A series of polls in the swing (and not-so-swing) states released on Wednesday make this reality clear.
How bad are those numbers for Trump? To put it well: really bad.
Now let’s take a look at what these numbers would mean for Trump’s odds of reaching 270 in November.
* If Trump loses Texas (and wins anywhere in 2016), he will lose in Biden, 270 electoral votes to 268 electoral votes.
* If Trump loses Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (and wins anywhere else in 2016), he will lose Biden from 278 to 260.
* If Trump loses Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania (and wins anywhere in 2016), he will lose from 279 to 259.
* If Trump loses Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin (and wins anywhere else in 2016), he will lose from Biden 276 to 262.
* If Trump loses Arizona, Ohio and Wisconsin (and wins anywhere in 2016), he will lose from Biden 271 to 267.
The point here is not to say that none of these election map scenarios are blocked. After all, we are still 152 days away from the November 3 elections. (And yes, I counted.)
Rather, they must note that Biden, as of now, has a lot of different paths for 270 electoral votes, while Trump has a declining number. And of course, the polls released on Wednesday don’t even have to do with potential trouble spots for Trump in Florida, North Carolina and Georgia – all he won in 2016.
For what it’s worth, Trump’s best / most likely path to a second term would be to lose one or both of Michigan and Pennsylvania and hold all the other states he won in 2016. If he had lost both Michigan and Pennsylvania would have pulled out a 270 to 268 election victory over Biden. If he had lost only Pennsylvania, he would have won with 286 electoral votes. He just loses Michigan and Trump has 290 electoral votes and a second term.
“The country is as polarized as two months ago and the trajectory of the competition is essentially unchanged, with Biden holding a favorable position in the national poll and having multiple paths for 270 electoral votes.
“While daily developments give cable TV networks something to chat about, today’s big story will be replaced by a new tomorrow, and another the next day. But the fundamentals of the race remain unchanged.”
This is exactly right. To date, Biden has more ways than anytime of the campaign to date to get 270 electoral votes. And Trump has less.
Could change? Obviously! In the summer of 2016, the election map looked like Hillary Clinton was going to get a victory over Trump. Hell, it looked like this until the end of the fall.
Elections are not today. Trump will conduct a well-funded – and probably vicious – campaign that seeks to paint Biden as out of this world on every issue – from immigration to China to the race. And as the past few months have reminded us all, events can and can intervene to change what we think we know about the November elections.
All of this is true. None of this changes the fact that Trump is examining an increasingly difficult electoral map today, with little indication that a major change will come soon.