Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Donald Trump’s Path to Victory is Suddenly Looking Much, Much Wider
By Aaron Blake
Washington Post
November 8 at 10:01 PM

As polls close across the United States, Ed O’Keefe, Elise Viebeck and Chris Cillizza bring you results, reactions, candidate speeches and analysis live from the Washington Post newsroom. (The Washington Post)

It's still early on election night, but this is not turning into anything close to the Hillary Clinton rout that many in politics -- and the media -- saw as likely on Tuesday.

To wit:

Florida is looking like a barn-burner, despite big Hispanic turnout in the early-voting period. As our own Philip Bump notes, "...It seems that the white voters Trump was banking on -- the voting bloc that he'd always insisted would push him to victory -- is voting heavily, too." Trump is currently up 1.2 points with 93 percent of precincts in.

In what was supposed to be a must-win state for Trump, North Carolina, Trump leads by 2.6 points, with 60 percent of precincts reporting.

The big one: Even though it's early, 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 from Trump. He's up 7 points early in Wisconsin and 4 points early in Michigan.

Another blue-leaning state, Pennsylvania, is still very early in its vote count, and Clinton leads by 11.

But if Michigan and Wisconsin are in play, it's very likely that Pennsylvania is in play too, given the similar makeup of these states.

He's keeping it close in another state Clinton was expected to have basically locked up -- Virginia -- by far over-performing Mitt Romney's 2012 showing in the southern part of the state.
Give all of this, it's time to re-assess the idea, which we have espoused early and often, that Trump's path to victory is narrow. It was looking like he had to win Florida, Ohio and probably both Pennsylvania and North Carolina. That's no longer necessarily the case.

With victory in Florida and North Carolina now in reach -- and the possible additions of Michigan and Wisconsin and their 26 electoral votes to the map (Virginia still looks tough) -- Trump's paths are literally multiplied. To be clear: It's not that he's favored in either state. But they are on the board.

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, Iowa and maybe New Hampshire. He could even theoretically lose Florida or North Carolina if he really swept the Rust Belt. That's not likely, but it's not completely insane anymore.

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