The Electoral College: Current Standings and Projection




By Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.14.2016

The Electoral College contains 538 “electors” who choose the next president by a simple majority of 270 votes.  The first candidate to reach that number becomes the next President of the United States.  48 states are “winner-take-all” because all of their electoral votes go to the candidate winning the popular vote.  Two states – Nebraska and Maine – allot their votes by congressional districts (Nebraska with five and Maine with four votes for a total of nine).

The Votes

Let’s see where the candidates currently stand and where it looks to be heading.  First, following is a list of the states and the number of electoral votes each has:

US State Electoral Votes US State Electoral Votes
Alabama 9 Montana 3
Alaska 3 Nebraska 5
Arizona 11 Nevada 6
Arkansas 6 New Hampshire 4
California 55 New Jersey 14
Colorado 9 New Mexico 5
Connecticut 7 New York 29
Delaware 3 North Carolina 15
Florida 29 North Dakota 3
Georgia 16 Ohio 18
Hawaii 4 Oklahoma 7
Idaho 4 Oregon 7
Illinois 20 Pennsylvania 20
Indiana 11 Rhode Island 4
Iowa 6 South Carolina 9
Kansas 6 South Dakota 3
Kentucky 8 Tennessee 11
Louisiana 8 Texas 38
Maine 4 Utah 6
Maryland 10 Vermont 3
Massachusetts 11 Virginia 13
Michigan 16 Washington 12
Minnesota 10 West Virginia 5
Mississippi 6 Wisconsin 10
Missouri 10 Wyoming 3

Current Standings

Now we need to see where each candidate currently stands in the polls in each state.  An average of polls in each state is taken here, as follows:

US State Electoral Votes US State Electoral Votes
Alabama Trump +20 Montana Trump +13
Alaska Trump +5 Nebraska Trump +14
Arizona Trump +3 Nevada Clinton +2
Arkansas Trump +11 New Hampshire Clinton +6
California Clinton +25 New Jersey Clinton +12
Colorado Clinton +10 New Mexico Clinton +9
Connecticut Clinton +11 New York Clinton +22
Delaware Clinton +10 North Carolina Clinton +2
Florida Trump +2 North Dakota Trump +18
Georgia Trump +3 Ohio Trump +2
Hawaii Clinton +20 Oklahoma Trump +24
Idaho Trump +21 Oregon Clinton +7
Illinois Clinton +22 Pennsylvania Clinton +6
Indiana Trump +8 Rhode Island Clinton +3
Iowa Trump +2 South Carolina Trump +7
Kansas Trump +13 South Dakota Trump +15
Kentucky Trump +13 Tennessee Trump +9
Louisiana Trump +11 Texas Trump +7
Maine Clinton +8 Utah Trump +15
Maryland Clinton +33 Vermont Clinton +21
Massachusetts Clinton +23 Virginia Clinton +4
Michigan Clinton +5 Washington Clinton +12
Minnesota Clinton +9 West Virginia Trump +22
Mississippi Trump +9 Wisconsin Clinton +5
Missouri Trump +4 Wyoming Trump +32

By current polls, Clinton wins 24 states and Trump wins 26.  Here, Maine will be given to Clinton and Nebraska to Trump – this will not really affect things either way.

Were the election to end with the above results, Clinton would receive 291 electoral votes to Trump’s 247 and become the next president.

Let’s give all states that currently favor Clinton by two to three percent to Trump – Nevada, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.  In that case, Clinton would receive 266 votes to Trump’s 270, exactly the number needed to make him the next president.

Trump must retain his current leads as well as managing to turn the tide in those three states currently favoring Clinton to barely reach the magic 270.  However, the states given to him above in which he only has a two to three percent lead (Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and Ohio), may well swing back to Clinton by the time of the election.  If Clinton takes any of those four states, her margin of victory simply increases.

There are ultimately really four states to watch in this election:  Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio.

A gambler would lay down odds on Clinton in this race, but she/he would be nervous.