(FiveThirtyEight) — There’s been a potential breach of Hillary Clinton’s electoral firewall. And it’s come in New Hampshire, a state that we said a couple of weeks ago could be a good indicator of a Donald Trump comeback because of its large number of swing voters. Three new polls of New Hampshire released today showed a tied race, Trump ahead by 1 percentage point and Trump up by 5. There are some qualifications here: The poll showing Trump with a 5-point lead is from American Research Group, a pollster that’s had its issues over the years. And other recent polls of New Hampshire still show a Clinton ahead. But the race has clearly tightened in New Hampshire, with Clinton leading by only 2 to 3 percentage points in our forecast.
If Clinton lost New Hampshire but won her other firewall states, each candidate would finish with 269 electoral votes, taking the election to the House of Representatives. Or maybe not — if Clinton also lost the 2nd Congressional District of Maine, where polls show a tight race and where the demographics are unfavorable to her, Trump would win the Electoral College 270-268, probably despite losing the popular vote.
Couldn’t Clinton win Nevada to make up for the loss of New Hampshire? Or Florida? Or North Carolina? Well … of course she could. All those states remain highly competitive. The point, as we’ve said before, is just that Clinton’s so-called firewall is not very robust. If you’re only ahead in exactly enough states to win the Electoral College, and you’d lose if any one of them gets away, that’s less of a firewall and more of a rusting, chain-link fence.
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