As of October 31 - RCP Electoral Map


The screen grab is from Monday morning. As you can see, the Clinton campaign is on the cusp of 270. Trump would need to run the table of toss-up states to win the election. However, the poll numbers behind the map haven't factored in the latest twist in the news. We have no way of knowing if there is yet another twist left in this crazy campaign.

In the abstract, this election was going to be difficult for the in-power party because running for the "third" term is always an uphill fight. The last time someone running for a "third" term was McCain and he lost in 2008 though a big factor was the economic crisis at the time. Gore was running for a "third" term and lost narrowly in 2000. The last successful election to a "third" term was 1988 when Bush defeated Dukakis

Clinton as a candidate has disadvantages: she has none of the charm of Bill Clinton and all the baggage of the Clinton brand name. She is an older candidate (fairly or unfairly) like McCain. She has the political stiffness of Gore. These are three huge negatives. On the positive, she positioned herself as the heir to Obama (Sanders positioned himself as Obama didn't go far enough) which solidifies her position among the party faithful. The other positive (fairly or not), she has played the first woman president card. Thus, she was positioned for a close election against a generic Republican candidate with a 50-50 chance of winning. 

However, Trump was a "black swan" event in the GOP pushing Clinton to a 75-25 favorite.

The remaining wild-cards:
How many "shy Trump" voters are out there?
If he is under-polling by ~ 1%, it won't matter
But if it is ~ 2%, it could be a longer night with Clinton probably still winning but closer than people anticipate.
If it is > 2%, Trump might draw the "inside straight" in the electoral college and win.
Any last minute twists in the news for either Clinton or Trump in the next week and a half?

There is less sensitivity to last minute news as more and more people vote early by mail and other mechanisms but still the bulk of the votes are cast on November 8 so some last minute shocking news could still shake the undecided or loosely committed voters.

UPDATE: Here is the latest from the team over at 538.

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