Donald Trump says he will go “after places that no other Republican goes after,” but can he compete in those states?
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Ticking off lists of states throughout the GOP primary process, the Republican nominee said he would flip the electoral map on its head, threatening to win in even the most reliably Democratic states, like California and Washington. But he still has spent no money on general election television ads across the country, and polls show no signs yet of a changing tide in deep blue states.
Here are 14 states Trump said he can win in November (and whether he actually can):
Trump in Phoenix, June 18, 2016: “You know, a lot of these states are not supposed to be, like, Republican states ... We’re going to make them Republican states. Connecticut is one of them.”
ABC News rating: Solid Democratic. President Barack Obama won re-election in Connecticut by a wide margin, 17 percentage points, and the state hasn’t gone to a Republican for almost three decades. And according to 2012 exit polls, 6 in 10 voters there had a college degree — another major warning sign for Trump.
Trump in San Jose, California, June 2, 2016: "I’m not even talking about landslides, but I think we can win the state of California and win it pretty substantially. Now, I’ve been told by all these geniuses, all these brilliant guys — they all say you can’t win the state of California. I think we can.”
ABC News rating: Solid Democratic. It would be difficult for the Golden State to be any bluer. Democratic presidential candidates have won California for the past six election cycles, all with sizable leads over their opponents.
Trump in Bismarck, North Dakota, May 26, 2016: “Hillary Clinton wants to put the coal miners out of business. They want to put the steel mills out of business. I think I’m going to win Pennsylvania easily. We have tremendous support there.”
ABC News rating: Leaning Democratic. Although Democratic presidential candidates have won Pennsylvania for the past six election cycles, the GOP nominee’s popularity among working-class white voters has opened the door there. But polling so far shows Trump at a disadvantage in the state.
Trump in Evansville, Indiana, April 28, 2016: "I’ll beat [Clinton] in Arkansas. She comes from Arkansas. And the truth is they abandoned their state. They abandoned Arkansas.”
ABC News rating: Solid Republican. Mitt Romney won the six electoral votes Arkansas had to offer in 2012 by a landslide, earning 60 percent of the vote over Obama’s 37 percent. Still, President Bill Clinton won the state in 1992 and 1996.
5. New York
Trump in Evansville, Indiana, April 28, 2016: “You know, no Republican other than me will campaign in New York. They won’t campaign ... They assume that is lost. If somebody ever won New York, it totally, with the Electoral College, it totally changes the map. I think we will win New York. I really do.”
ABC News rating: Solid Democratic. Despite Trump’s confidence in his ability to change the map, the numbers strongly tilt in Clinton’s favor. Democratic presidential candidates have won the past seven consecutive presidential elections in the Empire State. Obama defeated Romney there by 28 points in 2012.
Trump in Billings, Montana, May 26, 2016: “They’re letting people go in Michigan. And by the way, I’m going to win Michigan, and normally a Republican would not go to campaign there, and I’m going to win, just like I did in the primaries. I’m going to win Michigan by a lot.”
ABC News rating: Leaning Democratic. Jobs remain on the minds of voters in Michigan, and Trump has been sure to focus on Detroit’s most important industry: cars. Still, Democratic presidential candidates have won the state for the past six election cycles, and the Flint water crisis continues to fuel criticism of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
Trump in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, May 19, 2016: “You’ve let go of thousands of people, and you’ve left, in this case, Indiana, in Chicago ... We are going to win Illinois. We are going to win Indiana. We are going to win these states.”
ABC News rating: Solid Republican. Republicans have won the state every presidential election for the past five decades — except for 2008, when Obama edged out John McCain by a single percentage point. Vice presidential pick Gov. Mike Pence is likely to give the GOP ticket a boost in his home state.
Trump in Harrington, Delaware, April 22, 2016: “I will win Florida. You know, we had a huge win in Florida. We won by more than 20 points. Florida was a tremendous win.”
ABC News rating: Tossup. Florida has been an important tossup state for the past several election cycles. Whoever wins Florida is likely to win the White House: Florida awarded its electoral votes to the eventual winner in nine of the past 10 election cycles.
Trump in New Orleans, March 4, 2016: “We’re going to win Pennsylvania. We’re going to win Virginia. We’re going to win Florida. We’re going to win Ohio ... Do I love Mississippi? Well, we’re going to probably win Mississippi anyway. But we love Mississippi, right?”
ABC News rating: Tossup. Virginia voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but voted Republican in every presidential election from 1968 to 2004. Demographic changes over the past decade make this state tilt toward Clinton, and an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll in July showed her with a 9 point lead.
Trump in Sacramento, California, June 1, 2016: “We are going to work California hard. We are going to work the state of Washington hard. We may even work Oregon hard because we’ve been really been treated up there great ... and I think we have a chance. I think we have a good chance.”
ABC News rating: Solid Democratic. A decade ago, Oregon was considered a swing state. Not anymore. Although George W. Bush came within a few percentage points of winning the state in 2000 and 2004, Obama won by double digits in 2008 and 2012 as the state has moved to the left.
Trump in Billings, Montana, April 26, 2016: “You know there was some talk about possibly moving the convention site from Cleveland to another city. I said, ‘No way you’re moving it’ ... We’re going to be in Cleveland. We’re going to win the state of Ohio, and Ohio is going to remember that I stuck up for Cleveland.”
ABC News rating: Tossup. Trump and Clinton are in a dead heat, according to the latest polling, each polling at 39 percent in a July NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. The state’s Republicans voted for their governor, John Kasich, in in their primary; he did not attend the convention in Cleveland and has withheld his endorsement from Trump. Since 1948, only one candidate, John Kennedy, has made it to the White House without winning the state.
Trump in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, May 19, 2016: “You’ve let go of thousands of people, and you’ve left, in this case, Indiana, in Chicago, and all of the different places ... We are going to win Illinois. We are going to win Indiana. We are going to win these states.”
ABC News rating: Solid Democratic. If Trump is able to pick up Illinois, it would be the first time in almost three decades a Republican has done so. With Democratic strongholds like Chicago delivering a large number of votes, the Democrat has won by double digits in the past six presidential elections.
Trump in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, Oct. 16, 2015: “Why do they always say that a Republican can’t win Massachusetts? I think we can. You know why? I think that the Democrats are so sick and tired of watching our country lose that they’re going to vote for the Republican if this is the one.”
ABC News rating: Solid Democratic. Massachusetts is another classic Democratic state, which hasn’t given its electoral votes to a Republican since 1984. Even Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, lost his home state by more than 20 percentage points in 2012.
Trump in Redding, California, June 3, 2016: “They say you can’t win. I think we can win. I think we can win. So we are going after California. We are going after the state of Washington. We are going after places that no other Republican goes after.”
ABC News rating: Solid Democratic. With Seattle anchoring this liberal Pacific Northwest state, a Republican has not won it in more than three decades. Obama took the state by roughly 15 percentage points in 2012, holding Romney to only 41 percent of the vote.