With just six days left until Americans go to the polls, Hillary Clinton’s once commanding national lead has collapsed to less than 2 points. Once hopelessly behind in the electoral count, Donald Trump has now surged to within striking distance. Real Clear Politics’ state poll averages puts the electoral contest at 273 to 265 in favor of Clinton — a dramatic tightening from just two days ago when it was a 304 to 234 Clinton landslide.
After suffering a bloody October, where all of the business mogul’s positive momentum from September was undone, he has climbed again in the national polls over the last two weeks, while Clinton has faltered following a series of deeply damaging headlines — most notably the reopening of the FBI’s investigation into her private email server. Though Trump is still behind in the count, he has taken the lead in some key battleground states — including Arizona, Nevada, and North Carolina — and is edging out Clinton in the traditional swing states of Ohio and Florida.
Real Clear Politics‘ average of state polls, without any “toss-up” states included, currently gives Clinton 226 electoral votes and Trump 180 — a 46-vote fall for Clinton over the last week, when she held 272 electoral votes, and a 44-vote gain for Trump. A candidate must garner 270 votes to win the presidency.
And here is the No Toss Ups Map, which shows Clinton barely besting Trump 273 to 265 as of Nov. 2 (less than a week ago the count was 333 to 205):
As of Nov. 1, RCP’s general election average for the four-candidate race — which includes the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein — finds Clinton with a 2.2% advantage (45.3 – 43.1), a 2-point slip from a week ago and a 4-point slide from mid-October. Four of RCP’s seven featured polls show Clinton ahead, though the most recent (ABC/Wash Post, IBD/TIPP, and Rasmussen) show the race to be a dead heat. Clinton’s largest lead is 6 points (NBC News/SM, last updated 10/30).
As of Nov. 1, RCP’s head-to-head survey average finds Clinton holding a slightly narrower lead: 1.7-points (47.2 to 45.5), down over 4 points since three weeks ago. Clinton currently leads in four of RCP’s six featured polls, her largest lead 7 points (NBC News/SM). Trump leads by 6 points in the LA Times/USC tracking poll, which has consistently shown more favorable numbers for the Republican than other polls, a result the pollsters attribute to the survey including a “bloc of disaffected [Trump] voters” ignored by other polls. The IBD/TIPP tracking poll finds the two candidates tied.
FAVORABILITY & BETTING ODDS
Both candidates have been polling at higher negatives than any previous two presidential frontrunners, even during times when one candidate has experienced positive movement. Clinton’s favorability by average currently sits at -9.3 points, while Trump’s favorability is 11.7 points worse at -21.
The betting odds for the two candidates tightened about 10 points in the last week, though Clinton is still heavily favored, 72.2% to 26.5%.
While national polls and favorability ratings are important indicators of the overall popularity of candidates, the state-by-state polls are, of course, what really matters. Below are the most recent polling numbers for 16 battleground states, including the three traditional key swing states.
In Florida, as of Oct. 30, RCP’s poll average finds Trump back in the lead, though by a narrow margin. In a four-way contest, Trump holds a razor-thin 1% lead (45.5 – 44.5). The results of the two-way polls show a similar gap: 0.8% (45.9 – 45.1). The two candidates were tied in late September. Clinton led the state by over 4% in mid-August and over 2% in mid-October.
In Ohio, as of Oct. 30, Trump maintains a slightly stronger lead over Clinton. In a four-way race, Trump leads by 2.5% (46.8 – 44.3) and by the same margin in the head-to-head surveys (46.8 – 44.3). Trump held an over 3-point lead in the first week of October, while Clinton led by 5 points in late August.
In Pennsylvania, as of Oct. 30, Clinton holds a solid 6-point lead in a four-way contest (47.2 – 41.2), a 3-point slip from a month ago. Head-to-head surveys show her with the same advantage (47.2 – 41.2). In mid-October, Clinton held an over 9-point lead.
OTHER BATTLEGROUND STATES
Below are thirteen other battleground states ranked from narrowest to widest margins (numbers based on RCP’s averages as of Nov. 2 of the most current surveys). In general, most of the races have tightened over the last two weeks, with Trump managing to flip three key states (Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona) over the last couple of days, though he leads by very narrow margins in all three. Trump currently leads in six of the thirteen states listed below (he led in only 3 last week).
In October, Clinton regained the leads she lost the previous month in Nevada, North Carolina, and Colorado, but lost two of those over the last week and has now slipped behind Trump in Arizona, where the two candidates have been trading leads for the last two months. In the seven other battleground states listed below, Clinton has a 4-point advantage or better, though most of the gaps have shrunk in the last week.
NEVADA: Trump +0.5 (44.8 – 44.3)
NORTH CAROLINA: Trump +0.7 (47 – 46.3)
IOWA: Trump +1.4 (41.7 – 40.3)
ARIZONA: Trump +1.5 (45 – 43.5)
COLORADO: Clinton +4 (44 – 40)
GEORGIA: Trump +4 (47.5 – 43.5)
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Clinton +4.7 (46 – 41.3)
VIRGINIA: Clinton +4.7 (47 – 42.3)
MINNESOTA: Clinton +5 (45.3 – 40.3)
WISCONSIN: Clinton +5.7 (47 – 41.3)
MAINE: Clinton +6.6 (45.3 – 38.3)
MICHIGAN: Clinton +7 (47 – 40)
MISSOURI: Trump +8 (48 – 40)
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Clinton, who once held an 11-point lead by average in late March, saw her commanding lead evaporate over the next four months. After dramatic movement for Trump in late May, including a brief national lead following the Republican National Convention and the FBI’s damaging report on Clinton’s private email server, the two candidates were deadlocked at 44.3% on July 29, the day after the Democratic National Convention. Over the next three weeks, however, Clinton built an 8-point lead nationally.
In late August, Clinton’s lead began to slip as Trump made a series of smart political moves—including visiting Louisiana in the aftermath of the flooding, meeting with the president of Mexico, and giving a number of strong policy speeches—while Clinton appeared to be bunkering down amid more bad headlines about the Clinton Foundation, her private email server, and her continued health problems. performance, Though the damning revelations about the Clinton campaign and the investigation into her emails had largely been ignored by the media and the wider public through most of October, the FBI’s bombshell announcement on Oct. 28 that it had reopened the investigation into her private server has begun to impact polling.