Donald Trump can now rest assured that he will win the Republican party’s nod to go on to the general election. He taps into a huge populist energy force that has, in his case, propelled him to solidly edging out his more traditional competitors. But can he rest equally assured that he even has a chance going into that general election?
According to the Cook Political Report, the answer is a resounding no. They put it like this initially, before delving into the specific projections:
‘Donald Trump’s historic unpopularity with wide swaths of the electorate – women, millennials, independents and Latinos – make him the initial November underdog.’
He has the worst favorability ratings of a major presidential candidate since a KKK leader ran for president decades ago. You can see the graph of his ratings below, via Huffington Post.
According to the newest numbers from the Cook analysts, “underdog” puts it nicely. Trump doesn’t have a chance. They put 307 electoral votes as likely to go to the Democratic candidate — and one only needs 270 to win.
The analysts assume that Democrat will be Hillary Clinton, which, in a way, is irrelevant. All projections have Bernie Sanders doing even better than Clinton against the GOP.
The newest numbers from Cook switch 12 states and areas towards the Democratic side. One, the 2nd Congressional District of Maine, is switched by the analysts from “Solid Democratic” to “Likely Democratic.” The states that are switched in favor of the Democrats include the crucial swing state of Florida, which goes from a “Tossup” to a “Likely Democratic.” (The “area” is Nebraska Congressional District 2. Nebraska awards their electoral votes proportionally by district.) In addition, the analysts suggest that the crucial swing states of Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa could shift Democratic as well. They state, however, that they are “holding off on changes in these states until we see more evidence.”
Fascinatingly, Trump’s chances could be hurt even further by the segments of his own party that hate him. Some of these, from former candidate and US Senator Lindsey Graham to Mitt Romney, have hinted at supporting a third party run.
It’s not rocket science that third party candidates take votes away from candidates of the two major parties. And, normally, these votes aren’t enough to score the third party candidate a win because voters don’t have a clue who they are. All they normally end up doing is hurting the viability of their ideologically closest two party counterpart — who, in this case, is Trump.
Still, as they themselves note, anything could happen. Trump will probably not win, but that is far from certain. That huge populist energy force could propel him to victory, as the dynamics of this election are very unique, both because of third party challengers from the right and the left and because of the extremely low popularity of the likely Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. One recent general election matchup poll had Trump 2% ahead of Clinton.