Recently, after Clinton's debate bounce, she has overtaken or increased her lead in various swing states, such as Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.

However, it seems like Trump continues to lead in Ohio, even though Clinton has a 6-point lead in mid-August (during the convention bounce).

Below is the winning chances from June till now from The New York Times:


Source: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/upshot/ohio-election-forecast.html

Is there any particular reason why Trump has a higher chance of winning Ohio though Clinton consistently lead the state (though not by a wide margin) before overtaken by Trump?

Fyi, Ohio have voted for the winner of every election since 1944 except for 1960.

  • 2
    Related, but not a direct answer: Today's FiveThirtyEight update discusses why Ohio and Pennsylvania are polling so differently, even though they're often considered closely related. It addresses the Ohio numbers, but not in the historical context you're looking for.
    – Bobson
    Oct 5, 2016 at 22:50
  • I'd vote to close but there's no "impossible to answer because it's pure speculation about the inexact science of political polling" option :)
    – user1530
    Nov 4, 2016 at 19:02

4 Answers 4



Trump does best with working class whites and does worse with groups like college-educated and Hispanics. Ohio has lots of working class whites and not so many Hispanics. Florida and Nevada have lots of Hispanics. This leaves his support in Florida softer than in Ohio.

Note that Ohio's partisan lean has been just to the Republican side of the country. For this reason, it tends to vote for the winner. But in a close Democratic win like 1960, it can go Republican.

It could happen this year. Most projections of close elections have Ohio going for Trump even if Clinton wins. She'd need 320 electoral votes or so to win Ohio.

Random polling

Some of the difference is just the polls that are being taken. For example, in Florida, the Monmouth poll has Clinton +5. But the previous Monmouth poll had Clinton +9. The JMC Analytics poll that just dropped out of the average had Trump +4. And the previous JMC poll had Trump +5.

House effects are when a poll has a consistent bias in favor of one side or the other. In this case, it looks like Monmouth has a pro-Clinton house effect while JMC Analytics is pro-Trump. At least in Florida. If JMC Analytics releases next week and Monmouth drops out, the polls will shift again.

Organizations like FiveThirtyEight measure pollster bias and compensate for it. This helps reduce the random noise movements.

  • I don't think this explains the change in September, though...other than perhaps it's just polling margin-of-error.
    – user1530
    Oct 5, 2016 at 20:42

It's actually due to the fact that most polling weren't accurate. Republicans have been favoured in the state after Trump regained the lead.

The closer to the election, the more people will make up their minds. So, it could be that his lead was because people made up their minds.

That also explain why he won the state in the election.

  • 1
    I'm not sure why you're answering this question now, but it doesn't address "Why has Trump erased Clinton's lead?" As written, it's an answer for "Why did the polls miss?" which is a very different question.
    – Bobson
    Dec 23, 2016 at 18:34

On September 9, 2016, Clinton made her "Basket of deplorables" comment concerning "half of" Trump's supporters.

The Trump campaign repeatedly used the phrase against Clinton during [...] the 2016 presidential election.

The shift in "chances" in Ohio in September seems undeniably the result of Clinton's comment and the Trump campaign's use of the comment to discredit Clinton.


At the time of the Democratic convention, many Ohio Governor Kasich supporters were no doubt feeling less than thrilled with the Donald, and some protest statements to pollsters might have been made. Lets face it, the Democratic Convention was uplifting. The Republican vanity show.... not so much.

And heck, many are still less than thrilled with the Donald.

Doesn't mean that, in the end they'll vote Hillary though. And to that point Hillary hadn't labelled Republicans as a Basket of Deplorables.... which was a direct insult to some potential swing voters. In the end, it is hard to separate a person from their party in the US - it is almost a part of their identity for many people.

Only question is, will enough Ohio Republicans distaste for Donald leave them unmotivated enough to stay home to allow Hillary to sneak a win from that state. Frankly, I doubt it.

  • 1
    Thanks, but Ohio did vote for a Democrat for 1976 (Carter), 1992 (Clinton), 1996 (Clinton), 2008 (Obama) and 2012 (Obama)
    – Panda
    Oct 5, 2016 at 12:57
  • I apologize - you are correct. I made that statement based on an incorrect news source: nytimes.com/2016/09/10/us/politics/… Oct 5, 2016 at 13:03
  • Yup, Ohio does vote for the winner of almost all elections for quite a long time. +1, thanks for your opinion
    – Panda
    Oct 5, 2016 at 13:06
  • 3
    I'm not sure this answers the question. Feels like commentary.
    – user1530
    Oct 5, 2016 at 20:41

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