Clinton vs. Trump: Election Odds for Nov. 8

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump


There have been a slew of polls and forecasts released in the final week leading up to today’s pivotal presidential election.

Most polls taken in the past few days show Hillary Clinton up a few points over Donald Trump nationally, but many of the battleground states still look close. What does that mean for each candidate’s odds of winning the election?

Most major election-modeling sites have Clinton’s chances of winning considerably higher than Trump’s, although some vary on how high her chances are. These forecasts also agree that Trump has a challenging path to the White House. Is an upset by the real estate mogul on Tuesday possible? The simple answer is yes, but it is unlikely given Clinton’s stronger position in the Electoral College. It comes down to plausible ways each candidate can reach 270 Electoral College points. In a nutshell, Clinton has more margin for error than Trump does based on the Electoral College map, and most political forecasters take that into account when making their prediction. For instance, New York Times’ latest Upshot model shows Clinton has 693 different ways to win the election, but Trump only has 315 ways to win.

However, Trump has battled back in several battleground states that could ultimately determine the outcome of the election. The tightening polls in states such as Florida and North Carolina is a big reason why some forecasts, such as Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight models show Trump near a 30 percent chance of winning– the highest of all forecasts.

The investigations into Clinton’s use of a private email server have now been concluded with no charges against the former secretary of state. Following the initial announcement of the FBI’s search into new emails, Clinton’s numbers took a hit, but have since slightly rebounded.

Clinton’s lead has fallen to an average of 3.2 points, according the the latest RealClearPolitics average. The drop is significant considering that on Oct. 18, Clinton held an 8-point advantage over Trump.

While Clinton’s lead over Trump has dropped, most polls show she has regained a few points in the last few days leading up to the Nov. 8 election.

The final week of the presidential campaign has seen Trump tighten the race after his numbers plummeted following a string of sexual assault allegations. In the past two weeks, Trump has regained some momentum, however election forecasts predict it isn’t enough the change the trajectory of the race.

Here’s a look at the latest forecast trends:

How Forecasts Compare

NYT Upshot: Clinton 85%, Trump 15%

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 85 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 37-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 71.4%, Trump 28.6% (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.

Clinton has a 71.4 percent chance of winning the election, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-only forecast. That’s up from a 65 percent chance on Sunday night. This model indicates a Trump presidency is nearly twice as likely as Upshot suggests. Trump’s chances are down a few percentage points from a few days ago and currently stand at 28.6 percent.

Clinton’s projected margin of victory in the popular vote has increased to 3.5 percent from 2.9 percent.

Their polls-plus forecast shows Clinton has a 71.8 percent chance of taking the election. Trump has a 28.2 percent chance, which is nearly the same as last Tuesday which put him at 28.3. The polls-plus forecast takes into account the polls, economy and historical data to make a prediction.

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.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nowcast, which incorporates new polls very quickly, shows the Democratic nominee having a 71.4 percent chance of winning.

FiveThirtyEight shows Nevada, North Carolina and Florida flipped from red to blue over the course of Monday. Clinton’s chances of winning Florida increased to 48 percent to 54 percent. Clinton’s chances of winning North Carolina improved to 55.1 percent to Trump’s 44.9. It’s possible that North Carolina and Florida could flip back to Trump by Tuesday morning. However, FiveThirtyEight is showing Clinton has a more substantial lead in Nevada with a 57.9 percent chance of taking the state.

PredictWise: Clinton 88%, Trump 12%

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 early Tuesday morning, PredictWise is giving Clinton an 88 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.

Daily Kos: Clinton 92%, Trump 8%

Daily Kos shows Clinton currently has a 92 percent chance of winning the presidency, the highest of all forecasts. In a simulated electoral votes projection, Clinton has 323 compared to Trump’s 215. 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.