A tightening race nationally has also translated into tightening at the state level. States that were trending Trump’s way in September started to slip away from him in early October. Now, with the focus more on Clinton’s emails than on Trump’s debate performances or his Twitter spats, states like Iowa and Ohio are moving back in Trump’s direction.
Meanwhile, Democrats admit that the Clinton campaign is having trouble turning out African-American voters at 2012 levels. That shouldn’t be surprising given the fact that Obama isn’t on the ticket. But, it does mean that a state like North Carolina will be much closer. We are moving North Carolina from Lean Democrat to Toss Up, though we still put a thumb on the scale for a Clinton win here.
Polling in Nevada is all over the place. But, early voting analysis from non-partisan experts such as Jon Ralston and from other Democratic sources suggest that Clinton is building up a pretty solid lead in the state.
Democrats feel confident about what they are seeing in the early vote in Colorado, but give the tightening we are seeing in other battleground states, it’s prudent to move this from Likely to Lean Democrat.
Michigan is getting lots of last minute attention. The Trump campaign, citing internal polling showing a tight contest, is spending some money and candidate time in the state. While some Democrats scoffed at Trump's last minute push into this blue state, it's clear that Democrats are at least concerned. One Democratic strategist told us that Michigan is looking "wobbly" for Clinton. According to sources, the Clinton campaign is going up on broadcast TV in Detroit. And, the pro-Clinton SuperPAC, Priorities USA is going up with TV ads in the state as well. Clinton herself is headed to Detroit on Friday for a GOTV rally.
That Michigan is "in play" shouldn't be that surprising given Trump's almost single-minded focus on white, working class voters. The more surprising thing is that Trump never made a deeper, more sustained effort in this state in the first place. Democratic worries about a less-than-robust African-American turnout also can make this state more competitive. The race also moves from Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat.
However, these are minor, not major adjustments to the overall Electoral College map with Clinton now at 278 (8 more votes than she needs to win) and Trump at 214 (56 short of 270).