Donald Trump’s Paths to the Presidency
When Donald Trump announced that he was running as a candidate of the GOP primary and began his straight talk campaign, few dared to predict that the tycoon would be the nominee of the Grand Old Party for the US elections next 8 November. And much less they dared to predict that he would be the 45 president of the United States.
The controversial candidate was the winner of the primary leaving behind him Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Marco Rubio, among others, before the convention.
Today, less than a week before voting day, despite having a divided Republican Party, having little or no help from traditional Republican figures and all the weight of the mainstream media stacked up against him, he draws the largest popular support ever seen for a non-politician in the history of US elections.
A few weeks ago, especially after allegations of sexual harassment leveled at Trump, polls predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the next tenant of the White House, becoming the first woman who could hold the presidency of the United States.
But the reopening of FBI investigations on the misuse of a private server and emails that appear to link Clinton to even more corruption that the amount that has been exposed about her and her Foundation and at the State Department, she dropped anywhere between 12 and 15 points in all major polls, which turn the race competitive to say the least.
Although not all polls are honestly conducted, in fact, many are dubiously conducted, the average survey prepared by the specialized website Real Clear Politics (RCP), places Clinton barely above Trump by a mere 1 percentage point.
The last published poll by CBS and The New York Times on Thursday, gives a 3 point margin to the former first lady, but that advantage is still within the margin of error, which means that it is a virtual tie.
Though Clinton appears to be still ahead, having more votes does not assure her she will be the next president, and there are several scenarios that would prevent her from taking over the White House.
The American electoral system is complex. The popular vote does not elect the president, the Electoral College does. The Electoral College is composed of 538 electors or delegates of all states.
That figure is equal to the total number of senators and congressmen in the country plus three representatives of the District of Columbia in Washington.
The states have the same number of delegates as they have members of Congress. Each state except Maine and Nebraska, awards all electors to whoever wins the popular vote.
Only the two states acited above distribute their delegates proportionally.
The candidate who reaches 270 voters will be the next president. If no candidate reaches that number or if there is a tie, it will be Congress the one that chooses the president. In this case each state would have one vote.
In US history winning the popular vote does not always mean that a candidate moves into the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. In fact, the country has seen this situation four times. The last case was that of Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000, when Gore edged the Republican in more than half a million votes but lost in the electoral college.
In this election there are several states that will be key; which are the so-called swing states. As for the rest, unless a major surprise ocurrs, the battle is closed and decanted. In those states there is already a clear favorite. Surely, the next president will be chosen by the voters of North Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio and Florida.
So here are some scenarios and paths that would give Donald Trump the W next Tuesday:
The first one is if Donald Trump gets the most votes in the same states in which Mitt Romney won in 2012 and adds also Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Ohio (18) and New Hampshire (4). In Ohio and Iowa Trump seems to have an advantage right now, but not yet in Colorado or New Hampshire.
The average of polls from Real Clear Politics in New Hampshire placesTrump above Clinton. In Colorado, the Democratic candidate’s margin is lower, 1.7 points, and the latest survey, October 31, places them tied. In Ohio the most recent polls smile at the GOP candidate. Meanwhile in Iowa, the average is favorable to Trump. The latest survey from October 26, predicts a tie between the two.
Florida, the jewel in the crown of the swing states with 29 electoral votes, would fall into the hands of the Republicans as the average of polls show a narrow margin of between 1 percent and 3 percent. In this case, Trump would have approximately 272 electoral votes.
In the second scenario in which Trump would win the election would have him winning Florida and New Hampshire, but losing North Carolina (15) and winning Wisconsin (10). He would also need to win in Iowa, Ohio, Colorado and Nevada (6).
In North Carolina, the average of polls predicts a tie between two candidates. The latest, 1 November poll, gives Clinton a three-point advantage, although the other two poll that were conducted place Trump as favorite to win. This is why the current president of the United States, Barack Obama has been seen flying non-stop to a few of the so-called swing states, including North Carolina.
According to an analysis by The New York Times, early voting of African-Americans in this state has fallen compared to 2012, which is a problem for Democrats, for African Americans tend to opt for the Democratic candidate. That’s why Obama was there this week and said that Clinton’s victory depends on the state: “I hate pressuring North Carolina, but the fate of the republic depends on you. If Hillary Clinton wins North Carolina, she will win the presidency.”
In Wisconsin, the average and the latest polls favors Clinton, with more than 5 percentage points. But Republicans have not thrown in the towel, and in Nevada the average of the last two polls point to Trump as the winner. With this, Trump would add up to approximately 273 electoral college votes.
In the third scenario, Trump wins in five states where Obama won the most votes in 2012: Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and Ohio. In addition, Maine and Nebraska would offset each other and the two candidates would tie in the number of delegates, 269 each.
Thus, Congress would be the one to choose the winner with one vote for each state. In this case, Trump would win the election as Republicans dominate most states, even the small ones with few parliamentarians.
In all scenarios considered, Donald Trump must win Florida. That is why both parties have deployed all their artillery to that state in recent days. In the last elections, Obama won there. In 2000 it was the state that gave the victory to Bush by 537 popular votes.
On November 1, 33% of the electorate had cast their vote in Florida. Voters had sent their vote by post in what is called early voting, which includes just over four million people. Of these 4 million people, 1,648,603 were registered as Republicans and 1,632,677, as Democrats. In total, there are 12 million registered voters in the state and in 2012 the turnout was 72%, slightly less than 8.5 million.
A Reuters / Ipsos poll conducted ten days before the election and before the FBI announced the reopening of investigations into Clinton’s emails, the results placed the Democrat with a solid lead of more than 15 points in early voting. However, the survey did not have data for all states.
The reopening of the email investigation led Trump this week to ask people who had already voted to change their vote next Tuesday. It is possible to change the vote in at least 7 states. In some states it is possible to modify the ballot issued in advance at the point of voting on election day.
In addition to watching the results in Florida and other swing states, it is important to see how the reopening of the email scandal will affect Clinton next Tuesday and if that can catapult Donald Trump to the White House. As of now, the announcement of the reopening of the email investigation has shaved over 10 points in national polls. In some polls, Trump went from being tied or beating Clinton by 1 or 2 points, to being 6 points ahead.