Where stands the latest presidential polling? Not exactly in the place you might expect, given the large number of commentators who consider the race over and Hillary Clinton about as good as elected.

Looking at the four-way pairings in the RealClearPolitics listing of recent polls, and taking just those for which interviewing was conducted over the last two weeks, since Aug. 7, Hillary Clinton is averaging 41 percent of the vote and Donald Trump 37 percent, with 9 percent for Gary Johnson and 3 percent for Jill Stein. These are weak showings for both major party nominees; their counterparts in polling at this point in the last four presidential cycles were splitting more than 90 percent of the vote, yet Trump and Clinton combine for just 78 percent. That's perhaps what might be expected with two nominees who get such high negative ratings from voters.

Are we seeing the same situation in the target states (or those which were targets in the last two or three elections)? Not exactly. A look at post-Aug. 8 target state polling shows Clinton running farther ahead of Trump than she is in post-Aug. 8 national polling. She's carrying every one of these target states except Iowa, where three recent polls show the race dead even, and in each of them she's running more than 4 points ahead of Trump. One other exception, if there were recent polling, might be Nevada, where Clinton led by 2 percent in a poll condicted Aug. 2-5.

The evidence is somewhat scanty, but it points to Clinton running better in target states than she is nationally. That's out of line with experience, in which target states taken together vote pretty much the same as the nation as a whole: In 2012 the top ten target states, which cast 29 percent of the nation's votes, voted 51-48 for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, very close to the 51-47 margin nationally and in non-target states.

Possible explanation: Clinton's campaign has been running significant amounts of TV advertising in most target states (though not Colorado or Virginia, where she has been polling well ahead) and Trump has not. Interesting question: If Trump starts running equivalent amounts of TV advertising, can he close the apparent gap between national and target state preferences? If not, it's hard to see how he can get to 270 electoral votes.

Overall conclusion: Trump is not quite as far down as many people think, and it's possible to imagine circumstances in which he might still win. But to do so, he must do better in the target states.