It’s not magic, it’s math. Here’s how CNN makes election projections

Agiesta: It’s difficult to narrow it down to one state, but there are generally two types of states that election analysts are looking to this year, and one state within each type that is most critical for determining the president. One set are fast-growing, traditionally Republican, Sun Belt states where Democrats have been gaining ground as the makeup of the population has changed. Arizona, North Carolina and Florida are emblematic of those trends, and within those three, Florida is most critical to the electoral fortunes of either presidential candidate. The other set are Northern states that have been Democratic in recent presidential elections but broke for Trump in 2016. These states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — have sizable populations of White voters without college degrees and economies that have had to change as the economy in America has shifted. In that group, Pennsylvania is the powerhouse in electoral votes.

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