Pollsters have spent months crunching numbers, analyzing data and adjusting their forecasts to account for email scandals, leaked tapes and sexual assault allegations. But on Nov. 8, the guesswork of the 2016 presidential election will be over, and Americans will watch as a map of the United States is filled in with red and blue.
As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump go head-to-head in battleground states like Arizona and Texas — two wildcard swing states given that they've both gone red in presidential elections over several decades — it's clear that almost anything is possible come Election Day.
Here are a few turnouts showing both Clinton's and Trump's potential paths to the presidency:
According to FiveThirtyEight, Clinton is likely to win in contentious states Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin, which gives her 323 electoral votes. In this outcome, she would outdo Trump despite his expected win in Ohio, a state that has traditionally predicted the outcome of an election.
It's likely, though, that Trump could take Florida as well, given the razor-thin margin in the state. FiveThirtyEight predicts, at the time of this writing, a 50.5% chance Clinton will claim Florida and a 49.5% chance Trump will. If Trump does land a win in the Sunshine State, Clinton would still edge out her opponent with 279 electoral votes.
If Trump pulls ahead in states like New Hampshire, Nevada and Colorado — states FiveThirtyEight identifies as being among Clinton's "firewall" — he has a path to victory. And indeed, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver calls New Hampshire and Colorado as "toss ups" with close margins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania as well.
One version of a Trump win could look something like this, with the nominee claiming 278 electoral votes:
Giving Trump a more generous lead in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine would give him a more sizable victory on Nov. 8, with 308 electoral votes.