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​Does Trump Actually Have a Chance to Win?

Even he might not be so sure at this point. 

Even with some national polls coming back relatively favorably (e.g., LA Times/USC), the polls relevant to key swing states tell a different story.

Investors pay attention to notable elections, especially one as noteworthy as the U.S. presidency. While the president's effects on the economy are overstated and subject to disproportionate praise and/or criticism, presidential policies can have an affect on the future of various industries, from healthcare, financials, energy, to many other industries that have their business prospects intrinsically entangled in the political environment.

In late July, things were looking up for the Trump campaign with the post-convention bounce. Clinton had a boost of her own following the Democratic National Convention, and has been veering slightly upward since with minor well-publicized hiccups for the Trump campaign. Clinton also seems to have a notable financial advantage over Trump, which can manifest in higher advertisement spending and the development of a ground game.

But notably, the Democrats start out with a more favorable electoral advantage relative to Republicans off the bat. In terms of number of states won, the count is fairly even between parties But in terms of high-electoral states, Democrats typically carry CA (55 points), IL (20), and NY (29), while the Republicans carry TX (38), representing an “automatic” 104-38 advantage.

Both candidates are targeting four main high-point battleground states – Ohio (18), Florida (29), North Carolina (15), and Pennsylvania (20). Historically, the former two have always been close and bellwethers for the entire election. North Carolina is normally a Republican stronghold, but has been looking more purple and increasingly blue in recent years due to an influx of younger demographics. Just as a general anecdote, I live in the New York City area, and an increasing number of "lower-tier" finance jobs, such as accounting, compliance, and operations, are being sent to lower-paying parts of the country -- including Charlotte, NC -- as part of corporate initiatives to slash costs.

Pennsylvania hasn’t gone Republican since George H.W. Bush carried the state in 1988. The state has had Republican appeal in the current election cycle due to Donald Trump’s appeal to primarily white working-class citizens, but is facing unfavorable numbers in the urban areas, particularly Philadelphia.

Here is one electoral scenario that could be favorable to Trump:

This is technically a tie at 269-all (270 electoral votes are needed to win), but a tie could be favorable to Trump than Clinton due to a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where tied elections would be decided.

As for the current polls, this would be an uphill battle to attain this scenario. It has him winning not only Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina, but also other battlegrounds, including New Hampshire (typically Democratic leaning but more conservative than other northeastern states), Iowa, and Nevada. Trump is currently behind in the polls in all six states.

Of the four main swing states – FL, OH, NC, and PA – Clinton could get away with winning just one of the four presuming she also holds just one of Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Unless she were to win just NC among those four, then Clinton would need to hold one of Nevada or Iowa to win.

But Clinton winning NC while losing PA is a highly unlikely electoral scenario.

What’s looking more like a best-case scenario for Trump with a little more than two months left is something like this:

Or this:

Or even:

And even then he wouldn’t win.

A realistic bad-case (likely-case?) scenario at this point in time looks like this, or even worse than the 332-206 that Romney lost by in 2012:

For Trump to pull it out, there needs to be a broad secular shift in his favor in the polls, as the basic targeting of specific states is a strategy that will simply not work.