In spite of all the hoopla over Donald Trump’s resurgence in the past week, it’s still Hillary Clinton’s race to lose. While Mr. Trump has closed the gap in the national polls, Mrs. Clinton still holds a commanding lead in the all-important Electoral College where the election will be won or lost.
Clinton odds of winning at 66.5%
The FiveThirtyEight polling website reflects Trump’s recent gain in the national polls but still puts the odds of Clinton winning at 66.5 compared to Trump’s 33.5%. This number represents an improvement for Mr. Trump but still leaves him short of the finish line. According to FiveThirtyEight, the electoral count has narrowed as well, but Clinton still leads with 294 Electoral votes to Trump’s 243. Mr. Trump has narrowed the lead in the past week, but he’s still behind with just four days to go until Election Day.
Clinton campaign shocked by FBI
The Clinton campaign was in a state of shock for a day or two after FBI Director James Comey upended the campaign last Friday with his surprise announcement that the FBI was taking another look at Mrs. Clinton’s emails. That decision was made after emails belonging to Mrs. Clinton were found on a computer owned by Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton vice campaign chair, Huma Abedin. However, the veteran political operatives around Clinton quickly recovered and mounted an attack against Mr. Comey that claimed that he had gone rogue.
Nevertheless, the whiff of scandal continues to hang over the campaign, and it’s a race to close out the election before any additional damaging information that might be found on Ms. Abedin’s computer has a chance to become public.
Outlook is promising
Here are five key reasons why the odds of Hillary Clinton becoming President continue to look promising:
Early votes: Early voters tend to favor Democrats and this year appear to be no exception. Many of the early votes were cast before the news of the FBI investigation broke and when Donald Trump was stumbling badly. For the most part, these votes are locked in and likely favor Mrs. Clinton. CNN reports that as of November 1st some 24.4 million votes have been cast, or about 35% of the expected total turnout. Her likely lead in the early vote gives Clinton a cushion to ward off any recent gains by Mr. Trump.
Latino turnout: Clinton made Hispanic voter registration a campaign priority, and it appears to be paying dividends as Latino turnout in the early vote is running well ahead of 2012.
Support from Black community: While the early vote among black voters has declined from the excitement of the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 20012, President Obama is pushing hard to get out the black vote on Election Day and Hillary Clinton is likely to overwhelmingly win this demographic.
Experience: Hillary and Bill Clinton, along with key campaign staff have been through many elections and know what they are doing. The campaign spent a lot of time and money to establish the ground game early on, and it’s apt to pay off for them next week. In contrast, the Trump campaign has a weak national network of mostly inexperienced campaign workers.
Electoral College: Math is math, and the numbers continue to favor Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton has numerous paths to get to the magical number of 270 electoral votes, while Mr. Trump has few. For Trump to win 270 electoral votes, many things will have to come together in a perfect scenario.
Election has tightened
Still, there is no doubt the election has tightened in the past week or two, and there are some dangers for the Clinton campaign that did not exist two weeks ago. For Mr. Trump to win, a number of things will have to come together next Tuesday in a precise pattern. A Trump victory remains a possibility, but Hillary Clinton remains the favorite to become the first woman President of the United States on January 20, 2017.