Hillary Clinton and her campaign are measuring the drapes.
She is holding a low single-digit lead in the polls and her campaign is exuding confidence.
But should they?
Right now the polls and Electoral College map favor Hillary Clinton.
Politico reports on her advisors boasting of how many different paths they have to the White House:
“Hillary Clinton has many paths to 270 electoral votes, more than any candidate in a generation,” said Jeff Berman, a paid consultant to her campaign…
..She is sitting at 269 electoral votes guaranteed right now,” said David Plouffe, the architect of Barack Obama’s two victories and an outside adviser to Clinton’s campaign, including the battleground state of Pennsylvania in his count. “I would argue she is sitting at 347, but for argument’s sake, we can suspend reality for a moment.”
“The Clinton campaign is smart to have such a wide playing field,” he said. “It increases your margin of error, forces Trump to play defense in Georgia, Utah, and Arizona — and preserves the chance for an Electoral College landslide.”
Clinton allies see an East Coast path, for instance, which would guarantee 317 electoral votes by picking up New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida; a wholly separate Latino strategy that would put her at 295 electoral votes just with victories in Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico; and a path through the Rust Belt that would focus on Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa and put her at 293 electoral votes without North Carolina, Georgia, Florida or Nevada.
But is this boasting all that it seems to be?
Writing on fivethirtyeight.com, political forecaster Nate Silver warns that as the race tightens, Hillary’s lead in the Electoral College may not be as solid as it seems:
But what if the race continues to tighten? I’ve often heard Democrats express a belief that Clinton’s position in the swing states will protect her in the Electoral College, even if the race draws to a dead heat overall. But this is potentially mistaken. Although it’s plausible that Clinton’s superior field operation will eventually pay dividends, so far her swing state results have ebbed and flowed with her national numbers…
…Usually, the trend line adjustment helps the model peg what forthcoming polls will look like in a state, even if there haven’t been many of them recently. When Clinton established a roughly 8-point lead nationally in August, for example, it figured we’d see polls showing her with leads of 10 to 12 percentage points in some of her better swing states, such as Michigan and Colorado, along with leads of 5 to 6 percentage points in swing states that are just slightly redder than the country as a whole, such as Ohio and Florida. And that’s pretty much what we saw, at least on average. Now that the race has tightened to 4 or 5 points nationally, the model expects to see narrower leads — along with some polls showing a tie or Trump slightly ahead in the more red-leaning swing states…
…The other thing to notice about Clinton’s swing state polls is that they aren’t especially strong (or weak) relative to her national polls. At her post-convention peak, Clinton’s path of least resistance to 270 electoral votes appeared to run through a set of states that included Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, among others. But in Pennsylvania, the most recent polls have Clinton ahead by margins ranging from 3 to 8 percentage points — perfectly fine, but not that different from her national numbers. We haven’t gotten much data recently from New Hampshire, but it can be swingy, and the most recent numbers from the Ipsos poll (caveat: very small sample size) showed Trump ahead. We did get some high-quality polls from Wisconsin, and, as I mentioned, they weren’t that good for Clinton.
As Clinton’s national lead narrows, her swing-state poll leads will narrow.
But with just over two months until the general election, is there enough time for Trump to catch up?
Let us know what you think in the comment section.