The electoral map keeps changing, but new rankings don’t favor Donald Trump.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball released updated Electoral College ratings, moving several deep red states out of the “safe Republican” or “leans Republican” columns. The ratings changes push Hillary Clinton to 352 electoral votes, the highest the organization has ranked her the entire election cycle.
“Our conclusion is simple,” according to analysis released Thursday. “As we reassess our Electoral College ratings, we don’t think any new states are moving toward Trump at this point, and there are some surprising conservative places where he is registering very thin, soft support.”
According to the team at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Trump is “barely ahead in some polls of Alaska, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas — states that he shouldn’t be close in any competitive election.” While the team said they still think Trump will win those states, it will be by “significantly reduced margins from Mitt Romney’s 2012 performance.”
Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved those states from “safe Republican” to “likely Republican.”
One big shift: Utah has shifted from “leans Republican” to “toss-up.” The team at Sabato’s credited the entry of Evan McMullin, an independent conservative candidate, as one of the reasons for the shift. Polls have shown a three-way race in the Beehive State among McMullin, Trump, and Clinton.
“In a state where neither major-party candidate is spending much time or money, McMullin’s cultivation of Utah … could bear fruit, and he may have the most room to grow in a state where Clinton and Trump are very unpopular,” according to the recent ratings memo.
Clinton is expected to make a push in Arizona, where polls have shown a close race throughout the general election. The team at Sabato’s moved Arizona “all the way from Leans Republican to Leans Democratic.”
“If we were basing this just on polls, Toss-up would be the designation, but we’re trying to project a little bit here,” according to Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “We just don’t see Trump making a dramatic recovery nationally, and he may not be able to fight off the Clinton ambush in a Latino-rich state where he should be solidly ahead. Of all the states that voted for both McCain and Romney, Arizona appears to be the most vulnerable for Trump.”