RNZ’s Phil Smith has a handy overview/survival guide
What counts in presidential elections is not winning the most votes or the most states, it is the most electoral votes. Usually, if you win a state you win all of its electoral votes (EVs). Each state is worth as many EVs as the number of politicians it sends to Washington. The smallest states are all worth three, the largest (California) is worth 55.
The first candidate to reach 270 EVs wins.
Battle ground states
The states that could go either way are referred to as ‘battle ground states’. Their benighted populations have been battered with advertising and littered with political rallies for months.
There are currently 12 states where polling shows a margin of less than 5 percent. If you need a list of states with current polling averages and a tipping point for each party to get past 270 EVs, I suggest this one.
If you want to play with scenarios try this neat engine at the Washington Post.
And the grand result?
While polls have come and gone a little recently, at no time this year has Mr Trump been closer than 30 points behind in the projected electoral vote, and usually more than 100 behind.
Polling averages suggest a result of 317 to Clinton and 221 to Trump. If the tightened polls stay closer Mrs Clinton may only reach 290, but the odds of her failing to reach the necessary 270 are still small. Mr Trump could feasibly win but he has to win most of the battleground states to do so, Mrs Clinton only has to win some of them.
Phil Smith is an award-winning journalist who has reported for RNZ from China, India and Australia. For the past three months he has been RNZ’s guru and guide on the byzantine minutiae of American politics.
I’m going to miss his insights. They have been stand-out pieces of work among the usual RNZ fare.
Whaleoil will run 3 US Election General Debate posts tomorrow, the first starting at 6am. It’s going to be a long day for political junkies. And if you follow Whaleoil, like it or not, you are one.
– Phil Smith, RNZ