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Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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

Gwynn Guilford
By Gwynn Guilford


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.

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.

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