The 2016 electoral map looks very similar to 2012 -- but already a few big differences are forming

The 2016 Electoral College map is looking very similar to the map from 2012, but already, there are a few major changes becoming evident.

As of Monday, four states have flipped from 2012, when President Barack Obama faced off against Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Those states are Nevada, Iowa, and Ohio, from blue to red, and North Carolina from red to blue. In addition, a the second congressional district in Maine flipped from blue to red, providing an extra electoral vote.

If that map were to hold, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would top Republican nominee Donald Trump by a 312-to-226 total — a slightly tighter race compared to Obama’s 332-to-206 victory in 2012.

But it’s not so safe for Clinton just yet. In Colorado and Pennsylvania, Clinton is polling slightly below where Obama finished in 2012 — with Colorado amounting to a virtual tossup and Pennsylvania not too far behind. In North Carolina, Clinton’s lead is as slight as can be over Trump, following up Romney’s 2-point victory in 2012.

For Trump, he’s got a scraping advantage in Nevada while holding moderate leads in Iowa, Georgia, Arizona, and even Texas, the latter three of which are all Republican strongholds.

The best piece of news for Trump is his semi-substantial lead in Ohio. That state has voted for the winner of every presidential election since 1964, with the last time the state voted against the national winner being when it went in favour of then-Vice President Richard Nixon in 1960 instead of former President John F. Kennedy.

When looking at the overall picture, Sam Wang, the Princeton University professor who runs the university’s election consortium, told Business Insider that the election is looking very similar to the one the preceded it.

A top election forecaster, Wang said Trump’s and Romney’s support is “real similar” with a correlation coefficient slightly below 1.0.

“So, there’s some interesting phenomenon under the surface with demographics that have split differently, like non-college educated whites going more for Trump than usual, [and] college-educated people, professionals, going for Hillary Clinton more than usual,” he said. “Overall, the correlation is quite strong.”

“I would say Donald Trump is looking a lot like Mitt Romney-lite,” he said. “Where maybe some Republicans are peeled off because they don’t care for what he is or who he is. But it’s pretty similar.”

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