With just five days to go before Tuesday’s election and most national polls indicating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are either leading or trailing within the margin of error, but which candidate is winning which states is the real question when it comes to electing the next president.
A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency and each state gets a say depending on the size of its congressional delegation—one vote for each of its congressmen and one for each of its two senators, giving small states a greater say in the outcome. California has the most electoral votes (55), while seven states, along with Washington, D.C., have just three electoral votes.
Predictions about the electoral map have varied. The University of Virginia Center for Politics gives Clinton 293 electoral votes, the Associated Press and ABC both have Clinton at 278, the Princeton Election consortium gives Clinton 317, while FiveThirtyEight, NPR and CNN give Clinton 272. Cook Political Report gives Clinton 273, NBC gives Clinton 274, and the Fix gives Clinton 294—margins that far outstrip what might be expected based on the popular vote alone.
270towin estimates Clinton has 258 sure electoral votes while Trump has 157. Nevada with its six electoral votes, along with Utah (6), Arizona (11), Florida (29), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6), Ohio (18) and New Hampshire (4) may still be up for grabs. Unlike the 48 other states, Nebraska (5) and Maine (4) split their electoral votes by congressional district with the winner of the popular vote getting the other two.
Even if Trump captures all those swing states, he’s still shy of the 270 needed, which means at least one of the states considered "safe" for Clinton needs to be flipped. Those states include Colorado (9), New Mexico (5), Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10).
Despite the long odds, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power said Tuesday 91 percent of the bets on the election since Saturday are on Trump to win.
The site is giving 2/5 odds on Clinton and 2/1 odds on Trump, with Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson 500/1 longshots.
Either of the two biggest prizes, Florida or Ohio, could put Clinton over the top.
The latest Florida poll from Opinion Savvy, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday among 603 registered voters, gives Clinton a 4-point edge while the RealClear Politics average of major polls has the candidates tied, with Trump ahead by 0.3 points.
In Ohio, the latest Quinnipiac University poll, released Sunday, indicated Trump leads Clinton by 5 points. That poll was conducted Thursday through Tuesday among 589 likely voters and had an error rate of 4 percentage points. The RealClear Politics average indicates Trump is leading by 3.3 points.
A CNN/ORC poll in Nevada released Wednesday indicated Trump is ahead by 6 points. The poll was conducted Thursday through Tuesday among 1,005 adults and had an error rate of 3 points. The RealClear Politics average indicates Trump is 2 points ahead.
The latest Iowa Poll, which was released Oct. 8 and compiled before the third debate, gave Trump a 4-point margin. The poll queried 642 likely voters Oct. 3-6. The Real Clear Politics average indicates Trump is ahead by 1.4 points.