CNBC’s John Harwood tweeted late Thursday afternoon that Donald Trump’s campaign has figured out its “shortest” path to 270 electoral votes and a victory in the November election.
And the path described is likely Trump’s most plausible to the White House.
It centers on maintaining a lead in a pair of states in which Trump currently holds an advantage but that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney lost; flipping three more states that are very tight; and making gains in one final state slightly further away from his grasp.
And, if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is able to pull out a victory in any of those six states, Trump would fall short of the needed 270 votes in the Electoral College.
Here’s the path described:
1. Maintain leads in Ohio, Iowa, and the 2nd Congressional District in Maine
Trump holds leads in each of those three locations – all places Romney lost in 2012. Per the RealClearPolitics polling average, Trump has a 2.4-point lead in Ohio, a state that has voted for the presidential winner in every election since 1964. However, the most recent poll in the state showed Clinton up 2 points. In Iowa, Trump is up 5 points in the latest RCP average. And in the 2nd Congressional District in Maine, Trump has a comfortable 8.7-point lead.
In total, maintaining those three states would amount to 25 electoral votes.
2. Maintain the Romney map from 2012
Trump is holding steady in each of the states Romney won in 2012, aside from North Carolina. Trump is currently in a tight race with Clinton in the Tar Heel state, where he trails by 1.3 points. Clinton has come out on top in each of the past six polls posted to RCP.
Should Trump win North Carolina, maintain the Romney map, and maintain his leads from above, he would have 231 electoral votes.
3. Win Nevada
This is the juncture at which it begins to get a bit more difficult for Trump. Trump currently trails Clinton by 1.4 points in RCP’s Nevada average – well within the margin of error of the state’s polls.
If Trump wins Nevada after the first two parts fall into place, he would be looking at 237 electoral votes.
4. Win Florida
The Sunshine State is starting to look increasingly difficult for Trump, who led in a series of polls in Florida ahead of his last debate performance. Still, Trump trails by just 2.4 points in the RCP Florida average.
Win there, and he would be up to 266 electoral votes. Just four short. Which brings us to the final piece …
5. Win New Hampshire
The final state Trump would need to capture is New Hampshire, where he is facing the toughest odds. Trump currently trails Clinton by 5 points in the RCP average, but two recent polls found him within 2 points of the former secretary of state in the Granite State.
Win New Hampshire, and Trump is sitting at an even 270.
Here’s what that map looks like:
We have things a little different right now. Here’s Business Insider’s latest electoral projection:
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