If the election were held today, FiveThirtyEight says Trump would likely beat Clinton

Image: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
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There are 42 days until the US decides the next president. But if a snap election were held today, Donald Trump would win. That’s according to FiveThirtyEight now-cast, a model that aggregates polling data to tell you “who would win the election if it were held today.” Trump would have a 54.5% chance of winning if the US went to the polls today, at time of publishing (at 12.50pm ET).

A screenshot from 538’s polling site shows Trump winning.
A screenshot from 538’s polling site shows Trump winning.
Image: FiveThirtyEight

Oddly enough, the now-cast—which was built by stats oracle Nate Silver—has Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump in the popular vote—45.5% to 45.1%. However, Trump would still win the White House with his 276.2 electoral votes, compared to Clinton’s 261.6.

Of course, things can still change with more than a month left in the race. The thing is, though, Clinton’s prospects aren’t looking much better in FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast, which predicts the Nov. 8 outcome based on current polls and other factors. That model has the race narrowed to almost a toss-up.

It’s worth noting that FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus model is a bit of an outlier here. Other models have been much more sanguine for Clinton’s chances. The New York Times model projects a 69% chance that Clinton will win in November, while Princeton Election Consortium puts those odds between 69% and 79%.

One other interesting note about an election held today: Gary Johnson, who is running as Libertarian Party candidate, would claim 8.1% of the popular vote, according to FiveThirtyEight. Sucking up some of Johnson’s vote is crucial for Clinton; in the poll-plus forecast, her win in the popular vote comes almost entirely from drawing away a bigger share of would-be Johnson supporters than Trump. Of course, we don’t need model-divining to tell us what will happen if those voters stick with Johnson. In 2000, Al Gore lost the election because tens of thousands of would-be Gore supporters voted for Ralph Nader instead.