The electoral map increasingly looks bad for Donald Trump.

Since the last time I published an analysis of the presidential state of the race, two major events — the release of Trump’s lewd comments from 2005 and the second presidential debate — took place. On Oct. 7, the map gave Hillary Clinton 261 likely or leaning electoral votes, Trump 185 and 92 toss-ups.

Now the map is a lot more blue. By my count, Clinton has 253 likely electoral votes and 69 more leaning her way for a total of 322. Trump has 163 likely electoral votes with 23 leaning his way. There are 30 toss-up votes among Ohio (18), Arizona (11) and Nebraska’s second congressional district (1).

Trump might be able to turn it around in the next 22 days. But if he doesn’t, the question becomes: How much will he lose by?

Some of the rationale for nominating Trump as the Republican nominee was that establishment politicians such as John McCain and Mitt Romney couldn’t beat President Obama, so the party needed an outsider or a “true conservative” as its nominee. But Trump might end up doing roughly as well as McCain and Romney did, if not worse.


Romney received 206 electoral votes. By my count, Trump is now at 186. He’d need to win both toss-up states, Arizona and Ohio, to surpass Romney.

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What about the share of the popular vote? Romney got 47 percent nationwide. In polling that includes Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, Trump gets only 39 percent. In two-way polling, Trump rises to 42 percent to Clinton’s 48 percent. To get a larger share of the popular vote than Romney, Trump will have to hope a lot of people ditch third-party candidates and that he can close the two-way gap with Clinton.

Finally, what about raw vote totals? Romney got 61 million votes. Let’s say Trump ends up with 45 percent of the national vote (which seems generous). He’d have to hope turnout nationwide rises by 5 percent, or about 6 million voters, to surpass Romney’s 61 million votes. Keep in mind: Turnout dropped by more than 2 million voters from 2008 to 2012.


McCain got 173 electoral votes. By my count, Trump is now at 163 likely electoral votes, with 23 more leaning his way. To pass McCain’s electoral count, Trump just has to win Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, which are already leaning his way. If he loses there, he could still pass McCain by winning a toss-up state like Arizona or Ohio.

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McCain got 46 percent of the popular vote. According to national polls that include Johnson and Stein, about 7 percent of the electorate is undecided. If Trump can get half of third-party voters to support him, he’ll rise to 43 percent nationwide. Then he just has to win about half of undecided voters to get past McCain.

As for raw vote totals, McCain got about 60 million votes. If Trump gets 45 percent of the vote, to pass McCain, Trump would have to hope turnout increases by 2 million people from 2008 to 2016.

Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

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