Trump’s prospects

Earlier today, in a piece called “The post-Trump GOP,” I said I’m convinced that Hillary Clinton will be elected president. I didn’t mean to suggest that Trump has no chance of winning. I’m convinced that the Washington Redskins won’t win the Super Bowl this year, but they have some chance of winning it.

What is the likelihood that Trump will defeat Clinton? The folks at FiveThirtyEight say it’s about 15 percent. I would have put it lower, but will defer to the experts.

There are polls that show the race tightening, and I believe the gap has narrowed since Trump hit a low point about a week ago, before the third debate. As Nate Silver points out, however, we are also a week closer to the election, so Trump has less time in which to catch up.

FiveThirtyEight’s review of polls leads it to conclude that Trump is 6.4 points behind Clinton. The Real Clear Politics poll average has Trump trailing by 5.6 points. (These and all other numbers cited in this post poll a four-way race).

The most recent poll I’m aware of is from Fox News. It has Trump within 3 points of Clinton, which is within the poll’s margin of error. Less than two weeks ago, Fox showed Clinton up by 6 points.

But no poll in the RCP listing has had Trump ahead of Clinton since a Rasmussen survey taken Oct. 11-13 (Trump was up by 2 points in that one). Since that time, 21 consecutive polls have Clinton ahead. Moreover, no non-Rasmussen poll has had Trump leading since a since Sept. 11-14 when Bloomberg had Trump ahead to by 2 points.

A 5 or 6 point lead is extraordinarily difficult to overcome in less than two weeks when there are no conventions or debates left to swing opinion. There will, I assume, be more WikiLeaks and it’s likely that the leakers are saving the “best” for last.

So far, however, the leaked emails are the utterances of Clinton aides, not Hillary. It seems unlikely that anything aides said will have a major impact on the race at this stage. Nor should we assume that the unused ammo in this election will be fired only at Clinton.

For these reasons, I’m convinced that Clinton will win, though her victory is not yet a foregone conclusion.

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