The presidential debates wrapped up Wednesday night in Las Vegas when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton faced off against her Republican opponent Donald Trump in what proved to be a contentious affair. The two candidates have just about 19 days left to scramble for votes, with campaigns seemingly ramping up efforts even further in the battleground states that could ultimately decide the election.
Trump currently trails in the polls and he likely didn't do much to help his odds in Vegas. The scientific polls that surveyed registered voters and debate watchers found that Clinton won. Trump also earned negative press by not committing to accepting the results of the election. And while many prediction-makers have said a Clinton win is very likely, there's still time remaining for the GOP candidate to court undecided voters.
There's a good chance Pennsylvania will be one of the most important states on Election Day and right now it appears to be leaning to the left. A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found Clinton led Trump by 6 percentage points, 47 percent to 41, in a four-way race. An Emerson College survey released the day of the debate found she was up by four points, while the Real Clear Politics average of polls gave a 6.2 point lead in the state. Using its polls-based election forecast, data-driven website FiveThirtyEight gave Clinton a nearly 89 percent chance of winning the state. Earning Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes would certainly help land the Democratic nominee in the White House, but also effectively narrow Trump's path to the White House down to a tightrope.
Compared to Pennsylvania, the race in North Carolina appears to be much closer, but is still leaning toward a Clinton win. Recent polling has put her lead between 1 and 2 points, including the latest CNN/ORC survey that had her up just one. FiveThirtyEight remains bullish on Clinton's chances in the state however, giving the former secretary of state an about 71 percent chance of taking North Carolina's 15 electoral votes in its forecast.
Ohio, meanwhile, is pretty close to being a toss-up. The Quinnipiac University poll this week had the race as a tie as did a Suffolk University poll this week. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has Trump leading by less than 1 percentage point in a state that is all but a must-win if the GOP nominee is to have a realistic path to the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House. The FiveThirtyEight forecast, which looks at factors like a poll's historic accuracy, gives Clinton a very good shot at winning the Buckeye State. It gave her a 63.2 percent chance of winning Ohio Thursday, compared to Trump's 36.8 percent.