The Rump Poll - where Donald Trump still leads

Roiled by sexual assault accusers, deserted by infuential Republicans and dumped by most polls, Donald Trump continues to lead Clinton in one lone general election poll to win the White House on November 8.

Nikhila Natarajan October 17, 2016 20:36:21 IST
The Rump Poll - where Donald Trump still leads

Roiled by sexual assault accusers, deserted by influential Republicans and dumped by most polls, Donald Trump continues to lead Clinton in one lone general election poll to win the White House on November 8.

The Rump Poll  where Donald Trump still leads

Donald Trump at the Hindu Republican charity event in New Jersey/ Reuters

With 2 days left for the final presidential debate and 21 days for US Election day, the LATimes / USC Tracking poll is that lone poll which puts Trump ahead by a razor thin +1 margin to win the White House.

The dominant discourse is all about a Clinton win but statistics have their place, orbiting around the impending big bang on November 8, so here are the numbers and math of that lone ranger poll that has remained doggedly Trump since it was born in June.

Since majority of our readers are Indians everywhere, let's digress for a moment to a data story from our cowbelt which lends strength to lone voices: Only one exit poll got the Bihar election results right in 2015 and was never broadcast because it went so heavily against the grain - The Pradeep Gupta-led Axis exit poll had predicted 169-183 seats for the grand alliance which eventually won, handing the BJP a wallop. So yes, until its over, all data counts.

Coming back to the US elections, the LA Times poll also correctly predicted the Obama win against Mitt Romney in 2012.

All other polls have gone Clinton. On betting market PredictIt, Clinton winning the presidency is a buy at 80c, Trump at 20c.

Clinton has meanwhile pulled away to her best leads yet in battleground states most likely to swing the election in case of a photo finish.

During the same time, Trump’s male base has remained steady throughout this LA Times poll which is updated daily just after midnight with an average of all of the prior week’s responses.

Link: LATimes/ USC survey’s method and source data

The only other general election poll that continued to put Trump in the lead against Clinton until a week ago has slipped back to a +2 margin for Clinton - Ramussen Reports which samples 1500 people.

Two of the three nights in the latest Ramussen survey follow the release of a New York Times story alleging Trump’s sexual harassment of several women.

The USC/Los Angeles Times "Daybreak" poll tracks roughly 3,000 eligible voters until election day, asking the same set of three questions ( below) on a regular basis:

Who would you vote for?
Who do you think will win?
Do you intend to vote?

The LATimes poll updates the data based on the weighted average of poll responses over the previous week which point to two trends: That the results may have less volatility but also that the poll lags in responding to major events.

In this poll, voters in the 35-64 age group are splitting evenly between Clinton and Trump. Trump holds the advantage among the 65+ age group and both candidates have exchanged leads among younger voters.

The latest Washington Post -ABC poll after the Trump tapes exploded on the campaign trail included a random national sample of 1,152 adults reached on phone - this puts Clinton at +4 points ahead.

Statewise, Trump continues to enjoy poll average leads in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Utah.

These states are likely going Trump, the numbers in parentheses are the number of electoral votes for each state.

Louisiana (8)
Mississippi (6)
Montana (3)
South Dakota (3)
Tennessee (11)
Alaska (3)
Kansas (6)
Nebraska CD2 (1)

Poll punditry says none of these states are good enough to push Trump over the top and into the White House, save for some bizarre development.

To get to 270 electoral votes ( because in US elections you can win the popular vote and still lose), Trump needs to carry almost every state that Mitt Romney won, the most competititve of which is North Carolina and also wins the three biggest swing states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This is Trump’s simplest path to 270 electoral votes.

Since Pennsylvania is solidly Clinton, the other way is that Trump carries Florida, Ohio and North Carolina and then wins Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and one of Maine’s two electoral votes. That will get him to 270.

But if you look at this RCP electoral map which is the most often quoted poll average on US media, Trump’s path to 270 in both cases is closing off.

Yet, the LATimes/ USC polls is the last one standing for Trump - still at + 1.

(Data from Real Clear Politics, LATimes/USC poll)


Polls show Clinton ahead of Trump nationally, and she maintains edges in enough states to win the White House if she can hold on to her current leads, says AP.

Below is the AP analysis of America’s electoral map as it stands today:

SOLID DEMOCRATIC: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state (200 total electoral votes).
LEANS DEMOCRATIC: Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin (72 total electoral votes).
TOSS-UP: Florida, Maine 2nd District, Nebraska 2nd District, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah (76 total electoral votes).
LEANS REPUBLICAN: Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri (43 total electoral votes).
SOLID REPUBLICAN: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming (147 total electoral votes).

Updated Date: