President Clinton, Without FL or OH
Most predictions like 538’s election model and the NYT’s upshot have Hillary Clinton at around an 88% chance of winning the White House.
New national polls have the former Secretary of State up by 7 to 8 points nationally. State polling also is promising for Clinton. Expanding margins in blue states and shrinking Trump leads in red states leaves more and more possibilities on the table for the Democrats to hold the White House.
Two states that are always important are Ohio and Florida. They are called swing states for a reason; they can literally swing an election. In 2016 they are poised to, yet again, help decide the election.
However, Clinton has paths to the White House that do not include Florida OR Ohio. That means that in 2016 we need to be careful in not overstating the importance of these two states. There are still viable paths to a Clinton presidency outside of winning Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and even Iowa.
In most scenarios, Clinton only needs to win New Hampshire to put her over the top and in the White House. The polls (post conventions) have Clinton leading by double digits in the Granite State.
Trump may be able to win Florida and Ohio AND still lose because of the education gap. Clinton is leading Trump big time with white voters who have college degrees. (This is a break from normal voting trends in previous elections). What also is coming into play in 2016 is the topic of religion, and more specifically evangelical vs non-evangelical Christians.
Clinton has a large lead in the Catholic vote, in both those who attend mass weekly and less than that. Trump has a HUGE lead in white evangelicals who attend weekly services. The biggest increase for the GOP under Trump has come from white evangelicals who go to church less than once a week. The GOP got almost 30% support from this demo in 2012, but now they get almost 60%. Thats a big shift in four years.
Clinton can still win the presidency because she is performing very well in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Virginia. It just might get really close.