Clinton leads Trump in key swing states according to poll

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holds a rally at John Marshall High School in Cleveland, OhioIf the U.S. presidential election were held today, Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia and have a 95 percent chance of beating Republican Donald Trump to become America’s first female president, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project.

The project, which combines opinion polls with an analysis of voting patterns under different election scenarios, shows Clinton currently beating Trump in the popular vote by six percentage points and ahead in 19 states, including most of the larger-population ones that heavily influence the outcome of the election.

At the moment, Clinton would win at least 268 votes in the Electoral College, the body that ultimately chooses the next president, just two shy of what she needs to win the White House. On average, the former secretary of state would win by 108 electoral college votes.

Trump would win at least 21 states, many of them with smaller populations, giving him a minimum of 179 electoral votes.

The election is still 10 weeks away, and a great deal could change prior to Nov 8. The candidates are running about even in eight states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina, and the polling sample is too small to determine the winner in Alaska, Wyoming and Washington D.C. But Trump would need to win the 21 states currently in his column and sweep all of the remaining “toss-up” states to win the presidency.

That is a steep challenge for Trump, whose bare-knuckled, anti-establishment campaign helped him win the Republican Party’s nomination but has so far failed to build broad support with voters.

If Trump cannot draw in far greater numbers of women, moderate Republican voters and minorities, he will almost surely lose the White House race, according to the polling project.

Consider, for example, what would be an ideal scenario for Trump: white men with below-average incomes showing up in record numbers on Election Day. This group strongly favors the real-estate mogul, yet even if all of them vote it wouldn’t hand Trump any of the states currently slated for Clinton or any of the toss-up states. Clinton would still win the election.

The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project is driven by an online survey that gathers responses from about 16,000 people per week. Respondents answer questions about their demographic background, their party affiliation and their choice for president. Their responses are weighted according to the latest population estimates, and each respondent is ranked according to their likelihood to vote.

Once the poll is complete, the project tallies the levels of support and estimated error for both candidates, and then runs multiple election simulations given their respective support. A separate set of simulations is run for each state and Washington D.C. The project runs more than 25 million simulations to determine the chances that one candidate would win. (Courtesy Reuters)