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US election 2020: The electoral map just keeps getting worse for Trump

CNN logo CNN 6/24/2020 Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
a close up of a map © Provided by CNN

It's easy to get lost in the sea of national polls -- all of which show former Vice President Joe Biden with high-single digit lead over President Donald Trump.

But as we learned in 2016 (and 2000!), the only count that really matters is the Electoral College.

Unfortunately for Trump, his chances of getting to the 270 electoral votes he needs to win a second term are looking, at least the moment, quite dim.

Over the past week, two major political prognosticators -- Amy Walter at the Cook Political Report and Nate Silver of 538 -- have released updated looks at the electoral map. And the picture they paint for Trump is dire.

"With just under five months until the election, President Trump is a severe underdog for re-election," writes Walter, who puts 248 electoral votes solidly or leaning to Biden and 204 solidly or leaning to Trump.

Adds Walter:

"To win the Electoral College, Biden would need to win just 26 percent of those Toss Up states/districts, while Trump would need to win over 75 percent of them. In other words, Trump has little room for error, while Biden has a wider path to winning."

Silver's analysis is similar.

"Overall — assuming that states that haven't been polled go the same way as they did in 2016 — Biden leads in states worth 368 electoral votes, while Trump leads in states totaling 170 electoral votes," he writes.

To be clear: Neither Walter nor Silver (nor me) say the election is over or that Trump can't win. In fact, while Silver suggests there's a possibility that Biden could win in a "landslide" if all the current toss-up states go to him, "so is a Trump Electoral College victory, depending on which way the race moves between now and November.

But what they are saying is that right now the electoral map is very much in Biden's favor. Not only are traditional Democratic states that Trump won in 2016 like Michigan and Pennsylvania looking likely to return to the Democratic column in 2020, but former Republican strongholds like Arizona, North Carolina and maybe even Texas appear to genuinely in play for Biden.

All of which gives the presumptive Democratic nominee, as Walter rightly notes, more paths to the 270 electoral votes he needed to be the 46th president.

Paths do still exist for Trump -- most notably by holding two of the three Rust Belt states (Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin) and keeping the status quo elsewhere on the map.

But there are a whole lot less paths for Trump than for Biden. And with each passing week of late, the number of good electoral map options for Trump just keeps shrinking.

The Point: The best news for Trump is that Election Day is still a ways away. If the election were held today, he would lose convincingly -- in the popular vote and the Electoral College.


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