Washington – Hillary Clinton heads into the fall out front in enough states to give her at least a tie in the Electoral College, meaning a victory in any of the several states now a toss-up would be enough to push her over the top and into the White House.
For Donald Trump, the electoral map is as daunting as it is friendly to Clinton. To win, he must sweep all of the toss-up battlegrounds and go on to pick off at least one state where the Democratic nominee now has a solid lead.
That’s according to an Associated Press analysis of the map as it stands today, with 78 days until Election Day.
The analysis considers preference polling, recent electoral history, demographic trends and campaign priorities such as advertising, travel and on-the-ground staff.
It finds that to capture the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, Clinton must merely defend traditionally Democratic states and those where recent polls show she has large advantages, and then add just one of the states that The Associated Press now rates as a toss-up.
Those states include Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.
And that map may be a conservative estimate of Clinton’s head start over the Republican nominee.
In several states the AP rates as toss-ups, including New Hampshire, North Carolina and Florida, recent polls suggest current conditions may be favorable to Clinton, though there are few polls in those states or they have given her a relatively narrow upper hand.
In other states, Clinton’s advantage appears more formidable. In Pennsylvania, won by the Democratic nominee in every election since 1992, multiple polls conducted in July and August give the former secretary of state double-digit leads.
That state illustrates the depth of Trump’s problem: It’s considered a linchpin of his strategy to win over working-class white voters in the Rust Belt.
In Virginia, which handed its electoral votes to Barack Obama twice but was once a solidly Republican state, several August surveys show high single-digit to double-digit leads for Clinton.
Colorado, too, shows no signs of reversing itself after twice supporting Obama. Trump has consistently trailed by large margins in surveys released there since mid-July. Polls released this month in Wisconsin and Michigan also found Trump facing significant deficits.
Trump is left running from behind while also defending traditional Republican strongholds such as Georgia, where a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll suggests even that may be in play for Clinton.
Where the race stands today:
SOLID DEMOCRATIC: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maine 2nd District, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.
LEANS DEMOCRATIC: Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin.
TOSS-UP: Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio.
LEANS REPUBLICAN: Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska 2nd District, Utah.
SOLID REPUBLICAN: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming.