We're officially one week from this all being over! Hopefully?
Anyway, I wanted to do a "state of the race" with my preliminary final prediction and what I expect to see next Tuesday.
The first map is a basic layout of the states that are "swingy." This is a polling map so it represents states that are within a few percentage points...though as we'll see in a minute some are not really "in play." But notice that the map already contains a Hillary Clinton victory baked into it. She's just 2 Electoral Votes over 270 and all the closest states are unnecessary for her to win. Of course, that means she has no room for error especially in Wisconsin and Michigan where things have at least a theoretical chance of going Trump's way. The inverse means that Trump needs to cut into these states somehow to have any chance. He could pick up ALL of the gray states and still lose. And there's speculation Utah may go to a third party. If Trump were to have a chance on this map, I'm looking to see WI, MI, but also PA, CO. Watch party advice? Pay attention to those early calls in NH, VA, and PA to start to get a read on the evening.
The next two maps are leanings. Essentially, how the vote is most likely to go assuming the polling doesn't have some huge systemic error. It assumes this race mostly looks like 2012 and is a 4-6 point victory for Clinton, accounts for regional differences. I'd call it my pick for most likely Electoral College map when you wake up the next morning. Note that as I write this it is a consensus number of EV for Clinton...right around 323. Also note the 3-5 closest states in the nation currently are: OH, IA, NV, AZ, FL. Turnout and organization on the ground will matter. But it's anybody's guess.
The last map for you is the Big Clinton Win map. Right now that's about a 12% chance so it can't be counted out. And, frankly, I don't think it requires a huge error in polling to get her there and is more related to the historically unacceptable nature of Trump's candidacy. There's been a lot of talk about "shy" Trump voters who know it is socially wrong to admit they're voting for him. But I'm making the case with this map for a kind of "didn't pick up the trend" in low enthusiasm Clinton voters. They don't talk a lot about her or maybe even don't really like her--these could be Republican women who find her better than Trump--but I think the early surprise lead in NC for Hillary maybe hints at a larger win than we think. I doubt we'll see double digits. But I think there is a case for this map. It would put her smack in the middle between Obama's landslide 2008 map and his more modest 2012 victory.
A final word about watching all this happen, right to left. As the polls close I'm going to be paying less attention to network calls and more attention to the folks who have precinct level numbers to calculate Sometimes, the media simply calls a given state at poll closing without regard to the margin. And it's helpful to know, for instance, that Clinton is hitting her goals in specific FL, etc. counties. It could be a long evening or short one depending on how the numbers get called. If it's clear FL is in Hillary's column it's all but over. If she wins Ohio, too, it's a party. Or we could be waiting for Nevada or Arizona very late. Time will tell.
As I write, Democrats are favored to have either 50 or 51 seats in the new US Senate.
I remain pessimistic of Democratic control of the House. Of the 3 maps above, it would need to be the fairly large Clinton lead for Congress to be in play.