Donald Trump has upended much of what we thought we knew about U.S. electoral politics. Maybe Republican voters aren’t as conservative as we thought. Maybe candidates can make seemingly crazy statements without harming their prospects. Those were both lessons we learned from the Republican primaries. But the general election has gone more according to script, and Trump hasn’t upended that most basic feature of general elections, the map.
As politics has become more polarized, the electoral map has changed very little from election to election. But because Trump is such an unusual candidate, it seemed possible there would be states in play this year that usually aren’t. Trump himself said he would compete in deep-blue states like California, New York, Oregon and Washington. So far, however, the 2016 map looks a lot like the 2012 map. Some reliably red and blue states are a tad more competitive this year, relative to the country overall, than in recent elections, but Trump has not reshaped the political landscape. And with Clinton leading Trump nationally by about 7 percentage points, the typically uncompetitive states that seem most likely to flip are red, not blue.
Among the 44 states where general election polling has taken place, Hillary Clinton is ahead of Trump in every state that President Obama won in 2012, plus North Carolina. Here are the FiveThirtyEight polls-only adjusted polling averages for each state versus the vote percentage margin between Obama and Romney in 2012:
That Clinton is winning where Obama won is obviously a major problem for Trump. Mitt Romney lost in 2012, after all. But the states are not lining up exactly as they …