If the 2016 presidential election were held today, Republican Donald Trump would be headed to the White House.
Top pollster Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight daily update gives GOP presidential nominee Trump a 50.3 percent chance of winning the November general election. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s chances have dropped to 49.7 percent, according to the polling site.
The site still gives Clinton a fraction of a margin of victory in the popular vote – 45.6 percent to 44.6 percent. Forecasts earlier Monday shows Trump winning the Electoral College but that was revised later in the day to show the two locked in a dead heat. A candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to clinch the White House.
The changing numbers mark the first time since July that Trump has overtaken Clinton. On July 27, Trump’s chances were at 55.4 percent only to drop to an abysmal 3.6 percent just two weeks later. Clinton’s chances of winning peaked at 96 percent on Aug. 8.
The changing numbers come just ahead of the first presidential debate, an event seen as key for both campaigns.
Clinton maintains her lead in most polls but only by the smallest of margins. A Washington Post-ABC poll published yesterday has Clinton and Trump tied at 41 percent in a two-candidate race. The Real Clear Politics poll average has Clinton at 42.3 percent; Trump at 40.1 percent; Libertarian Gary Johnston at 8.3 percent; and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 2.7 percent.
The improving numbers for Trump are reflected in stronger showing in key states. FiveThirtyEight now has Trump leading in Florida (2.4 percent advantage); North Carolina (2.9 percent advantage); Ohio (3.5 percent advantage) and Nevada (2.8 percent advantage.)
Florida looks as if it once again will be the key state in deciding the next president. FiveThirtyEight puts its chances of deciding the race at 19 percent, 7 points higher than second-place finisher Michigan.