If history is any guide, polling in the presidential race will bounce around a bit as the two parties wrap up their conventions. That will probably settle down in the weeks after Labor Day.
So today would be a good time to check in and take a look at what the polls are telling us. According to the national poll average at FiveThirtyEight, Joe Biden is currently in the lead by 8.6 points. But as we all learned too painfully, it is the individual states that matter. If we assume that any state where a candidate’s lead is less than two points is a toss-up, here’s what the race looks like today.
Of the five toss-ups, North Carolina is the only one in which Biden currently leads with a 1.4 advantage. Ohio is the closest state, with Trump’s lead at only a half a percent. His advantage in Texas is the largest among the toss-ups at 1.8 percent.
But perhaps the biggest news from all of this is that, even if Trump were able to take the lead in all of those toss-ups, he’d still only have 219 electoral votes—well shy of the 270 needed to win. To have any chance, Trump would have to find an additional 51 electoral votes in states where Biden currently leads by more than two points.
The best possibility for Trump comes in Arizona, where Biden’s lead is 3.6 points. From there, here’s where he’d have to go:
Minnesota – 5.2 Biden lead
Florida – 5.4 Biden lead
Pennsylvania – 6.1 Biden lead
Adding those three states would get Trump to 278 electoral votes. Taken all together, the president would have to not only win all five toss-ups, but add Arizona and the three states in that list to win. That’s more of an uphill climb that I can remember seeing in a presidential race since Mondale faced Reagan in 1984—and we all know how that one turned out.
Even a delusional Trump is aware of this at some level. He knows that the only way he can pull this thing off is to cheat, through some kind of foreign interference and/or voter suppression. That is why we’re hearing things like the president telling Sean Hannity that he’ll send law enforcement to the polls to monitor the vote. As former President Obama said, “This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win.”