Either the race is already over or it’s not. The answer depends on how much faith you have in polls – particularly in this most unusual of presidential election years.
If you have faith in the polls – and as of now based on experience in 2012 and 2008 there is no reason not to – only something seismic could knock Hillary Clinton out. Judging by the polls – or at least most of them, more on that in a moment – Mrs. Clinton will become the 45th president. By all of the traditional and accepted measures of election year progress, she has moved into the kind of lead two weeks out that cannot be overcome.
Some examples. This past weekend, ABC released what it called its “inaugural” election poll that showed Clinton with a 12-point lead, by far the biggest margin of all polls taken.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls puts Clinton up by six. The RCP averages in key states such as Florida and Pennsylvania have her in the lead by anywhere from three to six points as well.
The Real Clear Politics projection of the Electoral College map gives Hillary Clinton 272 electoral votes – two more than necessary to win the election.
The Clinton campaign is behaving as if the election is in the bag. Some top Democrats are now urging Mrs. Clinton to spend much of the next two weeks campaigning for candidates down ballot in tightly contested Senate and House races.
That is one picture of the race with two weeks to go.
But there is another perspective.
There are three national polls from respected organizations that show the race as a dead heat The LA Times/USC poll, the Rasumssen White House Watch and the Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll are all three daily tracking polls as opposed to polls that get released whenever the polling organization decides. All three put the race within a point.
It is of particular interest that the Investors Business Daily poll has been the most accurate of all polls for the past three presidential elections.
Beyond polls there is what is happening out on the campaign. Yesterday, people stood in line for as long as 12 hours to get in to a Trump rally in Tampa. 25,000 got in. Many thousands more had to be turned away. Meanwhile, across the state in West Palm Beach, only 30 people turned out for a rally for Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine.
Do rally crowds serve as a proxy for voter turnout? Probably not as directly as Trump might wish. But 25,000 to 30 is a yuuuuge difference, as he might say.
As of this morning, all political wisdom borne of recent precedent favors Hillary Clinton and that would be the way to bet.
But if political wisdom borne of precedent meant anything so far this cycle, Donald Trump would never have made it to New Hampshire.
So if you’re up for a relatively safe bet, bet on Hillary.
But hang on to the grocery money.