The election is in 15 days. And the electoral map just keeps looking grimmer and grimmer for Donald Trump.
We are making three changes to The Fix map this week, all favoring Hillary Clinton.
First, we are moving Nevada, where Trump had shown surprising strength for much of this year, from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic” amid signs that the state is slipping away from him. Clinton has led in six of the past seven polls in the state — the other showed the race a tie — and now has an average lead of more than four points, according to Real Clear Politics. Trump’s collapse in the state is badly impacting Republicans’ chances of winning Sen. Harry Reid’s (D) open seat. Rep. Joe Heck (R), who led for much of the year, now finds himself behind former state attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto (D).
We’re also moving Utah — yes, Utah! — from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” as independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native and Mormon, continues to show considerable polling resiliency in the Beehive State. Count us as skeptical that Clinton can win in such a Republican state. But McMullin is taking lots of Republican voters away from Trump, and it’s not out of the question that the third party candidate could win the state’s six electoral votes.
And, finally — and much to our amazement — we are adding Texas to our list of competitive states, rating it as “lean Republican.” The last three polls taken in the state have shown Trump ahead by three points (twice) and four points; the Real Clear Politics polling average in the state puts Trump up 4.6 points. It speaks to how badly Trump is performing even in longtime Republican strongholds that the debate going forward won’t be whether Texas should stay on the list of competitive races but whether it should move to “toss-up.”
Those changes tilt the electoral map — and math — even more heavily toward Clinton. Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss-ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican, is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the past two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore!
Everywhere you look, Trump is underperforming where Mitt Romney was at this point in 2012. And Romney only got 206 electoral votes and lost by 5 million or so in the popular vote.
Here’s our full list of battleground states.
Toss-up (35 electoral votes)
Lean Democratic (127 electoral votes)
New Hampshire (4)
New Mexico (5)
North Carolina (15)
Lean Republican (74 electoral votes)