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So Donald Trump is getting killed in a new poll in Utah:

  1. Cruz – 53
  2. Kasich – 29
  3. Trump – 11

And apparently either Sanders or Clinton would beat Trump in Utah in a general election match-up, where Clinton would win 38-36 and Sanders 48-37. Naturally, this has caused a lot of people to go nuts since this would be the first time Utah has gone blue in fifty years.

It raises the larger question of what the electoral map might look like come November. Using general election polls from certain key states of a Trump-Clinton competition, and looking over the electoral maps from the last two elections, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that it would look something like this:

us electoral map

Let me explain how I got there.

Most of the makeup is similar to what happened in 2008 and 2012: Virginia, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Iowa went blue both times, though all went red in 2004. I gave these to Hillary because even though they are technically contested grounds, the trend of going blue seems to be in her favor. Other contested areas I marked blue are based largely on polls of a Clinton-Trump match-up, and Clinton comes out on top routinely in all those: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and again Florida. Even Arizona is a tie between Trump and Clinton (though admittedly this is based on one poll—even still, it’s crazy to think a Democrat even has a shot there). Although North Carolina and Indiana went blue in ’08, they reverted to red in ’12, so even though I think it unlikely Trump would triumph there, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. This map also flips Utah, as explained above earlier. One caveat: the map for some reason will not allocate all four Maine electoral votes to Clinton, so the count is 338 instead of 339.

But here’s what’s kind of nutty about it. Assuming no viable third candidate makes a run, the map isn’t terribly different from how 2008 turned out. Even if you flip Arizona and North Carolina blue, that gives Clinton 365 electoral votes to Trump’s 174. Conventional wisdom says Clinton would crush Trump in a general election, a prediction I sadly am not certain is true, but even if that were the case and the map more or less turned out like the graphic above, it would virtually mirror the 2008 election.

Maybe it’ll turn out differently. Maybe Clinton really will wipe the floor with Trump and we’ll see a sea of blue electoral votes in a reverse-Reagan. But if not, if Clinton still beats Trump soundly by far more than the ~10 million Obama got over McCain in ’08 and the map still looks fairly similar to what’s above, well. I’m not an advocate for abolishing the electoral vote, but it would sure seem silly that wildly different elections could produce rather similar results.

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