A trio of new polls from Fox News show Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, has taken solid leads in three key battleground states: Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.
In Nevada, Trump again tops Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by three points with a 43 percent to 40 percent lead—while Libertarian Gary Johnson takes 8 percent and 4 percent chose “none of these.” Nevada is one of the few states that Green Party candidate Jill Stein is not on the ballot. That poll was conducted from Oct. 18 to Oct. 20 with 7040 likely voters and a margin of error of 3.5 percent.
In the Nevada poll, according to Fox News, Trump is exceeding expectations with a variety of demographics—particularly women and independents.
“Independents back Trump (42 percent) over Clinton (23 percent) and Johnson (21 percent),” Fox News’ Dana Blanton wrote. “The Democrat is trailing expectations among women and younger voters. Those under age 45 are almost equally likely to back Clinton (42 percent) as they are to back Trump (39 percent) — and Johnson garners double-digit support (11 percent). Women in Nevada backed Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 16-point margin in 2012, according to the Fox News Exit Poll. Clinton’s up by just six points. Both Clinton and Trump supporters have a high degree of vote certainty (93 percent each).”
Down in North Carolina, Trump leads the former Secretary of State by an even bigger five-point margin of 45 percent to 40 percent—with Johnson pulling just 6 percent there. Stein is also not on the ballot in North Carolina. That poll was conduct from Sept. 18 to Sept. 20 with a sample size of 734 likely voters and a margin of error of 3.5 percent, meaning Trump’s lead is more than a full percent outside the margin of error.
While racial disparity splits the two candidates—whites overwhelmingly back Trump while blacks overwhelmingly back Clinton—the independent vote again breaks nearly two-to-one for Trump over Clinton.
“Whites back Trump by a 31-point margin (58-27 percent), while blacks support Clinton by 82 points (85-3 percent),” Blanton wrote for Fox News. “Independents favor Trump (41 percent) over Clinton (24 percent) and Johnson (14 percent).”
And over in Ohio, Trump has taken a similarly strong five point lead over Clinton—beating her 42 percent to 37 percent, with 6 percent for Johnson and 2 percent for Stein. That poll, also conducted Sept. 18 to Sept. 20 with a 3.5 percent margin of error, surveyed 737 likely voters.
Trump again leads with independents and working-class whites in the Buckeye State, while Clinton is underperforming with women significantly compared to President Barack Obama’s showing in the 2012 election.
“Trump’s edge over Clinton comes mainly from independents (+20 points) and working-class whites (+26),” Blanton wrote. “Clinton’s up by just three points among women. Obama won them by 11 in 2012.”
If Trump can put these three states in his column for good, as these polls and other recent surveys from North Carolina, Ohio and Nevada seem to suggest, that puts him well on his way to 270 electoral votes—the threshold necessary to win the presidency. Ohio has 18 electoral votes, North Carolina has 15 and Nevada has 6—for a grand total of 39 electoral votes.
Reliably red states—Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and West Virginia—account for a total of 191 electoral votes.
If Trump adds that 39 from those three states to that total, it puts him at 230 electoral votes.
Throw in Iowa, where Trump has pulled ahead in recent polling, and he hits 236 electoral votes. Florida on top of that—where he is polling in several recent surveys ahead or dead even with Clinton—would put Trump at 265 electoral votes, meaning along with Maine’s second congressional district which has one electoral vote where Trump is polling well ahead of Clinton he would need just one more state to win the presidency.
That could be New Hampshire, with four electoral votes, Colorado with nine, New Mexico with five, Pennsylvania with 20, Michigan with 16, Wisconsin or Minnesota each with 10 or Virginia with 13—all states that Trump has a shot in.