If you’ve been keeping up with all the coverage of the presidential election lately, you’ve probably heard that Donald Trump has begun to rebound somewhat after a dismal month of October following three poor debate performances. In fact, CNN’s Electoral College map now shows both Florida and Nevada as “battleground” states once again after moving them to “lean Democratic” just a week ago.
So does Trump actually have a chance to come back and win?
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The answer, of course, is yes. Until the votes are actually counted on November 8th (and possibly past that date depending on how close the results are), Trump has a chance to be the next president of the United States. But before you start worrying (Hillary supporters) or celebrating (Trump supporters), there are some important caveats you need to know about.
First of all, while Trump has indeed recovered somewhat from the catastrophic lows of mid-October, Clinton has continued to gain ground as well. This election cycle has had more undecided and third-party voters than any cycle in recent history, but with just days to go until the election, many of those voters are making their minds up and giving up on the third party candidates.
Based on FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only national polling average, Trump has jumped from 38.8% on October 19th to 39.6% on October 26th. On the other hand, Clinton has improved from 45.4% to 46% in the same time span. So, in the past week, Trump has actually risen further in the polls than Clinton.
But he’s still six points behind Clinton overall.
RealClearPolitic’s 4-way General Election average isn’t much better, with Trump sitting at 40% and Clinton at 45.8%. Still a huge margin to overcome.
So while Trump may indeed end up making states like Ohio, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina more competitive than they looked a week ago, he needs a ton of help (or some significant polling errors) if he expects to win in November.