Donald Trump’s Possible Road to the Presidency

Photo via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons license

Photo via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons license positions_of_Donald_Trump

The past couple of weeks have unfolded even more political scandals involving Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, effectively shifting the momentum of the electoral college polls in Donald Trump’s favor.

The month of September has been rather brutal for Hillary Clinton; whether it’s unveiling more adverse information on her emails, her health, the Clinton Foundation, or her public remarks, Clinton simply cannot get a break from the media. Consequently, this wave of negative attention for the Democrats has only helped Republican nominee Donald Trump surge back into the polls from his own damaging month in August. While many still project Clinton to clinch the nomination, Trump has made gains and now threatens the democrats’ hold on the electoral college.

Polls conducted by Reuters/Ipsos over the past few months (counting the electoral votes of states leaning towards one party with a voter turnout of 60%) clearly show the shift in momentum, with Clinton dropping 53 electoral votes from their August 26th poll to their September 15th and Trump gaining 72 electoral college votes, sending him into the lead by 1. The remaining 53 of the electoral college votes remain in battleground states like Maine, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

More aggressive poll projections by Politico show Trump winning key battleground states and tallying his electoral votes to 266 by the election date. Comparatively, Clinton would be left with 272 of the total 538, resulting in her winning the presidency by just a few electoral votes. That being said, the election would be close enough where only one battleground state, like Colorado, would need to switch sides before the election date to completely change the outcome.

General election electoral college poll averages compiled by Real Clear Politics over the past three months show a very similar trend to what Politico predicts: an election that will be closer than possibly any before. For the most part, the poll averages show Clinton in the overall lead throughout the entire election, with the exception of the week following the Republic National Convention. August 8th seemed to have been Trump’s lowest point, where he trailed by 7.6 percentage points in overall polling. However since then, Trump’s approval has steadily risen, and in conjunction, Clinton’s has steadily fallen. As a result, Clinton only leads by .9% as of September 20th (Clinton 40.9% and Trump 40%).

Regardless of what polls what are used or compared, one thing is decidedly clear: Trump is gaining momentum, and Clinton’s continuous blunders are leading to steadily falling poll numbers.

Photo via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons license.
Photo via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License.

But the change in the poll numbers isn’t just as simple as voters suddenly deciding that they like Trump more that Clinton or more people are now voicing their opinions. In some cases, the momentum shift is due to voters having such a difficult time choosing a candidate to support, that one mistake by a candidate leads to them change sides. Looking at Hillary Clinton, her repeated errors are only reinforcing undecided voters’ lean towards Donald Trump, who then continues to capitalize on those mistakes. All of this is leading to Trump discovering a path to the White House where there previously wasn’t one.

The election will undoubtedly be a close one. The situation seems as though the victor of battleground states won’t necessarily be decided by who is the stronger politician. In fact, no part of this election has been about who is the better politician, but rather who can gain more public attention by saying outrageous things or out-insulting the other. The Democratic and Republican nominees aren’t polling ahead of the other because all voters vastly prefer one over the other, but rather that some voters are being forced to choose a candidate and are basing their opinion on who is now making the fewest blunders. Instead, the victor will just be the one who can play the next couple of weeks the safest. If Trump wants to have a chance of clinching the nomination, then all he needs to do is sit back and let accident prone Clinton make more mistakes like he has the past couple weeks.