With the 2016 presidential election now just 36 days away, we'll be updating our Fix electoral map every Monday from here on out as things change. The big change this week is that Pennsylvania, long the holy grail for Donald Trump's chances of expanding the playing field and potentially getting 270 electoral votes in his race against Hillary Clinton, is moving back to the toss-up category in our rankings.
Why? Because poll after poll after poll — including one released by Quinnipiac University on Monday — suggest that in a four-way race that includes Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton holds a very narrow lead over Trump. It's a lead more consistent with the other states that we rate toss-ups than the states we rate lean Democratic, which is where we've had Pennsylvania for some time now.
Moving Pennsylvania certainly helps Trump as its 20 electoral votes — if he can win them — give him some wiggle room in his still-narrow path to 270. But the question now is whether Trump's disastrously bad last seven days — beginning with the first presidential debate and ending today with a brutal AP story about his conduct toward women on the set of "The Apprentice" — will erase the gains he has made in Pennsylvania in recent weeks. (That same question goes for Colorado, Ohio and Florida, too.)
But, as of today, Pennsylvania looks like a toss-up. And that's very good news for Trump.
Here's our new map. And, below the map, check out all of the states that we rate as competitive today.
Toss-up (88 electoral votes)
North Carolina (15)
Lean Democratic (57 electoral votes)
New Hampshire (4)
New Mexico (5)#
Lean Republican (33 electoral votes)
Arizona (11) Trump
Georgia (16) Trump
Iowa (6) Trump
# -- moved in favor of Republicans since last rankings