Much remains to be decided on election night, but this is nothing close to the Hillary Clinton rout that many in politics — and the media — saw as likely on Tuesday. In fact, Donald Trump appears likely to win at this point.
Trump has won his so-called “must-win” states of Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.
The big news: Trump is legitimately making a play for two blue-leaning states that seemed beyond his reach just a week ago but where he invested some time in the final week — Michigan and Wisconsin. These are states that have long eluded the GOP’s grasp and didn’t seem likely to be winnable for Trump. He is up 3.7 points in Wisconsin with 77 percent of precincts reporting and 1.3 points in Michigan with 65 percent in.
Another blue-leaning state, Pennsylvania, is favoring Clinton by 1.2 points with about 80 percent of the vote in. But Trump has been closing that margin and could continue to do so. And if Michigan and Wisconsin are in-play, it’s likely Pennsylvania is too.
It’s very early out west in Nevada, but given the above, projections that Clinton was a significant favorite there based on early voting have to be called into question.
Give all of this, it’s time to reassess the idea, which we and everyone else have espoused early and often, that Trump’s path to victory is narrow. It’s not.
It was looking like he had to win Florida, Ohio and probably both Pennsylvania and North Carolina. That’s no longer the case.
With victories in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina — and the possible additions of Michigan and Wisconsin and their 26 electoral votes to the map — Trump’s paths are multiplied. And all he likely needs is one or the other.
This morning, we looked at four possible Trump paths to victory, with each of them going through Florida and Ohio at a minimum. Giving Trump Michigan or Wisconsin was the least likely of the four outcomes, and we assumed only one of them might flip.
But if you gave Trump either Michigan or Wisconsin, getting to 270 was much easier. He didn’t need to win Pennsylvania anymore. He just had to add Florida, Ohio, North Carolina (all three of which are now won) and Iowa and Michigan to win. If he took Wisconsin rather than Michigan, he’d need to add either Nevada or New Hampshire to get over the top, but that’s looking increasingly very doable.
Importantly, all of this assumes that Trump doesn’t lose Arizona. We don’t know what’ll happen there, but it polled as a toss-up for most of the general election, and Trump’s strength elsewhere suggests he should win it.
Here’s the Wisconsin map: Florida + Ohio + North Carolina + Iowa + Wisconsin + New Hampshire = 273 electoral votes
And here’s the Michigan map: Florida + Ohio + North Carolina + Iowa + Michigan = 275 electoral votes
The idea that Trump was a big underdog was prefaced on the idea that states like Michigan and Wisconsin weren’t truly on the table. They are. We now have to rethink the whole map.