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America decided late to elect Donald Trump. Does it represent a mandate?

Supporters of US President-elect Donald Trump hold a street-side rally in front of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, on November 11, 2016. / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)

The Washington Post recently broke down some of the polling numbers from the 2016 election cycle and came away with a very interesting fact concerning the election of Donald Trump: America waited until the last minute to vote for him over Hillary Clinton:

In Florida, 11 percent said they decided in the final week. In Pennsylvania, it was 15 percent. And in Michigan and Wisconsin — states where Trump made a late push — fully 20 percent of voters said they arrived at their choice in the last seven days.

The Post asserts that, once adjustments are made to account for these late deciders, the race between Trump and Clinton was closer than previously assumed, and the polls were more accurate than they first appeared:

In each and every one of those states, those swings, if accurate, would account for Trump's victory. According to the most up-to-date results, Trump won Wisconsin by 0.9 points, Pennsylvania by 1.1 points and Florida by 1.2 points, and he's leading in Michigan by 0.2 points...

...Without those four states, he loses to Clinton by almost the exact same margin, 307-231. Even if he just lost Florida and any of the other three states, he would have lost. If he won Florida but lost the other three, he would have lost. We're only talking a shift of one percentage point or a little more. It was that close.

The question then becomes, if, as the Post suggests, "an electorate that truly appeared poised to elect Clinton decided to go for Trump at the 11th hour instead," does Donald Trump have a mandate from the American people?

National Review says yes -- depending on what he tries to accomplish given a true legislative mandate means his opposing party would feel compelled to help him:

House Republicans have a commanding majority, so if Trump tries to push policies most Republicans agree with, he will succeed in the House without needing to expend much political capital. Senate Republicans have 52 votes, plus Vice President Pence in the case of ties, so they too can win floor votes on anything that attracts Republican support, and on tax and budget bills subject to 51-vote reconciliation rules. But the real action in the Senate always revolves around the additional eight votes needed to get cloture on legislation and judges. For those votes, Trump may need to dip into the well of eleven Democratic Senators from states he carried in 2016, ten of whom are up for reelection in 2018.

So the question of whether Trump has a mandate may be answered the first time he meets resistance from, or is granted assistance by, the Democratic minority in Congress.

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