Hillary Clinton is riding high in the polls. How high? A poll released by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Friday found Clinton leading Trump in Georgia, 41 percent to 38 percent. That follows other Georgia polls published this week also showing a close race in the Peach State. A Democratic presidential nominee hasn’t carried Georgia since 1992. So how big a deal is it that Clinton could win Georgia?
First, Trump is still a favorite in the state. He has a 55 percent chance to win there,1 according to our polls-only forecast, and a 72 percent chance per our polls-plus model. (Our now-cast for Georgia, which projects each candidate’s chances of winning a hypothetical election today, show Clinton has a 59 percent chance.) Chances are that a Clinton win in Georgia would merely be an electoral cherry on top of an election blowout. Georgia has 16 electoral votes (tied for eighth most in the nation), but it has only between a 3 percent and a 4 percent chance of providing the decisive vote in the Electoral College, according to our models.
Still, the mere fact that Georgia has more than a minuscule chance of determining who wins the election is remarkable. We ran the different scenarios in which Georgia proves crucial in Clinton’s winning, and they all seem to have a fairly familiar theme. They look something like this (image’s from 270toWin.com’s handy mapmaker):
In these maps, Georgia is part of a “New South” backup plan for Clinton if Trump’s plan to win states in the Midwest and Northeast is successful. In these examples, you’d imagine Trump appealing to white voters without a college degree …