Over the past week, the presidential race has tightened, according most recent polls and major election forecasts. While Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has dropped, most polls show she has regained a few points in the last few days leading up to the Nov. 8 election.
Clinton’s lead has fallen to an average of 2.5 points, according the the latest RealClearPolitics average. The drop is significant considering that on Oct. 18, Clinton held an 8-point advantage over Trump. However, Clinton is still the heavy favorite according to most major election forecasts. Although some disagree on how likely it is, all of them still project a Clinton victory and show a challenging path to the White House for Trump.
Clinton’s numbers have taken a hit since the FBI announced it was probing new emails related to her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. FBI Director James Comey told Congress on Sunday that the emails won’t change his earlier conclusions about Clinton. Although it’s difficult to determine how much the FBI’s probe affected Clinton’s chances, most polls and election forecasts did reflect a dip for the Democratic nominee in the week after Comey’s first letter. However, the shift could also be attributed to a race that was already tightening. In the past two weeks, Trump has regained some momentum after a rough October which saw his chances plummet according to most election forecasts. Just a few weeks ago, Daily Kos had his chances of winning at a dismal five percent.
Trump has been rebounding from his own set of controversies. Trump’s poll numbers are improving after they dropped sharply following the release of a 2005 recording in which he made lewd comments about women, and a host of sexual assault allegations.
Traditionally Republican states such as Texas and Georgia moved away from the GOP nominee in the wake of the allegations, but have now shifted back in Trump’s favor. The real estate mogul has also regained ground in crucial battleground states including North Carolina and Florida. The candidates are essentially deadlocked in Florida with Clinton currently holding a slim 1-point lead according to the Real Clear Politics average.
While most major election forecasts show Trump’s chances of winning the election have increased, they are still highly favoring a Clinton victory. And although the forecasts are showing a Trump win is unlikely, it is possible, which is in large part due to the number of late undecided voters.
As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver notes, the public polls show a “tight race in which turnout and late-deciding voters will determine the difference between a clear Clinton win, a narrow Clinton win and Trump finding his way to 270 electoral votes.”
Something that has appeared to work in Clinton’s advantage is early voting. As the Associated Press reported, tens of millions of voters had already cast ballots before the news of the FBI’s email probe broke. Strong early-voting turnout by registered Democrats shows Clinton has the advantage in critical battleground states, as well as signs of strength in some traditionally Republican states.
Here’s a look at the latest forecast trends:
How Forecasts Compare
NYT Upshot: Clinton 84%, Trump 16%
The New York Times’ Upshot elections model indicates Clinton’s lead has dropped from 8.2 percentage points to 6.8 in the past week. However, Trump still has a a challenging path to the White House.
According to their model, Clinton has 693 different ways to win the election, but Trump only has 315 ways to win.
Based on the latest state and national polls, Upshot gives Clinton a solid 84 percent chance of winning the presidency compared to Trump’s 16 percent. To put it in sports terms, Upshot states Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an NFL kicker misses a 38-yard field goal.
Trump’s chances have increased due to his rise in several battleground states. For example, in Florida his chances have increased from 20 to 30 percent over the past two weeks. In Arizona, Trump also saw a jump from 57 to 81 percent in that same span of time.
FiveThirtyEight: Clinton 66.9%, Trump 33% (Polls-Only)
Over the past several weeks, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight forecasts have shown Clinton is highly favored to win on Nov. 8. However, all three of FiveThirtyEight’s models show the race has gradually tightened over the last week.
Their polls-plus forecast shows Trump has a 33.2 percent chance, which is a slight bump from last Tuesday which put him at 28.3. Clinton held an 71.7 percent chance on Tuesday, and now stands at 66.7 percent. The polls-plus forecast takes into account the polls, economy and historical data to make a prediction.
The polls-plus model gives Trump the highest chance of winning among all election forecasts. This model indicates a Trump presidency is twice as likely as Upshot suggests. As Silver points out, historically, there’s been a strong correlation between the number of undecided and third-party voters, and polling volatility, which the polls-plus model takes into account.
Clinton has a slightly higher chance of winning according to the polls-only forecast, which projects she has an 66.9 percent chance of winning. Trump’s chances have increased to 33 percent from a low of 12 percent.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nowcast, which incorporates new polls very quickly, shows the Democratic nominee having a 66.9 percent chance of winning if the election were to be held today.
PredictWise: Clinton 89%, Trump 11%
In addition to polling-based models from FiveThirtyEight, there is the PredictWise model, which uses information from betting markets to make a prediction.
As of Monday, PredictWise is giving Clinton an 89 percent chance of winning. PredictWise has projected a clear Clinton win for months. After the first presidential debate Trump’s odds took a hit, however, his numbers have been on a steady decline since a leaked 2005 recording in which he made lewd comments about women, which was followed by a string of sexual assault allegations.
On Twitter, PredictWise founder David Rothschild explained that he doesn’t expect the news of the FBI clearing Clinton is going to persuade many people in either direction, but will help with voter enthusiasm. Rothschild said the prediction markets were up 2-3 percentage points shortly after the announcement was made on Sunday.
Daily Kos: Clinton 87%, Trump 13%
Daily Kos shows Clinton currently has a 87 percent chance of winning the presidency. In a simulated electoral votes projection, Clinton has 312 compared to Trump’s 226. Their projection only takes into account current polling data. In their model, Clinton did not experience as much of a drop over the past week as some of the other election forecasts.