LIST: 10 battleground states to watch in November

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a presidential primary election night rally, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

With the general election match-up between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump mostly set following Tuesday's primaries, attention can turn to the electoral map and the battleground states where the presidency will be decided in November.

Trump's campaign has identified 15 states to focus on in the general election, including some that Republicans have not won in decades.

"I will win states that no Republican would even run in," Trump told the Associated Press in May.

While both campaigns have made improbable claims that they can put new states in play this year (Trump in California and Clinton in Texas, for example), experts expect the electoral map to look relatively similar to recent election cycles.

If that is the case, Clinton will have a demographic advantage and a slightly easier road to 270 electoral votes based on states that are firmly Democratic or leaning blue.

"Donald Trump's challenge is turning those purple states red and flipping a couple of blue states," said Kerwin Swint, professor of political science at Kennesaw State University.

That sounds like a tall order, but economic dissatisfaction and anti-establishment fervor could give Trump an opening.

"The best pathway for Trump is states that either have been toss up states or have been Democratic states whose electorate is more than 70 percent white and who have recovered slowly from the great recession of 2008 and 2009," said Glenn Altschuler, Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University.

Here are 10 states to watch on Election Night:


Trump's comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel and his criticisms of Mexican immigrants could cost him most in states with large Latino populations like Colorado and New Mexico, Altschuler said. "They have too many Hispanic voters. That's why the Judge Curiel controversy, which is an entirely unforced error by Trump, is potentially such a big mistake."


Although Trump easily dominated the Florida Republican primary, the general election will present a greater challenge. Polls show the two candidates running almost even right now. The outcome there has been close in the last two presidential elections, and it was the state the entire 2000 election hinged on.


Clinton's loss to Bernie Sanders in the Michigan Democratic primary was one of the big surprises of the spring, demonstrating potential weaknesses for her there. Trump's position on trade will likely resonate with unemployed factory workers. The state also has a particularly large share of white voters as a percentage of its electorate. A recent Detroit News/WDIV poll showed Clinton up by 4 over Trump, though.


Altschuler listed Minnesota as one state Trump may be eyeing to appeal to white voters hurt by the recession, but he emphasized that it would be a longshot. Although Trump has identified it as a target, the state has voted Democratic in the last 10 presidential elections.


No recent general election polling is available, but the state's increasingly Latino electorate could be a challenge for Trump. According to the National Journal, statistical models predict the state will experience a 7 point decline in the percentage of eligible voters who are white from 2008 to 2016.

North Carolina

According to Swint, Trump would likely need victories in states like North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida to secure 270 electoral votes. Although Clinton led in North Carolina polls in March and April, two surveys conducted in late May placed Trump ahead by 4 points.


Recent polls have produced mixed results in Ohio, with a Quinnipiac poll from early May putting Trump ahead by 4 and a CBS/YouGov survey later in the month showing Clinton up by 5. The CBS poll also found that 36 percent of respondents believed things are going so badly in the country that they can "take a chance" on the next president, while 38 percent said the country cannot afford to take a chance.


Polls currently show Trump nearly tied with Clinton in Pennsylvania. Gary Nordlinger, a political consultant and an adjunct professor at George Washington University, said one of the biggest questions for his campaign in the fall will be whether he can win over workers in states like Pennsylvania who have been left behind by the economic recovery.


Clinton has led Trump by double digits in nearly every poll since last August in Wisconsin. The state's manufacturing base has been hit hard by the economy, though, and it has one of the largest percentages of white voters of all the potential swing states, so residents may be open to Trump's message.


Politico noted increases in the population of African Americans and college-educated white voters in Virginia, two demographics where Clinton has an advantage. There are also more young votes, a group Clinton has struggled with. Experts still see the state as a likely toss-up.

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