The election is in 15 days. And the electoral map just keeps looking grimmer and grimmer for Donald Trump.
Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss-ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican, is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the past two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore!
Everywhere you look, Trump is underperforming where Mitt Romney was at this point in 2012. And Romney only got 206 electoral votes and lost by 5 million or so in the popular vote.
There is no possible way Donald Trump’s team actually believes this is their path to 270
The numbers don’t show a close race. They show a race that it will be very hard for Trump to win without a massive, collective underestimation of his levels of support. This was the dream that powered Romney backers in 2012: In that (much closer) race, observers assumed that the polls overrepresented how much President Obama's base would turn out. As it happened, those voters were underestimated.
This isn’t the argument that Conway — who runs a polling shop — was making. She was arguing that Trump had a viable path to victory, using, in the email, a map that resembles some other race than the one that we’re in. In reality, the race we’re living through shows Trump is at risk of losing Arizona, Texas and Georgia — all states that Romney won. If Trump’s “within the margin of error” in Pennsylvania, he’s even closer to losing the three states just mentioned. At this point it seems almost probable that he'll lose Utah, a state that could hand its electoral votes to independent Evan McMullin. The map Conway sent in the email was the best semi-believable map they could think of, and even then, Trump struggled to reach a tie.
That was then.
This is now.
Donald Trump's campaign said Tuesday it is spending $25 million on battleground state ads in the election's final week, signaling that it sees opportunities in some contests that looked out of reach.
Trump will buy ads in Colorado, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Virginia, states that most recent polls have signaled lean toward Hillary Clinton. He will also buy ads in battlegrounds Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio, states with tight races or a Trump lead.
The Trump campaign later said it will also buy ads in Pennsylvania after not including the state in its first statement. Almost all recent surveys have shown Clinton with an advantage in the Keystone State, which has 20 Electoral College votes.
Trump's team has contended that it could take some blue-leaning states like Michigan and Wisconsin despite a solid Clinton lead in recent polls. Trump campaigned in Michigan on Monday and in Pennsylvania on Tuesday before he hits the trail in Wisconsin later in the day, one week before Election Day.
Pennsylvania is a must state for Hillary.
Trump is kicking it. Waiting till the last moment to do ads was risky, but it makes his argument for the presidency fresher.