Election Day is just hours away, and Republican nominee Donald Trump faces long odds of victory against Democrat Hillary Clinton. His narrow path to the presidency winds through a limited number of battleground states. Here's a rundown on North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio, three states Trump either needs to carry or at least make a major effort to do so in order to win on Nov. 8.
Best evidence available as of Monday evening suggests North Carolina is a state in play, with Trump and Clinton more or less tied in the last New York Times/Siena College survey released earlier in the day.
The two are deadlocked at 44%, according to that poll, but poll-aggregating website FiveThirtyEight puts Clinton as the favorite to win the state with 53.3% odds of victory.
However, CNN noted Clinton is underperforming in early voting totals relative to President Barack Obama's 2012 turnout, with Democrats comprising just 41.7% of the early electorate compared to 47.5% four years ago. North Carolina was among the last campaign stops for both candidates, with both attending rallies there on Monday.
The Keystone State looks increasingly like a lock for Clinton, according to CNN, which averaged five new surveys showing the Democratic nominee leads Trump by a 47%-42% margin.
Pennsylvania has gone exclusively Democratic since 1996 and is usually considered a stronghold for the party; FiveThirtyEight's model puts Clinton at a healthy 74.9% as of Monday night. However, the state is one the Democratic nominee cannot afford to lose, earning it a place alongside North Carolina on both candidates' last-night tours.
The Pennsylvania/Ohio border is also a firm line between Clinton and Trump territory, with Trump holding a 62.6% chance of victory in FiveThirtyEight's Ohio projections. In the four-way race between Trump, Clinton, and third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, Trump holds an average spread of 3.5% according to Real Clear Politics — though the total is based on just four recent polls.
So Trump holds an edge leading into Nov. 8. The Columbus Dispatch calls the state too close to call, with the Republican nominee winning a majority of new voters and competitive among traditionally pro-Democratic union households but with Clinton "slightly benefitting from greater party loyalty: 91 percent of Democrats back her versus 87 percent of Republicans for Trump. Independents are evenly split."