There's been some movement toward Donald Trump in both national and swing-state polling over the past week. Trump's problem is that, at least as of today, it's just not enough. There are too many swing states that appear to have already slipped out of his grasp for relatively minor movement to drastically increase his chances of winning the 270 electoral votes he needs to beat Hillary Clinton in eight days.
Still, for Trump, who has weathered a terrible last month of the campaign, any positive news is welcome.
The big move in our Fix electoral ratings this week is that Florida goes from “lean Democratic” to “toss-up.” Polling in Florida has tightened over the past week. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Florida tied(!) between Clinton and Trump; a New York Times-Siena poll out on Sunday showed Trump up four.
Remember that winning Florida isn't a luxury for Trump — it's a necessity. If Clinton wins the 18 states (plus D.C.) that every Democratic presidential nominee has carried between 1992 and 2012, she has 242 electoral votes. Add Florida's 29 to that total and Clinton is at 271 and the election is over.
What Florida's move means for Trump then is that a viable pathway to victory now exists. What it doesn't mean is that the map is tilting in his favor. It isn't. (Trump's camp is making noise about the newfound competitiveness of New Mexico, Michigan and Wisconsin. The polling in that trio of states doesn't suggest any of them are that competitive just yet.)
Clinton still has 294 electoral votes solidly in her camp or leaning her way. Trump has only 180. If Trump wins ALL four of the states that The Fix currently rates as “toss-ups” — which include Florida — he's still 26 electoral votes short of 270.
Our full list of competitive states is below.
Toss-up (64 electoral votes)
Lean Democratic (98 electoral votes)
New Hampshire (4)
New Mexico (5)
North Carolina (15)
Lean Republican (74 electoral votes)
* moved benefiting Trump