POLITICS: Battleground 2016 - Is Clinton’s Lead Narrowing?

by Camilo Arenivar

map courtesy RealClearPolitics.com

Background: I am blogging each week about where I believe we are in the Electoral College votes based on the previous week’s polling in the battleground states. This is because the Presidential election is based not on popular vote, but that of the Electoral College. More on that here.

We are 10 weeks away from election day and while it might be hard to nail down for sure, the few polls that came out in the last week could be showing a tightening of the race in the battleground states. One thing to keep in mind at this point is that there has not been a single debate yet. It is yet to be seen how those turn out and how they will affect polling. In the meantime, here is where we are based on the last week’s polls.
This is where the most obvious changes were noted. There were polls released on August 24th & August 25th and they both showed Donald Trump with a 1 and 2% lead over Hillary Clinton. These were the first polls in Florida to show Trump with a lead in over a month. Another Florida poll came out on Monday the 29th that showed Clinton with just a 2% lead in Florida. While these may be outliers, sticking with my analysis of where we are based on this week’s data, I am going to take Florida out of the Clinton column and put it back into toss-up status.

Emerson College Poll of Rust Belt States
 One interesting poll came out on Monday, August 29th that showed a clear tightening in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. It gave the race in Ohio at a tie, Clinton up only 3 in Pennsylvania (the lowest of any recent poll for PA) and Michigan up 5. The Emerson College polls were called by Bloomberg Politics the most accurate collegiate polling group during the primaries with a 94% accuracy rate in predicting Primary outcomes. Despite this, one thing I found very suspect about their poll is that it was done with a Voice Response unit only, and they only called landlines. Even in the Rust Belt, they are missing out a lot on the people who have ditched their land lines for cell phones only so that leads me to question the credibility.
 There were two Arizona polls, a CNN polls showed Trump with leads (7% in 4-way race and 5% in 2-way race) and another poll showed Clinton with a 1-point lead. As much as we’d love to have Arizona, I am leaving it as a Trump state.

Polls for NC and MO showed a close race although I am still leaving NC as a toss-up and MO on the Trump side as I think it may ultimately remain.
 Bottom line: If this week’s polls are an indicator, the wide lead Clinton showed for a couple of weeks may be narrowing both at the national level and at the battleground state level. I am going to take a week off for Labor Day and return September 13th. Where we are at then in the battleground states will be our first real look at what might happen on Election Day.