RCP Panel Puts Trump's Odds of a Win at 20-40+ Percent
CLEVELAND -- As Donald Trump’s coronation began at the Republican National Conference, polling experts at RealClearPolitics’ “The State of The Race” event Monday were divided over the billionaire’s chances of winning the presidency.
Event moderator and RCP Senior Elections Correspondent Sean Trende posed the question: What do you make of the projection by FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver that Trump has a 37 percent chance of winning the presidency? Trende and Whit Ayres, president of North Star Opinion Research, found the number too high.
“I have had Trump at 20 percent. I probably have him up at 25 now,” Trende said. “So I think Nate’s probably too high.”
Ayres, who agreed with Trende’s 20 percent estimate, said that from an electoral college standpoint, it’s “real hard to identify a state that [Mitt] Romney lost that Trump could win.”
In particular, Ayres said Trump will be hurt by “the inexorable march of demographic change.” Trump is “on track to do less well with Hispanics” than Romney did, which will hurt the real estate mogul as the population of Florida and other key states becomes more Hispanic.
On the other side, Ed Goeas, president and CEO of the Tarrance Group, and Greg Strimple, founder and president of the GS Strategy Group, found Silver’s projection more reasonable, or even too low.
“I see nothing in the numbers that says Trump can’t win,” Goeas said. “If I saw [the Trump campaign] actually waking up a little bit and getting serious about running a real campaign, I’d put them up into the 40 percent” range.
Strimple also thought the campaign could prove successful, saying Trump “could win between two and five” states that Romney lost to Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
Currently, according to RealClearPolitics’ polling average, Hillary Clinton holds a 3.2 percent lead over Trump, although that lead has been shrinking, down from 4.8 percent at the beginning of the month.
The event comes on the first day of the Republican National Convention, where Trump is slated to speak on Thursday evening. “The State of The Race” is the first of three events sponsored by RealClearPolitics in Cleveland; “Decoding 2016: The Future of Healthcare” and “Decoding 2016: Middle Class Vote” are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, and will be streamed live online.