you get 242 electoral votes. There are 13 states that have voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every one of those six elections; they total 102 electoral votes. Win the states every Democrat since her husband has won plus Florida, and Hillary Clinton is the 45th president. Simple as that.

That math has nothing at all to do with Donald Trump. Ted Cruz, who finished second in the Republican primary race, would have faced the same problems. What the math does point to, however, is how badly Trump needs to expand the map into the Rust Belt and upper Midwest.  If the Democracy Corps polling is right and Trump trails Clinton by double digits in Michigan and Wisconsin and is down nine in Pennsylvania, it's going to be very, very hard for him to beat Clinton.

We'll spend the next few months writing about every jot and tittle of what Trump and Clinton say and do on a daily basis. But always remember that this isn't an even fight at the electoral level. The map — before a single ad is run or a single state is visited — clearly tilts in Democrats' favor.