538: Where Do Clinton And Trump Have The Most Upside?

2016, 2016 Presidential Campaign, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

FiveThirtyEight digs on the implication of Trump winning more of the white vote without college degrees while Clinton wins more of the college-educated whites and non-whites.


In November, Donald Trump could become the first Republican presidential nominee to lose Orange County, California, since 1936. He could also be the first to lose Virginia Beach, Virginia, since 1964. But he could simultaneously become the first Republican to win an electoral vote from Maine since 1988 and only the second Republican to carry Iowa since 1984.

Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, perhaps by a lot. Republicans are still favored to hold the House. In other words, after all the madness, the balance of power in Washington post-2016 could look surprisingly similar to that after 2012. Yet beneath the surface, the tectonic plates of the American electorate are shifting.

Then we went a step further: How would the 2016 map look if one out of every five whites without a college degree who voted for Obama in 2012 defected to Trump and if one out of every five non-whites and college-educated whites who voted for Romney in 2012 switched to Clinton? (Why one out of five? It’s a somewhat arbitrary number but represents a realistic shift of these groups, according to polls released over the past few months.)

In 2012, Obama won 693 of America’s 3,100-plus counties (22 percent) on his way to winning 62 percent of all Electoral College votes. Under the “Vote Swap” scenario described above, our model projects that Clinton would win the election with even fewer counties: just 631, or 20 percent, the lowest share for a presidential winner in modern history: