As the 2016 presidential election continues to heat up, the polls are shifting again – this time in Donald Trump’s favor. Some polls have him cutting Hillary Clinton’s lead from about 10 points two weeks ago to nearly tied now. More importantly, the battleground states continue to favor Mrs. Clinton, as does the electoral map. Most observers agree that Clinton has about 248 electoral votes locked up, on the road to 270. By comparison, Trump has about 180.
But neither candidate has this wrapped up. It always comes down to a few states, fewer this year than normal. In order for Trump to win, he must win each of these five battleground states: Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and North Carolina. And he would still be four votes short. That means Trump must win one more state, one that is currently leaning Democratic. Those states are Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
But only one state out of 50 really matters. It is the one state that will decide this race – period. Forget the other 49 states and watch only this one. That one state is . . .
It’s that simple. Let me explain why. To get to 270 electoral votes, Trump needs to win all 22 states that lean Republican, plus each of the five battleground states listed above. That gets him to 266 of the 270 needed. He needs one more.
So why the tiny state of New Hampshire, with just four electoral votes? There are three reasons.
1. Trump must win one of the six states currently leaning Clinton.
And he trails her less in New Hampshire than in all the other states, by about 9 percent. So it will be easier to catch up in New Hampshire than in any other state.
2. New Hampshire is a hands-on state.
Trump does best when he gets close to the voters. You can do that in New Hampshire, with just 1.3 million people. It takes more votes to get elected mayor of San Antonio.
3. New Hampshire loves outsiders.
This is the state that picked Buchanan over Bush and Dean over everybody. They like underdogs, independents, outsiders, and libertarians. That all helps Mr. Trump.
Trump can win without New Hampshire, but to do so would mean winning in more unlikely states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Michigan. Of all the states he is losing, he is performing best in New Hampshire.
So go ahead and watch the debates, read what the pundits say, and glance at the daily tracking polls. This is a big country, with 325 million citizens. But remember, it is the 1.3 million who live in New Hampshire that really count.
Watch CNN. Watch Fox News. Watch MSNBC. But most of all, watch New Hampshire. Whoever wins tiny New Hampshire will be your next president. You read it here first.