This is the craziest and most uncertain political race in modern history (certainly since the 1960’s). Even the Bush/Gore slugfest in 2000 doesn’t hold a candle to this mess, where New Hampshire swings like a wrecking ball, and what should be a safe red state like Georgia is too close to call.
The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Hillary Clinton just one point behind Donald Trump in Georgia. The two latest polls in the state used by FiveThirtyEight’s model have Trump and Clinton tied, and Trump +1 respectively.
The previous Marist poll cited by FiveThirtyEight for Georgia–in September–had Trump up by 2. This doesn’t change the stats predictions Nate Silver and his crew have projected: Trump has an 83.8 percent chance of winning Georgia, with up to 40 percent of likely voters having already cast early ballots. (I was one of the early voters, and even during the early afternoon, experienced a 20 minute line.)
The demographics in typical safe states and Trump’s new swing states–including Clinton’s “firewall”–leave the electoral college possibilities with a wide range of outcomes. Georgia, for instance, should be safer for Trump than Arizona. But it’s not.
One of the biggest reasons why Georgia is more competitive than Arizona is due to the African-American vote in Georgia being a larger – and more lopsided – force than Latinos in Arizona.
According to the poll, African Americans make up 29 percent of likely voters, and they’re breaking for Clinton by a 91 percent to 6 percent margin.
In Arizona, by contrast, Latinos make up 21 percent of likely voters, and they’re supporting Clinton by a smaller 66 percent-to-26 percent clip.
And Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Florida are also approaching a toss-up status, leaving Clinton’s firewall vulnerable. The path for Trump is narrow, but it’s certainly there. However, if Trump loses Georgia, even if he won all those states, Utah and Arizona, Clinton would still have 270.
Chances are, Georgia will go to Trump. What this tells us, is when it’s all over, the polls are going to be trash. We will need to examine them all with a fine-tooth comb and come up with a better model, or the next election will be more of a train wreck than this one–if that’s possible.