Not only do individual head to head Trump Vs Clinton polls not matter but Trump Vs Clinton registered voters polls matter even less.
Not only that but they are silly and biased by "house effect' e.g. 9/20 McClatchy Marist (pro-Clinton) Clinton +6. Rasmussen (pro-Trump) Trump +5 both can't be right of course.
That said, nationwide "likely voters" polls do have a place in the aggregate it they, through the graph trendlines, show a significant movement to either candidate or, if the state polls are close, a small but consistent movement to either.
Of course in the end the popular vote does not matter, ask Al Gore for instance. What counts is who gets to 270 Electoral College votes, or in Trump's case 269. As set out below the current state polls in the key states are trending to Trump, very much so in fact.
Also a fact via latest polls is thatTrump is one state short, or worse, potentially one Electoral College vote short as set out below. There is time still for the Trump trend to deliver the state he needs-it's all in play
#NEW @QuinnipiacPoll GEORGIA Trump 47 +7 Clinton 40 IOWA Trump 44, +7 Clinton 37 COLORADO Clinton 44, +2 Trump 42 https://www.qu.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/2016-presidential-swing-state-polls/release-detail?ReleaseID=2381 …
Nevada Trump +3 and +3 Arizona Trump +5 North Carolina +5 +2 Ohio +5 Wisconsin Trump -3
Presuming Trump wins Florida the facts are clear he needs either Colorado or Wisconsin. N.H seems out of reach at present and winning Maine would get him to 268-one vote short. Trump is -3 in Wisconsin a state where GOP won the governorship against the odds three times.
A September poll of Colorado has Trump +4 with others having Clinton leading with her aggregate lead only 2.5 points so more polls are needed before a judgement can be made on the state.
The significance of this map is Hillary has fallen below 270. If she won NH or Co Or NV she still would lose
Trump is leading or tied in all the "yellow" states (+Maine CD2) if that holds/moves slightly in Nov he wins comfortably
UPDATE 9/17; Nate Silver's (FivethirtyEight) new map confirms my premise. Trump needs Colorado or Nevada/New Hampshire to win the electoral College
9/15 with new Emerson poll of Colorado showing a Trump lead the Electoral College map now shows Trump would be elected president. This based on his having retained the"Romney states" of 2012 and the states won by President Obama which now have Trump with poll leads as detailed below.
Trump leads in the AGGREGATE of polls in;
Ohio/Georgia/Iowa/ Arizona/Maine CD2./Florida/ North Carolina/Nevada
Needs aggregate lead in Colorado/Wisconsin
Or New Hampshire
Click on each state for a link to the current reputable poll showing Trump in the lead.
Florida and HERE and HERE and HERE
North Carolina and Here and HERE and HERE
Ohio 5 polls HERE
Wisconsin and HERE
Iowa and HERE
Arizona and HERE and HERE
Nevada HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE
UPDATE 9/13 Bloomberg Selzer (The best poll 538.com)
USC/LATimes national poll Trump +5 after "deplorables/9/11 health"
Current Electoral College map based on state polling detailed in links above
Wisconsin/Michigan Trump wins. If Trump wins none of those and gains 3 of Maine's 4 votes he loses by 1 Electoral vote!
Donald Trump leads in current recent polls in battleground states which would, along with the safe Republican states, for the first time give him a majority (270+) in the Electoral College.
Undoubtedly the polling will change in these states over the course of the balance of the campaign, sometimes to Trump's benefit and sometimes to his detriment. Further the ultimate polling determinant will be if he holds leads in the aggregate of polling in the key states.
But for now it is significant, surely, that after a period of substantial polling decline Trump is less than 2 points behind Clinton in the nationwide polling aggregate and, for the first time, a path to the presidency via the Electoral College has become viable through state polls.
Further, state polls lag the head to head polls and on that basis there is room for Trump to make further significant state poll gains.
If Trump is the winner in these key states on election day he will be the next president regardless of the popular vote outcome.
Trump can afford to lose Maine's CD 2 and either Iowa or Nevada and still become president by winning Wisconsin as a 269/269 tie would be decided in the Republican dominated House. See explanation HERE
In this current round of state/Electoral College polling Wisconsin is the key to victory given that Florida/NC/Ohio are won. In the latest Marist poll Trump is 2 points behind Clinton in and if that were won he could afford to lose Wisconsin.
Trump has gone from 11 points behind on August 28th to just 2 having risen 5 points as Hillary dropped 5. Johnson and to a lesser degree Stein at 18 points (up from 16) may play the crucial "Nader" role as per 2000 when Bush won the state and the presidency.