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Wargaming the Electoral College

Me, back in April:

As bad as Hillary is at this stuff, in head-to-head match-ups she still outpolls Cruz by single digits, and Trump by whopping double digits. There's been some happy talk that Trump could put New York in play -- but what of it? Demographics and likability ratings put Trump into Chapter 11 (a familiar place) in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Colorado. Given Trump's recent stumbles, GOP stalwarts like Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, and even Arizona start to look iffy. Trump's challenge isn't getting to 270 -- it's getting to 200.

RealClearPolitics, today:

Let's go to the Leaners map to see where the action has moved.

This map isn't quite right -- you've got to spot each candidate one more point for the Maine split, which 270toWin's app won't let you do without giving the rest of the state to the other guy. So it's really Clinton 260 - Trump 165.

You'll notice that Clinton clinches it by taking just one of AZ, FL, GA, MN, NC, or OH.

Want a fun hypothetical? If Trump sweeps AZ (Trump +1), CO (Clinton +7.3), FL (Clinton +2.7), GA (Trump +5), NC (Clinton +2.6), OH (Clinton +0.5), and IA (Trump +3.7), then thanks to the ME split, we would get a 269-269 tie -- and every journalist in the world racing for the Wikipedia entry on the 12th Amendment. The sad fact is though, when AZ and NC are still in play this late in the game, and OH is slipping fast, then Trump's chances of overturning Clinton's statistically significant lead in CO are approximately zilch.

Next Page: Three surprising swing-state polls.

Complicating things for Trump, the post-debate/post-p***y Baldwin Wallace Community Research Institute poll has Clinton with a nine-point lead in the four-way race. The CRI is new to me, but with a poll of over 1,100 likely voters and a slim MOE of 3%, their numbers can't be dismissed out of hand. And Ohio voters from this pool of respondents started voting today, so the number of switchable voters shrinks with each mailed-in ballot.

There's another potential oddball result in Utah. Gary Johnson's and Evan McMullin's apparent surge there, combined with Trump's slacking support, gives Clinton an outside chance of turning blue one of the reddest states in the country.

Also consider Florida, where the TV and radio waves practically throb with political ads. Unless OH and NC start reversing course right now and in a serious way, then FL could turn out to be this year's most expensive booby prize: Unnecessary to a Clinton win, and not enough to put Trump over the top.

So, as I said back in April, Trump's challenge isn't getting to 270 -- it's getting to 200.