The most likely candidates for that would seem to be the states that Obama won most narrowly: Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado, in that order -- setting aside North Carolina, which was second-closest but which Romney won.
In Virginia and Colorado, both Hillary Clinton and the largest super PAC supporting her are pulling ads because they're up by so much: 11 points in Colorado according to the most recent RealClearPolitics (RCP) average of polls and 10 in Virginia, after The Post's new poll released on Tuesday. Those numbers could change, but those are pretty big leads with 80-odd days to go. They're pull-your-ads big. (Oh, and North Carolina, the close state that Romney won? Clinton leads there, too.)
Florida, though, has been interesting. A state with a large nonwhite population, it has been relatively close for Trump, with RCP showing him down 3.6 points in polling. And then, on Tuesday afternoon, a new poll from Monmouth University: Clinton 48, Trump 39. A 9-point spread.
Why's Trump falling behind in Florida? The same reasons he's falling behind everywhere else. Clinton gets 92 percent of the vote from Democrats; Trump gets only 79 percent of the vote from Republicans. Trump has a lead of 40 points among white men, a group Romney won by 30. But white women back Clinton by 10 points and Romney won them in 2012 by 17 points. That 10-point swing for Trump among men is more than offset by that 27-point swing among women.
Even before the Monmouth poll the RCP average in Florida favored Clinton by 3.6 points -- not insurmountable, but grim. Now it's 4.5 points.
We can compare to the past two cycles and see that in 2008 Obama closed a bigger gap than that to win in the state. He closed a smaller gap in 2012, though the average was also 2 points off of the actual results.
So how did Obama turn it around in 2008? He was helped in part by the conventions, which hadn't yet happened at this point in that cycle or in 2012. He was aided, too, by a broad shift toward his candidacy in the last weeks of the campaign as the economy continued to falter. The big shifts in the state are a function of precipitating events: The conventions or, in the 2012 example, Romney's strong first debate.
This seems to be Trump's campaign strategy: Wait for some big break. As we've noted repeatedly, including on Tuesday morning, Trump isn't making big investments in his campaign. He's spent no money on television ads, which is amazing. He's barely got any field effort going in any states. He doesn't appear to be doing much online besides tweeting. He's not really doing anything besides rallies and giving interviews -- a process that, so far, has preserved his base of enthusiastic support but hasn't looped in any new voters.
Which is the big problem! We know 1) that Trump needs to outperform Romney and 2) that he isn't -- he's doing worse. We know that most people have an opinion of him already, mostly negative. In Virginia, more than half view Trump strongly unfavorably, according to our new poll.
How does he convince those people to give him a second look? He's not going to do it with his upcoming convention. He had a chance to do that and came out worse than he went in. Maybe he can do it at a debate, but he didn't see big spikes after the Republican debates -- and those, with eight to ten candidates, would seem like friendlier turf.
So what's the plan? How is Trump going to get women to reconsider his candidacy? How is he going to get nonwhite voters -- who, in Florida, prefer Clinton by 50 points -- to consider him as a viable option? How's he going to do that without advertising and with a skeletal voter outreach program?
What, at its heart, is the plan? Where and how will Trump expand that core of support? How will he claw back in Ohio or Virginia or North Carolina. If he loses Florida, he loses.
When will he start trying to win it?