The post-convention poll bumps, which are quite common at this point in the election process, have boosted both candidates at different times and in different polls.
The 538 poll shows that Trump was gaining on Clinton slightly before the RNC. What had been a six or seven-point deficit became only a three-point deficit for Trump before night one of the convention.
The poll numbers changed once the convention concluded, but the three post-convention polls — RABA, Gravis, and Echelon Insights — show numbers all over the map. RABA shows Trump, who once trailed Clinton by twelve points, only trailing by five points today. Gravis polls show Trump with a full two-point lead over Clinton, and Echelon Insights shows Clinton leading by a mere one point.
How do voters make sense of these wildly varying numbers? The truth is, they can’t. Poll numbers immediately after the conventions are notoriously varying and unreliable. However, there is one way to get a handle on where the candidates really stand at this point in the election process, and that is by studying the electoral college projection maps.
Those maps overwhelmingly show Clinton with a wide and steady lead against Donald Trump.
Larry J. Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” 2016 electoral college projections, for instance, show Clinton with a projected 347 electoral college votes to Trump’s 191. A presidential candidate needs 270 votes from the electoral college to secure the presidency.
Pre-convention, Clinton led in seven very important battleground states: Iowa, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia. She is still expected to take those states, which, with their 117 electoral college votes, would be must-wins for Trump in November. Trump would need to win in at least a wide majority of those states to secure the office, which is highly unlikely at this point.
The Cook Political Report divides the states up slightly differently, with the battleground states of Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio left as toss-ups and their 39 electoral college votes up for grabs. Cook expects Clinton to secure the other four (Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia), and other polls show Clinton winning even in traditionally Republican states like Arizona.
It will be a long three months of weighing options and hearing more about the presidential candidates’ plans for the country between now and November, but so far, the Democratic candidate still seems to hold a commanding lead in electoral college votes. The only way to secure those votes, however, is if Democrats and all other American citizens who understand the danger that Donald Trump poses to this country get out and vote.
For a state-by-state guide to understanding the electoral college votes and how these numbers are projected, see video below:
Featured image via Center for Politics