Donald Trump is in jeopardy of being the first Republican presidential nominee since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to lose multiple red-leaning states, according to recent polls. Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina and potentially even Utah have a chance to swing toward Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.
A recent national poll has Trump gaining ground on Clinton, though Clinton still leads, 48-44, according to an NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll. But holding onto certain red states won by previous Republican nominees is considered crucial for the Trump campaign to remain competitive.
Arizona, a state with 11 electoral college votes, has voted for a Republican nominee in the last four elections, yet an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll had Trump only leading Clinton, 42 to 41 percent among likely voters. Among registered voters, Clinton leads, 41-40.
The same survey had Trump owning a slim 46-43 lead among likely voters in Georgia, a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic nominee in the last five elections. Georgia has 16 electoral college votes and is considered a "must win" for Trump.
The picture is a bit more mixed in Missouri. In July, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had Clinton leading, 41-40, though a poll by Remington Research last week showed Trump with a comfortable advantage over Clinton among likely voters, 47-38.
While North Carolina has traditionally been a red state, it's become more of a swing state in recent presidential elections. President Barack Obama narrowly won North Carolina in 2008 and lost to Republican nominee Mitt Romney, 50.39 percent to 48.35 percent, in 2012.
Clinton owns a small lead in North Carolina. In a Quinnipiac poll conducted in late August, Clinton came in at 47 percent among likely voters, compared to Trump at 43.
The good news for Trump is that he has widened his lead over Clinton in Utah amid fears in July that Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson could potentially gain stronger support. According to a poll by UtahPolicy.com, Trump had 39 percent of likely voters, while Clinton polled at a meager 24 percent. Johnson, meanwhile, dipped to 13 percent, perhaps due to the emergence of independent candidate Evan McMullin.
Should Clinton capture any of the aforementioned states, she could potentially win in an electoral-college-vote landslide. Obama defeated Republican nominee John McCain in 2008 with 365 electoral votes and defeated Romney with 332 electoral votes and Clinton could conceivably carry all the states Obama won.
But Trump still has a sizable lead in many red states. Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and Louisiana—five states with 74 total electoral college vote—all appear to be firmly in favor of the Republican businessman.
In order to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, experts believe Trump must win key battleground states like Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire. In those swing states, Trump either has a very small lead or is losing, so failing to win a traditional red state could spell doom since Clinton has comfortable leads in blue states.
It's unclear how much Johnson can influence the election results. In 2012, the former governor of New Mexico received under one percent of the vote but is currently polling at nine percent. According to RealClearPolitics.com, Johnson has polled as high as 12 percent.