Republican nominee Donald Trump, having significantly tightened the race for president in the last two weeks, enters Election Day on Tuesday with three realistic paths to the presidency.
After nearly 18 months of campaigning, attempts to expand the typical Republican electoral map, and battles to hang on to traditional Republican strongholds, Trump heads into Tuesday with little room for error.
But his swing upward over the past few weeks, combined with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s struggles amid a brutal barrage of bad news, has given Trump an opening.
Trump’s path relies on a combination of swinging industrial Midwest swing states red and holding on to states that have leaned Republican in recent elections.
His chances remain slim: the data-journalism site FiveThirtyEight provides Trump with about a 35% chance of winning. That’s on the higher end of the scale – Princeton University professor and data-scientist Sam Wang, for instance, gives him about a 1% chance.
Here’s a look at Trump’s three most plausible paths (maps via 270toWin.com).
1. Hold on to states won by 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and cobble together wins in Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Maine’s 2nd congressional district. It’s his most realistic path, but provides little room for error.
Where he stands on those states, according to the RealClearPolitics average:
- Nevada: Up 2 points Ohio: Up 3.3 points Iowa: Up 1.5 points Florida: Down 1.3 points New Hampshire: Up 1.6 points North Carolina: Up 0.8 points Maine: Up 0.5 points
2. Win Pennsylvania, where a treasure trove of 20 electoral votes would open up the map for Trump. He trails in Pennsylvania polls by an average of 2.5 points.
3. A stunner in a blue state.
The Trump campaign has spent the final week of the campaign preaching how more firmly blue states that swung for Obama are in play. Trump has campaigned or plans to in the campaign’s final days in New Mexico, Nevada, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
He would need to cobble together 16 electoral votes from some mix of these states, assuming he’s able to hold on to states like Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, as well as 2012 red states.
Here’s where he stands in those states, according to RealClearPolitics
- Michigan: Down 4 points Nevada: Up 2 points Iowa: Up 1.5 points Minnesota: Down 6 points Wisconsin: Down 5.5 points New Mexico: Down 4 points