With a little less than four months until the 2016 presidential election, there's a lot of speculation about its outcome. But new findings suggest that if the election weren't four months away, and instead were held today, America would have its first woman president.
A survey released Thursday by Morning Consult found that as of now, Hillary Clinton would have 320 Electoral College votes to Donald Trump’s 212 (excluding six votes from Iowa). To put that in perspective, Barack Obama won in 2008 with 365 electoral votes and with 332 in 2012. A minimum of 270 votes is needed to secure the presidency.
The nonpartisan media and technology company conducted a survey among 57,000 registered voters in all 50 states and Washington, DC, to predict which candidate would win a plurality in each place. Looking at electoral votes can often be more useful than national polls because ultimately what decides the election is the number of electoral votes each candidate accumulates.
Morning Consult’s last similar survey, conducted in April, similarly predicted that Trump would lose to Clinton (as would Ted Cruz). According to the study, John Kasich, who had little name recognition and was seen by many as a generic Republican candidate, had the best chance of securing the White House. Kasich dropped out of the race back in May with a meager 161 delegates.
Eight states were considered toss-ups in the most recent survey: Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Since April, the preferences of a few of these states have shifted toward Trump. Wisconsin went from being a dark blue state to being a light blue state (from 37.9 percent in favor of Trump to 39.4), as did New Hampshire (39 percent in favor of Trump to 40.5). Clinton also appears to be losing ground in Ohio, with Trump’s support rising slightly from 40.4 to 41.7 percent — though those numbers are well within most polls’ margin of error.
Iowa, where Clinton held an advantage in April, is now in a dead heat with Trump at 40.1 percent for each candidate. Previously, Clinton held the state 44.7 to 38.1 percent. Because of the closeness in percentage this time around, Iowa was not included in Morning Consult’s electoral vote count.
According to the survey, Trump’s greatest victory is the solidification of Indiana, where he now holds an 11-point advantage over Clinton — though traditionally Indiana tends to go Republican in national elections.
The findings showed improvement for Clinton in certain states. Georgia, which was a firmly red state back in April (with Trump winning 45.3 to Clinton’s 39 percent) is now leaning toward Clinton (42.8 to Trump’s 41.8 percent). Nevada is also a darker blue than it was in April, with Clinton now holding the support of 43.5 percent of the voters to Trump’s 39.6.
Though Clinton might the hypothetical election if it were held today, much can happen between now and Election Day. As GOP strategist Chris Sinclair said to the Wall Street Journal, "Can Hillary Clinton win? Absolutely. Is she a shoo-in? No."