Trump Narrows The Gap

I am overdue for another update. The 2020 pages on Election Graphs are updated nearly every day as new polls come in. So you can always see the current status there for yourself in between these posts. But here comes another blog post…

Since the last update on July 24th, there have been new state polls in Pennsylvania (x8), Arizona (x7), Florida (x7), Michigan (x10), Ohio (x5), North Carolina (x9), South Carolina (x4), Minnesota (x5), Colorado (x3), Georgia (x5), Texas (x4), Virginia (x3), Wisconsin (x9), New Jersey, Massachusetts, Alaska, Iowa (x5), Maine All (x4), Montana (x2), Maine CD1 (x2), Maine CD2 (x2), Washington, New Hampshire (x3), California, Alabama, Kentucky (x4), Hawaii, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Kansas.

That's 31 out of the 56 entities that allocate electoral votes in only 16 days. That's more than half. Given that, I'm going to stop calling out the states with polls each update. In short, the answer from now until the election is always going to be "a lot of them", and "multiple polls for all the close states".

It has been 16 days, how much has changed?

First the summary table of changes:

Model Metric 24 Jul 9 Aug 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Biden +36
Biden +168
Biden +288
Trump +34
Biden +180
Biden +288
Trump +70
Biden +12
FLAT
Tipping Point Biden +6.5 Biden +4.2% Trump +2.3%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Biden +80
Biden +168
Biden +272
Biden +50
Biden +154
Biden +264
Trump +30
Trump +14
Trump +8
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
0.0%
0.0%
100.0%
0.1%
0.0%
99.9%
+0.1%
FLAT
-0.1%

So compared to 16 days ago, what is the TL;DR summary?

Biden still leads by a large margin and actually improves his margin in the "everybody wins every state where they lead the average" expected case metric, but overall Trump has managed to reduce Biden's margin in a number of states, thus increasing the likelihood he might steal those states back and strengthening his position. And if he managed to flip ALL the close states, he could once again pull off a narrow win.

Now some of the charts, starting with the categorization view:

We can see that while Biden improved his expected case, Trump's best case has improved significantly.

So which specific states changed?

First, it was Iowa that moved from barely Trump to barely Biden, improving Biden's margin in the case where each candidate wins every state where they lead the average. But Biden leads Iowa by only 0.2%. And it looks pretty likely that the lead is due to a single outlier poll that showed a 6% Biden lead. So far no other polls indicate a Biden lead of that magnitude. So it would not be surprising at all to see Iowa slip back to the Trump side with the next poll, or at least when that outlier slips out of the average.

But then there is Florida. Biden's substantial lead in Florida has slipped significantly. He still leads, but no longer by huge margins. In our average Biden now only leads Florida by 3.0%. If the election was today, we estimate that translates into a 73.8% chance that Biden would win the state. But we actually have 86 days until the election, and there is plenty of room for this to move further.

The substantial swings here over June and July indicate that as polarized as things tend to be these days, there is still a non-trivial group of voters who have shown they can change their minds over time. In this case, they moved away from Trump for a while, but seem to be coming home again, once again putting Florida within Trump's reach.

Much the same pattern has played out in Pennsylvania. Biden built a substantial lead in June, but over the course of July, it faded quite a bit. Biden still leads Trump by 4.2% in Pennsylvania, translating into an 84.9% chance of winning the state in our model if the election was today. But that is significantly less certain than the 98.8% we had at Biden's peak.

Given Florida's 29 electoral votes and Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, together these states can change the margin by a massive 98 electoral votes.

Having these two states close enough to be in play is critical to Trump. At the moment, he is still behind, but close enough that it is easy to imagine scenarios where Trump could come back from behind and win them.

Not all of the movement was bad for Biden.

In Wisconsin, at the time of the last update, Wisconsin had flipped from "Strong Biden" down to "Weak Biden". But that didn't last long, and Wisconsin is once again a strong enough Biden state that we don't include it in Trump's best case. (At an 8.6% lead, our odds estimate is a 99.1% chance of a Biden win if the election was today.)

New Hampshire also moves out of Trump's reach with Biden leading the average by 7.8%, which would be a 98.6% chance of a win if the election was today.

But Wisconsin and New Hampshire are only 14 electoral votes, compared to 49 electoral votes for Florida and Pennsylvania. So the net change is 35 electoral votes in reach for Trump that were not when we did the last blog post, meaning a 70 electoral vote increase in Trump's best case.

So, now to dash through the "weak" states that are in play that didn't switch broad categories this time around, in order by  the number of electoral votes:

When you mash all of these movements together into our probabilistic model that doesn't just say that since one candidate is ahead in a state they are going to win it, but instead simulates many possible election results recognizing that close states can go either way, you get these trends:

Roughly speaking, the darker the color, the more likely the final margin will be in that range.

Looking at the center median line, where half the simulated election results were better for Biden, and half were better for Trump, Biden's most recent peak was a 180 electoral vote margin on July 17th. Since then he has slipped down to a 154 electoral vote margin.

All of the other bands have moved toward Trump as well, each to a differing degree. The moves aren't as dramatic as the categorization view shows, but there has been a steady deterioration for Biden since that peak.

June and the first half of July were a constant stream of bad news for Trump, and his position in election polls reflected that. Since then things have slowly been moving back in his direction.

To be absolutely clear, Biden still has a huge advantage. But less so than he did a few weeks ago.

It is still too small to see directly on the chart, but Biden's chances of winning when we did our last update rounded to 100.0% (it was actually 99.9931% in our simulation), and now they round to 99.9% (it is actually 99.9265% in our current simulation).

So that is still substantial, even if it is less than it was.

But that is if the election was today.

How vulnerable is that lead?

Biden's tipping point lead peaked at 7.3%. It is down to 4.2%. That's a 3.1% decline in a little over a month. If that trend continued, in another month Biden would still have a lead, but it would be quite tenuous.

That is not a prediction. It seems more likely that if Biden's spike in June was just an aberration and things are returning to the mean, that the tipping point will settle out between a 2% and 4% Biden lead.

But that is the level of lead that might just be a systematic polling error. Or that could be erased by a major event in the last few days of the campaign, too late to be measured by the polls.

So how does this look compared to 2016?

<86 Days Out> 2016 2020
Expected Case Clinton by 164 Biden by 180
Tipping Point Clinton by 6.0% Biden by 4.2%

So Biden is ahead of Clinton at this same point in time in terms of expected margins if all the states fell where their polls indicated. But Clinton's lead was actually a bit more secure than Biden's is right now, and of course, it slipped away before the end.

If the election was today, Biden would almost certainly win. But his lead is somewhat precarious. If 2% or 3% of people change their minds from Biden to Trump in a few critical states, Trump takes the lead.

Now the spectrum of battleground states :

Here is what it looked like in our last update:

And here it is today:

Out of the close ("weak") states, Biden only has to hold Arizona and Pennsylvania. He can afford to lose all the rest and still win.

But we're once again in a position where with a sweep of all the close states, Trump could win.

Finally, the current map:

86.0 days until polls start to close on election night. Stay tuned!

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Biden Plateau?

It has been too long since my last update. Oops.

Given that, I'll start with a reminder that while I only do these blog posts occasionally, the 2020 pages on Election Graphs are updated nearly every day as new polls come in. So you can always see the current status there for yourself.

In any case, since the last update on July 1st, there have been new state polls in Arizona (x9), Florida (x7), Michigan (x7), North Carolina (x6), Pennsylvania (x7), Wisconsin (x4), Colorado, Montana (x4), Texas (x7), Maine, Alaska (x2), Alabama, Iowa (x2), Georgia (x4), Missouri, Nebraska CD2, Kentucky (x4), South Carolina, Ohio, and Minnesota.

Yeah. Like I said. Too long since the last update.

Last time around, Trump was collapsing. Over three weeks later, where are we now?

As usual, let's start with the summary table of changes, then get into the graphs:

Model Metric 1 Jul 24 Jul 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Biden +56
Biden +162
Biden +288
Biden +36
Biden +168
Biden +288
Trump +20
Biden +6
FLAT
Tipping Point Biden +7.3 Biden +6.5% Trump +0.8%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Biden +82
Biden +158
Biden +262
Biden +80
Biden +168
Biden +272
Trump +2
Biden +10
Biden +10
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
0.0%
0.0%
100.0%
0.0%
0.0%
100.0%
FLAT
FLAT
FLAT

So compared to 23 days ago, we've got a mixed bag. Some metrics move toward Trump, some move toward Biden.

If I had to characterize the whole thing at once, I'd say Biden has improved his "right now" position a bit, but it is slightly more precarious than it was, and movement has slowed. Things seem to have plateaued the last couple of weeks.

At least in the probabilistic view. The categorization view is more volatile.

For instance, this update would have looked significantly different a week ago in the categorization view. Things looked much better for Biden a week ago, but they have swung back since then.

You can see that clearly on the chart:

That giant dip in the expected cases is caused by Georgia, Texas, and Ohio all flipping from just barely Trump, to just barely Biden, but then Georgia and Texas flipping back again.

In the categorization view, the difference between "just barely Biden" and "just barely Trump" is massive, as the state immediately changes sides. But in reality, either way, you have a tossup situation.

The probabilistic view accounts for that, and we'll look at that view shortly.

But first, let's look first at all the states that moved in or out of our "Weak Trump" and "Weak Biden" categories since the last post.

In order from biggest to smallest:

Texas is, of course, a huge electoral vote prize. The hope of a blue Texas completely changing the political map is once again tantalizing Democrats as it seems like it could be in reach. Our polling average briefly dipped into the blue before reverting to the red side of the centerline.

The bottom line here at the moment is just that Texas is very much a battleground state. As of this update, in the Election Graphs averages, Texas is the closest state of them all, with Trump leading by only 0.3%.

Florida, on the other hand, is not a close state at the moment, even though it famously often has been. For a very brief moment in the last few weeks, Biden's lead in Florida fell below 5%. But then subsequent polls drove Biden to his biggest lead in Florida yet, with an 8.4% margin over Trump.

Ohio continues to be more sparsely polled than you would think it would be, so the average isn't as responsive to events. But with the latest poll, the average flips from the Trump side to the Biden side.

Either way, Ohio is a close state and very much in play.

Georgia is another super close state. Since the last blog post, Georgia has flipped from Biden to Trump, back to Biden, then back to Trump yet again as new polls came in.

Just looking at the states we have flagged as "super close" so far…  Texas, Ohio, and Georgia… tells you quite a lot about the race. If these three states are the close states, the Republican is in deep trouble.

After a lot of polls in June showing Biden with 10%+ leads in Michigan, more recent polls caused Biden to drop below a 5% lead in the average… for a little bit… before new polls showed Biden's lead increasing again.

Biden's lead is nowhere near as strong as it was in mid-June, but it is still a very strong lead.

Wisconsin exhibits a similar pattern. A big move toward Biden, which has subsequently receded, still leaving Biden with a lead, but a much less substantial one than he had.

In Wisconsin's case, at the moment, Biden's lead is still under 5%, which means we consider it to be a state that Trump could steal under the right conditions, so this movement is responsible for the 20 electoral vote improvement to Trump's best case margin.

Along with Maine, Nebraska is one of the two states that award some of their electoral votes by congressional district. Polls for the two congressional districts in Maine and the three in Nebraska tend to be rare. But we now have two for Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.

The five poll average still includes the 2008-2016 election results as a baseline as well as the two actual 2020 polls. But both of the new polls show a substantial Biden lead, which is enough to pull the district into "Weak Biden" territory for the moment. If future polls back up the first two, this may end up as a Strong Biden electoral vote before we are done.

In addition to the states above that changed categories, we have some intra-category movement with these close states:

There is a decent amount of range between the best polls for Biden and the best polls for Trump in North Carolina. The poll average itself has bounced around quite a bit too.

But, in the last year, aside from a short time in May, polling has consistently had North Carolina in the "Weak Biden" category, even when other states have been swinging dramatically in one direction or the other.

Arizona had a bit longer foray over to the Trump side from late January to early March, but since then, Biden has maintained a small but steady lead.

And finally, Iowa, which has been "Weak Trump" since December, but where Biden has been gaining on Trump since late April.

With all of these changes together, the probabilistic model produces a view that recognizes that "just barely Trump" and "just barely Biden" are both tossups, rather than immediately classifying a state on one side or the other. We run about a million simulations based on the current polling, and an analysis of the 2008-2016 polling average accuracy here on Election Graphs, and get this…

The big move toward Biden and back caused by Texas and Georgia is not evident here like it is in the categorization model.

Instead, in the median case, we see the rapid movement toward Biden in the first half of June, a slower movement toward Biden through about the July 4th holiday, and then things being stable since then. This is our plateau.

In addition, for the lines showing the top of our 2σ (95.45% chance) and 3σ (99.73% chance) probability bands, you can see Trump improving at the end of June, but losing most of that gain over the following few weeks. This represents Trump's temporary improvement in Weak Biden states, which then slipped away again.

In terms of Biden's chances of winning if the election was held today (which it is not!), the odds are still pegged at a number which rounds to 100%. But if you look at the unrounded number, it is 99.9931%, which is not quite as good as the 99.9977% in the last blog post.

The risk for Biden would not be in the odds if the election were held today. At the moment, Biden has a very strong lead, large enough that we wouldn't expect a different outcome due to systematic polling error or anything like that. No, the risk is that there are still 102 days until election results start coming in, and there is time for the situation to change.

Which brings us to the tipping point, which measures just how much things have to change to flip the winner.

Last time we noted the movement from Biden by 2.7% to Biden by 7.3% in less than two weeks. Since then, Trump improved in this metric to only losing to Biden by 4.8% in the tipping-point state but then slipped again, now losing by 6.5%.

The thing that this chart helps us remember is how fast things can change with the right events in the news. If Biden can gain 4.6% in two weeks, then given the right combination of events, he could lose 4.6% in a similar period. If that were to happen, he would only be ahead by 1.9% in the tipping point state… just barely better than the 1.6% lead Clinton had in the tipping point on Election Eve 2016, so clearly within the realm that things could go the other way.

But that isn't where things are today. Today Biden has a huge lead. The question is if he keeps it over the next 102 days.

As we have in the last couple of posts, let's make a quick comparison of where Biden is today and where Clinton was at the same point in 2016.

<102 Days Out> 2016 2020
Expected Case Clinton by 144 Biden by 168
Tipping Point Clinton by 2.8% Biden by 6.5%

Biden continues to be significantly stronger than Clinton was.

Now a quick look at the spectrum of states that are either actively in play, or could be if there is a significant movement toward one candidate or the other:

Here is what it looked like in our last update:

And here is how it looks today:

Fundamentally, while at the moment Biden can win without ANY of the close states, at the same time there are a LOT of "Weak Biden" states that are stealable by Trump with a relatively small move in the polls, so it wouldn't take a lot to change this picture dramatically.

Finally, the current map:

102.0 days until polls start to close on election night. Stay tuned!

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Trump Collapsing?

Since the last update on June 18th, there have been new state polls in Utah, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina (x5), Minnesota, Alabama, Michigan (x3), Wisconsin (x5), Texas (x2), Ohio, Pennsylvania (x3), Florida (x2), Arizona, Georgia (x2), Missouri, and New York.

In our last update, we noted that while national polls were moving rapidly against Trump, the story with state polls was more complicated.

Not this time. With very few exceptions, these polls have been bad for Trump. State polls have caught up with the national polls, and this time around we see a dramatic move away from Trump and toward Biden across metrics.

As usual, let's start with the summary table of changes, then get into the graphs:

Model Metric 18 Jun 1 Jul 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Trump +42
Biden +130
Biden +288
Biden +56
Biden +162
Biden +288
Biden +98
Biden +32
FLAT
Tipping Point Biden +4.8 Biden +7.3% Biden +2.5%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Biden +32
Biden +132
Biden +242
Biden +82
Biden +158
Biden +262
Biden +50
Biden +26
Biden +20
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
0.3%
0.1%
99.6%
0.0%
0.0%
100.0%
-0.3%
-0.1%
+0.4%

Not a single one of our national metrics moved toward Trump this time.

Let's start by looking at the states that moved in or out of the "Weak Biden" and "Weak Trump" categories that our categorization model thinks could go either way since the margin is less than 5%.

In order from biggest to smallest:

With a series of really strong polls, Trump seems to be collapsing in Florida at the moment. Now, it would be natural for there to be some reversion to the mean at some point, and maybe the poll showing Biden with a 10%+ lead is an outlier. But for the moment, Florida moves from "Weak Biden" to "Strong Biden", meaning the categorization view no longer sees Florida as being in reach for Trump if the election was today. (Spoiler, it isn't.)

Pennsylvania also moves from "Weak Biden" to "Strong Biden" as a wave of new polls showing him ahead wash the most recent poll showing Trump leading Pennsylvania out of the average.

Now, Florida and Pennsylvania moving out of Trump's reach (for now) is big news, but perhaps the even bigger news is Biden retaking the lead in Georgia. Now, this is just barely. He leads by 0.9% in our average at the moment, which means we give Biden about a 55% chance of winning the state.

Georgia is clearly a battleground state at the moment, which is significant in and of itself, no matter which candidate is slightly ahead. In a world where Trump was doing well, you would not expect him to have to be fighting for Georgia, let alone be losing it.

With these categorization changes, you get this chart for the range between the categorization view's best and worst cases for each candidate:

In terms of the central "expected case" line, we are at a 162 EV win for Biden, which is almost, but not quite back to the 166 EV win we had for him in early May.

But Trump's best case is not only a loss for the first time since last October, but it is also the worst it has ever been in the Biden vs. Trump matchups. At this moment, if Trump were to win EVERY close state, he would still lose to Biden by 56 electoral votes.

Of course, the categorization model is very coarse. Let's look now at the rest of the close states that had new polling since our last update and see how those change the probabilistic model.


Where are Wisconsin and Michigan? Aren't they key swing states? Well, maybe. But at the moment they are not CLOSE states. Biden leads Wisconsin by 7.1% and Michigan by 8.0%. That may not stay that way. In both states, Biden's lead is down a bit from its high. But at the moment, Biden has quite a strong lead in both.

When you mash all of the movements in all of the states with new polls together into our probabilistic model, you get this:

Trump peaked in the middle of April in our simulations, dropped quickly, then plateaued, increasing to a second peak right around the beginning of June before falling again. Then things started to flatten out again, but that most recent bit of the chart is still subject to change as new polls covering that time period come in.

In terms of the median case of our simulations, Biden is now winning by 158 EV, almost at his recent best of 160 EV. His all-time best was 184 EV back in October.

In terms of probability of winning our site now shows Biden at 100.0%. That is rounded though of course. Looking at the unrounded numbers, it is actually 99.9977% at the moment.

This is the time for the usual "if the election was held today" warning. If Biden's polls end up looking like this on election eve, he would almost certainly win. But we have almost 126 days to go. And things can change.

So let's look at the tipping point, which measures just how much things have to change in order to flip the winner.

The tipping point has moved dramatically toward Biden. Between June 9th and June 22nd, it moved from Biden by 2.7% to Biden by 7.3%. That's 4.6% in less than 2 weeks.

On the one hand, that is a dramatic collapse for Trump. But on the other, it shows just how quickly things can move. Something that can go down quickly can potentially go up quickly too.

So for the two metrics we had in 2016 as well as today, how does Biden stack up to Clinton at the same time period?

<126 Days Out> 2016 2020
Expected Case Clinton by 144 Biden by 162
Tipping Point Clinton by 3.2% Biden by 7.3%

So yes, Biden is doing better on both metrics than Clinton was at this same time in 2016.

From this point, Clinton would improve a bit. In August 2016 she got up to a 188 EV lead in the expected case and a 6.1% lead in the tipping point. This, of course, did not last all the way until the election. By the time we got to the election, Election Graphs had Clinton leading, but just barely.

Other analysts looking at the internals of various polls, both at the state and national level are saying that Biden's support is more solid than Clinton's was. That she had weaknesses that Biden does not.

Maybe, maybe not. In any case, he is doing better at this time in the race than she was. A 7.3% tipping point is a SUBSTANTIAL lead.

Another way to look at the change since the last update on June 18th is to look at how the center portion of the spectrum of states changed.

Here is what it looked like in our last update:

And here is how it looks today:

Things are getting bluer.

To close things out, the current map:

And that is where we are.

But it is only July. Time to watch what happens over the summer.

125.7 days until polls start to close.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Ups and Downs

Since the last update on June 2nd, there have been new state polls in Kansas, Arizona (x4), Florida (x4), Michigan (x6), North Carolina (x4), Pennsylvania (x2), Wisconsin (x3), Texas (x2), Ohio, California, Iowa (x3), Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Mississippi.

Now, there has been lots of reporting in the last couple of weeks about national polls moving strongly away from Trump and toward Biden.

The view here looking at state polls is a bit more complicated. Some states moved toward Trump while some moved toward Biden. And combining that into an Electoral College view, Trump strengthened a bit at the start, then Biden made up all of that ground and then some by the end. Overall Biden is a bit stronger now than at our last update.

Anyway, let's start with the summary table of changes, then get into the graphs:

Model Metric 2 Jun 18 Jun 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Trump +2
Biden +130
Biden +288
Trump +42
Biden +130
Biden +288
Trump +40
FLAT
FLAT
Tipping Point Biden +4.3 Biden +4.8% Biden +0.5%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Biden +22
Biden +122
Biden +234
Biden +32
Biden +132
Biden +242
Biden +10
Biden +10
Biden +8
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
0.5%
0.1%
99.4%
0.3%
0.1%
99.6%
-0.2%
FLAT
+0.2%

The most obvious change here is the improvement of Trump's best case in the categorization view by 40 EV.

For the categorization view, a state is considered to be "in play" if the margin is less than 5%. This change was driven by Biden's lead in the Pennsylvania poll average dropping below 5%.

You'll also notice that the "Expected Case" in the categorization view moved 30 EV toward Trump, then reverted to what it was before. This is due to the average in North Carolina moving from just barely Biden, to just barely Trump, and back again within the scope of a few days.

Those are the states that actually shifted categories since the last update. But let's look at the other close states that have new polling this time around too:

Trump is still leading Texas, but it has been moving toward Biden recently. A blue Texas would change the game completely. Biden isn't quite there. But it is close enough it should make the Trump camp nervous.

Biden has had a small lead in the Florida average all along, but it has been trending further in his direction lately. Another really strong poll and Florida might even move over the 5% threshold so we wouldn't even classify it as a close state. (Although it is just as likely that the TIPP poll showing Biden with a greater than 10% lead is an outlier and the average will soon revert to a small Biden lead.)

Ohio is surprisingly sparsely polled, but the average flipped from Biden to Trump in May and the one new poll in the last month didn't move the average at all.

Georgia is barely on the Trump side of the line, and trending toward Biden.

In Arizona Biden has moved from our "strong lead" to our "weak lead" category since May. He still leads, but Trump has been closing the gap.

Iowa is still a Trump state, but the average has been tightening there too.

If you count these up, you'll see five of the eight close states with new polls have been moving toward Biden, and three have been moving toward Trump.

When you mash all this together into our probabilistic model, you get this:

In the last couple of weeks, things moved toward Trump for a little bit, then started moving back toward Biden, and his median position is now 10 EV better than it was when we did our last update.

The switch from things improving for Trump to improving for Biden does seem to be just a few days after the death of George Floyd, just when the aftermath of that event was dominating the news.

In terms of the median case of our simulations, the last time Biden was doing better than he is today was on December 5th.

In terms of probability of winning though, Biden was better off much more recently, on May 19th.

The tipping point is also moving back toward Biden again:

Biden is back where he was in May, but you have to go back all the way to October to find a time he was doing better.

All of this looks very strong for Biden. But remember how fast the tipping point can shift. In 2016 on at least a couple of occasions, it moved 5% or 6% within just a few weeks. And so far in 2020, we have seen rapid swings of nearly 3%. The bigger the movement, the bigger the news event that has to happen to drive the change. But given the last few years, who can doubt the potential for big news events that can change a campaign overnight?

Over the last few days, there have been tons of commentators talking about Biden's national polling being much stronger than Clinton was during the 2016 campaign. Some are saying he is doing better than she EVER did on that metric. That is probably true. But we don't elect people by popular vote.

How does this look in our views?

<139 Days Out> 2016 2020
Expected Case Clinton by 144 Biden by 130
Tipping Point Clinton by 6.1% Biden by 4.8%

So yeah. Biden might well be doing better in terms of national popular vote polling than Clinton was at this stage. But Clinton was doing better when you factor in the state polls and the Electoral College.

Let's be very clear here. Biden is in a very strong position right now in terms of the Electoral College as well as the popular vote. Very strong.

But so was Clinton at the same point in the campaign. People were talking about landslides.

Then there was a bit of a roller coaster. Clinton was a lot weaker by the time we got to mid-September. Then she recovered and was strong again by mid-October. But then she collapsed again in the last few weeks. On election day, she was still favored, but it was clear Trump had a path to win and a Trump victory was very possible.

(That's looking at the Election Graphs analysis of course. Famously, lots of other sites didn't show things to be quite that close at the end. Election Graphs was one of only a handful that did.)

That kind of roller coaster may not happen this year. Biden may stay strong through the rest of the race. We shall see. But nobody should be getting overconfident at this stage.

OK, so to round it out, here is the spectrum of the "weak" states that are actively in play, plus the "strong" states that might be brought into play with some big improvements by one side or the other:

And of course the current map:

And that is where we are.

138.7 days until polls start to close.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Biden Clinches

Some other places that count delegates had him there a day or two earlier, but by our count, the Virgin Islands put Biden over the top with Biden getting all 7 delegates there in today's update to the Election Graphs delegate race charts.

Sorry New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, Delaware, and Guam…  your 780 delegates don't make any difference this year.

This seems like a good time to look at how the graph of "% of remaining delegates needed to win" ended up, and compare it to some of the previous cycles. So here goes:

The little loop in the graph there is from when New York gave all their delegates to Biden, but then there was a court battle and the delegates went back to TBD pending the New York primaries which now won't be until June 23rd.

Biden clinched with almost exactly 80% of the delegates determined.

Of the five contested races in both parties since 2008 when I started tracking these, three took longer than this (in terms of % of delegates, not calendar date) and two took less.

Looking at the charts, first the three that took longer to clinch:

Obama in 2008:

Trump in 2016:

Clinton in 2016:

Then the two that clinched faster:

Romney in 2012:

McCain in 2008:

And of course, lacking any competitive challengers, Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2020 both clinched at the 50% mark.

Our count of the totals on the day Biden clinched are as follows:

This will of course continue to change as those last 780 delegates get determined. And there may even still be some shifts in the 3199 already allocated as delegate selection plans wrap up before the convention.

As a simple example of this, when the initial count was over back in February, the delegate count in Iowa was:

  • Buttigieg 14
  • Sanders 12
  • Warren 8
  • Biden 6
  • Klobuchar 1

But when candidates dropped out and were no longer vying for delegates in the later parts of the delegate selection process, statewide delegates from the candidates who dropped out were reassigned to Biden. As of today, Iowa looks like this:

  • Biden 14
  • Sanders 12
  • Buttigieg 9
  • Warren 5
  • Klobuchar 1

So after all this, Biden wins Iowa after all.

And of course, since they can't make a difference to the outcome, the superdelegates will get to vote on the first ballot too. So any full delegate count coming from the convention (virtual or otherwise) will be a bit different than what we have here, which just counted pledged delegates.

As more updates come in, we'll add them as updates to the end of this post.

We declared things "almost done" on March 11th, and "over" on March 18th, but now we are really "done done" absent something catastrophic that causes Biden to leave the race prematurely.

So there we are.

71.0 days until the Democratic National Convention.

78.0 days until the Republican National Convention.

Update 2020-06-08 04:16 UTC: Results from Guam today: Biden 5, Sanders 2. Also an update from PA: One delegate moves from Sanders to Biden. New totals: Biden 1997, Sanders 1063, Others 146.

Update 2020-06-09 04:16 UTC: Update from Arkansas: Bloomberg loses two delegates to Biden. New totals: Biden 1999, Sanders 1063, Others 144.

Update 2020-06-10 04:01 UTC: Today we have the results from Georgia and West Virginia. It looks like Biden will get all 133 delegates. New totals: Biden 2132, Sanders 1063, Others 144.

Update 2020-06-11 15:51 UTC: Not a delegate update, but a quick correction. Above I said, "And of course, since they can't make a difference to the outcome, the superdelegates will get to vote on the first ballot too.". This is slightly premature. For the superdelegates to vote on the first ballot, Biden has to have enough pledged delegates to have a majority of ALL delegates, which would be 2378 pledged delegates out of 4753 total delegates (rather than 1991 pledged delegates out of 3979 pledged delegates). So he is still 246 delegates short of that threshold, although he will probably get there before the end. For more details on this, see this FHQ post.

Update 2020-06-24 07:08 UTC: Today we have initial results from Kentucky and New York. Biden 250, Sanders 57. There are 21 delegates TBD in Kentucky which may end up officially uncommitted. New totals: Biden 2382, Sanders 1120, Others 144.

Update 2020-06-25 05:28 UTC: Today we have updates from Kentucky and New York. Biden gains 4 delegates, Sanders loses 3. New totals: Biden 2386, Sanders 1117, Others 144.

Update 2020-06-26 16:21 UTC: Today we have another update from Kentucky. Biden gains 8 more delegates, Sanders gains 2. Looks like 10 delegates will be officially uncommitted.  New totals: Biden 2394, Sanders 1119, Others 144.

Update 2020-06-27 16:45 UTC: Today we have an update from New York. Biden loses one delegate to Sanders. New Totals: Biden 2393, Sanders 1120, Others 144, TBD 322.

Update 2020-06-29 03:46 UTC: Today an update from Kentucky. Biden gains one more delegate. New Totals: Biden 2394, Sanders 1120, Others 144, TBD 321.

Update 2020-07-01 02:35 UTC: An update from Kentucky today. Biden gains 9 delegates, Sanders loses 2. New totals: Biden 2403, Sanders 1118, Others 144, TBD 314.

Update 2020-07-07 05:45 UTC: An update from New York. Biden pulls one delegate from Sanders. New totals: Biden 2404, Sanders 1117, Others 144, TBD 314.

Update 2020-07-08 06:41 UTC: Initial results from New Jersey and Delaware have Biden getting all 147 delegates from the two states. New totals: Biden 2551, Sanders 1117, Others 144, TBD 167.

Update 2020-07-12 15:33 UTC: Initial results are in from Louisiana, and it looks like Biden will be getting all 54 delegates. New totals: Biden 2605, Sanders 1117, Others 144, TBD 113.

Update 2020-07-13 04:52 UTC: Initial results are in from Puerto Rico: Biden 44, Sanders 4, Bloomberg 3. New totals: Biden 2649, Sanders 1121, Others 147, TBD 62. Only Connecticut left. And 2 uncommitted delegates from Kentucky.

Update 2020-07-17 18:20 UTC: Logged an update from Rhode Island where a delegate moved from Sanders to Biden, and an update from Puerto Rico where a delegate moved from Biden to Sanders. No net change: Biden 2649, Sanders 1121, Others 147, TBD 62. Only Connecticut left. And 2 uncommitted delegates from Kentucky.

Update 2020-07-22 23:10 UTC: One delegate in Puerto Rico moves from Bloomberg to Biden. New totals: Biden 2650, Sanders 1121, Others 146, TBD 62.

Update 2020-08-03 04:17: Logged updates today from New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Net change, Biden lost 11 delegates, 3 went to Sanders, and 8 went to… Bloomberg. New totals: Biden 2639, Sanders 1124, Others 154, TBD 62. Only Connecticut left. And 2 uncommitted delegates from Kentucky.

Update 2020-08-06 23:30: Update from Puerto Rico today. 8 delegates move from Bloomberg to Biden. New totals: Biden 2647, Sanders, 1124, Others 146, TBD 62. Only Connecticut left. And 2 uncommitted delegates from Kentucky.

Update 2020-08-08 20:20: Today's delegate estimate update is from New Jersey. Two delegates shift from Biden to Sanders. New totals: Biden 2645, Sanders 1126, Others 146, TBD 62. Only Connecticut left. And 2 uncommitted delegates from Kentucky.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs 2020 Delegate Race page. Election Graphs tracks estimates of the convention delegate totals for both parties. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for the current interactive versions of that chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of new blog posts. For those interested in more granular updates of delegate updates or general election polling, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Small Improvements for Trump

Since the last update on May 9th, there have been new polls in California [x2], Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin [x3], Nebraska (CD2), Georgia [x3], New Jersey, North Carolina [x4], Florida [x4], Colorado, Arizona [x3], Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan [x4], Pennsylvania [x2], Washington [2], Minnesota, Maryland, Utah, New York, South Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri.

Despite all of this polling, things actually moved very little.

We'll start with the changes since last time on all of the metrics, then look at the graphs.

Model Metric 9 May 2 Jun 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
TIED
Biden +166
Biden +286
Trump +2
Biden +130
Biden +288
Trump +2
Trump +36
Biden +2
Tipping Point Biden +4.2 Biden +4.3% Biden +0.1%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Biden +36
Biden +130
Biden +240
Biden +22
Biden +122
Biden +234
Trump +14
Trump +8
Trump +6
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
0.2%
0.0%
99.8%
0.5%
0.1%
99.4%
+0.3%
+0.1%
-0.4%

The biggest change is in the "Expected Case" where Trump reduces his losing margin against Biden from 166 EV to 130 EV.

This is due to Ohio.

The polling average in Ohio moved from just barely Biden, to just barely Trump. Since the categorization model's Expected Case only cares who is in the lead, not by how much, this moves Ohio's 18 EV from one side to the other, for a net change in margin of 36 EV.

The probabilistic view, however, recognizes that both of these situations represent a close state that is very much in play. In addition, other close states move around a bit without actually changing category, but in ways that move the probabilistic results.

The net result is still Biden weakening a bit, just not quite as much as in the categorization view:

Aside from Ohio, Trump had nice movements in his direction in two close states:

This was countered a little bit by improvements for Biden in a couple of states:

But that wasn't enough to improve Biden's overall situation. On balance, although it has been small, the movement in the last few weeks has been toward Trump.

If the election was held today, Biden retains an overwhelming advantage.

But as usual, we point out that the race is dynamic. It would only take a 4.3% shift in the polls to make Trump the favorite, and that kind of change can happen in a matter of weeks. We have a long way to go.

Right now these are the battlegrounds:

And this is the map:

154.7 days until polls start to close on election night.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

The Crisis Bump is Over

Since the last update on April 22nd, there have been new state-level polls in Florida (x2), Michigan (x6), Pennsylvania (x6), Wisconsin (x3), New Jersey (x2), North Carolina (x5), New Mexico, Texas (x3), New York (x2), Ohio, Utah, Montana (x2), Kansas, Georgia (x2), New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado (x2), Nevada, Connecticut, and Massachusetts (x2).

Whew. That is a lot. I should probably start adapting my posting schedule to do these blog posts a bit more often, as we are now less than six months from the election, and polls are coming out more and more frequently. As a reminder though, you can always go to the main 2020 Electoral College page to see the up to moment version of all the data.

Let's start with the table summarizing the changes since the last update, and then we'll get to the graphs:

Model Metric 22 Apr 9 May 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Trump +72
Biden +126
Biden +286
TIED
Biden+166
Biden +286
Biden +72
Biden +40
Flat
Tipping Point Biden +2.0% Biden +4.2% Biden +2.2%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Trump +26
Biden +80
Biden +204
Biden +36
Biden +130
Biden +240
Biden +62
Biden +50
Biden +36
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
6.5%
0.5%
93.0%
0.2%
0.0%
99.8%
-6.3%
-0.5%
+6.8%

Looky there. Everything is moving toward Biden this time.

The current map looks like this:

That is a pretty nice map for Biden.

Now it is graph time.

Right around the time COVID-19 became big news at the end of March, there was a wave of good polls for Trump. I speculated that this might have been a "crisis bump". There is no good way to tell for sure that was the reason for the move, but from March 15th to April 17th Trump gained 48 electoral votes in his median margin in our Monte Carlo simulation using state poll averages to look at the electoral college.

Almost the moment I posted that last update on April 22nd though, the tide turned, with almost every new poll strengthening his position in the state averages. Biden pulled back the 48 electoral votes of margin, plus 4 more.

In terms of the median margin in our simulations, Biden is now back where he was in mid-December. Still not as strong as he looked last fall, but certainly an improvement over a few weeks ago.

The odds of Biden winning if the election was today are once again at 99.8%, so close to 100% it is hard to distinguish on a chart like this. This chart is actually rather boring when it is like this.

But this is the part in the post when I emphasize that the election is NOT held today, and things can change rather rapidly.

The two charts above did not exist on Election Graphs four years ago, so time to look at the ones that did:

This is the categorization view. The centerline is where every candidate wins every state where they lead in the poll average. The upper and lower bounds are if all the close states go in one direction or the other. On this measure, Biden currently wins by 166 electoral votes.

We have 179 days left until election night.

So let's get in the time machine and look at the last 179 days of the 2016 election…

179 days out, on this same metric, Clinton led by 156 electoral votes. Not quite as good as Biden is right now. But close. She maintained this lead until the end of August, then lost almost all of it in the first half of September, only to rally back in late September and early October, followed by a collapse in the last month before the election. She ended up losing by a 77 electoral vote margin. (It would only have been 74 if not for faithless electors.)

When I say things can change a lot during the course of the campaign, this is the kind of volatility we can expect. Things change and change rapidly. We should expect this.

The tipping point is the metric I point to as a way to measure how precarious the current situation is, regardless of the 99.8% chance of winning if the election was today.

Biden now leads by 4.2% in the tipping point metric. Much better than he was when we did our last update, but once again, let's compare to 2016:

179 days before the 2016 election, Clinton had a 6.4% lead in her tipping point state. On this metric, she was much stronger at this point than Biden's 4.2%.

The tipping point metric is much more volatile than the "expected case". Clinton goes from leading by 6.4% to only leading by 0.4%, then rallies back to lead by 6.0%, only to have it all collapse again in the last month. The actual tipping point in the election results was an 0.8% Trump win.

That final collapse didn't start until the second week of October.

Everything changed in the last month.

We have a long way to go.

178.9 days until polls start to close.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Just Biden vs. Trump Now

Since the last update on April 7th, there have been new state-level polls in Utah, Michigan, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Washington, and Mississippi.

Also, since the last update, Sanders dropped out. As I mentioned in that post, that is my trigger for all future updates to simply be about the presumptive nominees, Biden and Trump.

I will allow myself one final note about Sanders. There were a handful of polls on Sanders vs. Trump after the last post. They just continued to make things worse for Sanders. Unless something strange happens, there will be no more Sanders vs. Trump polls.

His final position in the Election Graphs categorization model "expected case" was a four electoral vote loss to Trump with a 1.1% tipping point margin.

The "median case" in the probabilistic model was a 269-269 tie. The odds in that model were a 50.0% chance of a Trump win, a 48.5% chance of a Sanders win, and a 1.6% chance of that tie.

So that's that for Sanders.

Now time to talk Biden vs. Trump.

Things have gotten worse for Biden too.

Let's start with a new table comparing where we were at the last blog post compared to today:

Model Metric 7 Apr 22 Apr 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Trump +94
Biden +126
Biden +286
Trump +72
Biden +126
Biden +286
Biden +22
Flat
Flat
Tipping Point Biden +2.8% Biden +2.0% Trump +0.8%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Trump +10
Biden +98
Biden +216
Trump +26
Biden +80
Biden +204
Trump +16
Trump +18
Trump +12
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
3.4%
0.3%
96.3%
6.5%
0.5%
93.0%
-3.3%
+0.2%
+3.1%

There are a lot of numbers there. When we were comparing candidates, we were only looking at four of these.

The additions here are:

  • The "best cases" in the categorization view, where we give all the states where the margin is less than 5% to one candidate or the other
  • The "2σ" limits containing 95.45% of the results in our probabilistic Monte Carlo simulation
  • The breakouts of the Trump win and tie odds as well as the Biden win odds

Including both the old metrics and the new ones, this time around all but one (Trump's best case in the categorization view) move toward Trump.

Time for some graphs.

This is the graph I look at the most. This shows the results of the probabilistic Monte Carlo simulations. The dark line is the median result, where half the time Biden does better, and half the time Trump does better. The darkest center band contains 1σ (68.27%) of the simulation outcomes. The next band contains 2σ (95.45%) of the outcomes, and the lightest band contains 3σ (99.73%) of the outcomes.

From mid-February to mid-March things were moving in Biden's direction for the first time in many months. But then that reversed and things started moving in Trump's direction again. This does seem to roughly coincide with when the COVID-19 pandemic really started to dominate public discussion. So perhaps this is a "crisis bump".

Whatever the cause, Trump is in his best position relative to Biden in over a year.

This move toward Trump in the last month is not as evident in the categorization view. Why?

Well, because most of the movement in the polls hasn't actually shifted the averages in states from Biden to Trump.

However, the margins in a lot of the "Weak Biden" states got slimmer. Biden still leads, but not by as much as he used to. This means the chances of Trump winning those states despite the Biden lead in the poll average increases. This is reflected in the probabilistic model, but not in the categorization model.

If the election was today, Biden still has a huge advantage. 93.0% chance of a win. Not anywhere near as good as he was last fall with 99.9%+ numbers of course, but still pretty respectable.

But…

As I've mentioned over and over again and will continue to mention, probably right up until the election, the odds are based on the state level polls today, which can and will change. And they can change quickly.

The tipping point tells us that overall the polls only need to shift by 2.0% to flip the winner from Biden to Trump. It is hard to express just how slim a 2.0% lead really is. Yes, if the polls were like this on election day, we'd say Biden had a 93.0% chance of winning. But 2.0% can slip away with one bad news cycle.

Even on the chart above, without having to refer back to 2016 or earlier cycles, you can see places where the tipping point moved by almost 2% in just a single day.

2.0% can literally evaporate overnight.

With that, here is the current map:

195.2 days until polls start to close on election night.

Update 2020-04-22 19:09 UTC: Of course a new Florida poll came out while I was finishing up this blog post. It was a good poll for Biden, and Florida is big and close, so it improved Biden's position a bit. Of course, that now belongs to the time period that will be covered by my next post in a week or two…

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Crisis Bump?

Since the last update on the general election on March 16th, there have been new polls in Arizona (x2), Ohio (x2), Florida (x3), Connecticut, Michigan (x5), Pennsylvania (x2), Wisconsin (x3), New York, California, and Georgia.

Most attention in the just over three weeks since that post has been on the coronavirus pandemic rather than electoral politics, so doing an update here sort of fell a bit on the to-do list. But since the back and forth with executive actions and court battles finished, and there actually is a primary in Wisconsin with in-person voting happening today, it is a good time for an update.

Before I start, some housekeeping. I am very tempted at this point to simply report on Biden vs. Trump. As discussed in the last update on the Democratic nomination, at this point, a Sanders comeback to win the nomination would require something catastrophic. Something of the magnitude of Biden having to drop out due to health reasons. There is no realistic path based only on Sanders doing an excellent job making his case. Biden would have to implode in some substantial way.

However, I've decided to continue to report here on the comparisons between Biden vs. Trump and Sanders vs. Trump as long as the following are all true:

  • It is still mathematically possible for both of them to win the nomination
  • Neither one has dropped out
  • There is new polling with both candidates

So we'll keep looking at Sanders vs. Trump too, at least for the moment.

With all of that said, the last three weeks have not been kind to the Democrats, but they have been especially bad to Sanders.

It looks like a lot of close states moved toward Trump. This is potentially a "crisis bump" where folks rally around the leader during a traumatic national incident. The pandemic certainly qualifies as that sort of event.

In Sander's case, there may also simply be movement because, with his losses in the Democratic primary, he is not perceived as being as strong as he was before. And he was weaker to begin with.

Let's take a look at our four main metrics and see how things look:

Dem 16 Mar 7 Apr 𝚫
Biden +166 +126 -40
Sanders +144 +26 -118

Starting with just the expected case, if everybody wins all the states where they lead in the Election Graphs average, we see that both Democrats have lost a lot of ground.

So, over the last three weeks, Biden went from being just a little ahead in Pennsylvania (20 EV), to being just a little bit behind. That's a 40 EV net loss in margin.

Sanders also lost his small lead in Pennsylvania. But in addition, he lost his leads in Florida (29 EV) and Wisconsin (10 EV). So that's an additional 78 electoral votes of margin lost for a total of 118 EV of margin lost.

Biden started with a bigger lead as well. So this view now has Biden leading Trump by 126 electoral votes, while Sanders's lead is now a very narrow 26 electoral votes. Still ahead, but suddenly a very close race.

Just from a handful of states slipping just a little bit.

How does this look in the more sophisticated probabilistic view that knows that being 1% ahead in a state is different than being 2% ahead in a state?

Dem 16 Mar 7 Apr 𝚫
Biden +116 +98 -18
Sanders +64 +10 -54

Because there are so many states that were just barely on the Democratic side of the line, the median cases in the probabilistic view are both narrower than the more naive view. This is because it would be very easy for those states to go the other direction.

The impact from the polls these last three weeks is similarly a bit smaller. But directionally the same. Weakening for both Democrats, with a bigger fall for Sanders.

And the median case for Sanders is now very close indeed. Still winning, but only by a very slim electoral vote margin.

Dem 16 Mar 7 Apr 𝚫
Biden 98.3% 96.2% -2.1%
Sanders 87.0% 56.1% -30.9%

In terms of the odds of winning, the impact is much more dramatic. Sanders moves from a position that wasn't quite as strong as Biden, but still very respectable, to being barely a better bet than a coin toss.

While Biden drops a bit as well, to his worst position in over a year, the change for Sanders is a very large drop in a very short time to his worst performance since 2020 polling began. It is a stunningly large drop.

Or is it?

Remember, everything presented here is "if the election is held today." It shows the odds based on the historical accuracy of the Election Graphs averages as they stand when the election happens. So, for instance, right now Biden leads Florida by 2.5%. That translates into a 69.8% chance of Biden winning the state…  if Biden's lead remains 2.5%.

These odds do not take into account the chances of the lead in the state changing over time. We provide a snapshot in time, not a projection into the future.

If there are enough close states, then small moves in those states can make a big difference quickly.

Dem 16 Mar 7 Apr 𝚫
Biden +2.8% +2.8% Flat
Sanders +1.4% +0.5% -0.9%

The tipping point is the metric we use to understand how big a change it would take to flip the winner.

Three weeks ago Sanders's tipping point was only 1.4%. So a very small shift in the critical states would be enough to put Trump in the lead nationally. The last three weeks provided more than half of that shift.

Sanders now teeters on the edge of losing his overall lead to Trump. Sanders winning against Trump now relies on an incredibly slim 0.5% lead in the poll average in Ohio. A tiny movement in one state would result in a Trump win.

Of course, it seems like maybe the 56.1% chance of winning reflects that. That leaves a 42.0% chance of a Trump win (and a 1.9% chance of a tie). But no, that only reflects the chance of a Trump win given that Sanders leads Ohio by 0.5% and his margins in all the other states. We don't try to estimate the chances of moves in the polls in one direction or the other.

So what about Biden's 96.2% chance of winning? How secure is that?

Not very. The tipping point is only 2.8%.

Looking at the specific states, it is not just one state that has to flip like the Sanders case. Instead, five states have to flip to the Trump side to change the winner. Which seems like a lot.

But the margins are really small. All of these states are super close. Biden leads, but barely. If the polls were like this on election day, Biden would very likely win. That's what the 96.2% represents.

But there is a long way to go between now and election day.

210.2 days until polls start to close.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for current interactive versions of the chart, along with additional details.

Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates. For those interested in individual poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as I add them. If you find the information in these posts informative or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.

Yeah. Done Here. Over.

Arizona, Florida, and Illinois add to the delegate totals as a result of primaries on March 17th. Although initially scheduled for the same day, Ohio's governor and health department delayed that state's election due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even without Ohio, there was a nice haul of 441 delegates for the evening.

Going into the evening, Biden needed at least 223 of those delegates (50.52%), to be on a winning pace. By contrast, Sanders needed 255 delegates (57.78%).

We had discussed after the March 10th states how this was an almost unreachable bar for Sanders. That winning at that level would require a seismic change in the state of the race.

No such massive realignment happened. Although exact delegate totals will continue to shift as counts become final, as of election night, the March 17th results look like:

  • Biden 294 (66.7%)
  • Sanders 147 (33.3%)

Biden significantly exceeded the marks he needed. Sanders came nowhere near where he would have had to have been.

Everybody else other than Biden and Sanders has now been mathematically eliminated.

Looking at the "% of Remaining Delegates Needed" chart, you can see that Biden's curve heads downward, while Sanders's is clearly on a dramatic upswing.

At this point, Sanders would need 64.19% of the remaining delegates to catch up and win.  Absent scenarios where Biden drops out for health reasons, or something just as catastrophic, there is no reasonable scenario where Sanders wins the remaining races by an average 64% to 36% margin.

We'll keep tracking things, just in case something extraordinary does happen. Because after all, given how 2020 is going, you never know.

But really, the Democratic race is over now. It was a stretch not to say that a week ago. But now, it is undeniably over.

Biden will be the Democratic nominee.

Oh. And look at this…

Although Weld did earn a single solitary delegate along the way (who may or may not make it to the convention floor), Trump clinched the Republican nomination with the March 17th results.

So we're looking at Biden vs. Trump for the general election.

As of the morning of March 18th, that race looks like this:

117.3 days until the Democratic National Convention.

159.3 days until the Republican National Convention.

230.5 days until polls start to close on Election Night 2020.

The real race is just beginning. Get ready.

Update 2020-03-19 00:51 UTC: Today Bloomberg gives up 2 California delegates to Biden. New totals: Biden 1215, Sanders 912, Others 171. Biden needs 46.16% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 64.19%.

Update 2020-03-20 02:39 UTC: Today Biden gives up 1 California delegate to Sanders. New totals: Biden 1214, Sanders 913, Others 171. Biden needs 46.22% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 64.13%.

Update 2020-03-23 00:19 UTC: Today Warren gives up 1 Utah delegate to Sanders. New Totals: Biden 1214, Sanders 914, Others 170. Biden needs 46.22% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 64.07%.

Update 2020-03-24 00:20 UTC: Today Warren and Bloomberg give up 2 delegates each in Utah. Of those Sanders gets 3 and Biden gets 1. New totals: Biden 1215, Sanders 917, Others 166. Biden needs 46.16% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 63.89%.

Update 2020-03-25 00:42 UTC: Today we have results from Democrats Abroad: Sanders 9, Biden 4. In addition some revisions to Maine, North Carolina, Utah, and Washington netting: Bloomberg +3, Biden +1, Sanders -1, Warren -3. New totals: Biden 1220, Sanders 925, Others 166. Biden needs 46.22% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 63.91%.

Update 2020-03-29 04:35 UTC: Updates today from California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Net change: Biden +3, Warren -1, Bloomberg -2. New totals: Biden 1223, Sanders 925, Others 163. Biden needs 46.04% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 63.91%.

Update 2020-03-30 09:18 UTC: Updates today from Virginia and Florida. Net Change: Biden +1, Warren +1, Sanders -2. New totals: Biden 1224, Sanders 923, Others 164. Biden needs 45.98% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 64.03%.

Update 2020-04-01 02:27 UTC: One delegate in Massachusetts moves from Warren to Sanders in today's update to the estimate. New totals: Biden 1224, Sanders 924, Others 163. Biden needs 45.98% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 63.97%.

Update 2020-04-02 00:20 UTC: In today's update to our estimates, one delegate in Virginia moves from Warren to Biden. New totals: Biden 1225, Sanders 924, Others 162. Biden needs 45.92% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 63.97%.

Update 2020-04-13 03:51 UTC: Today we added results from Alaska. Biden won 8 delegates, Sanders won 7. Also an update from Texas, with Sanders giving up 3 delegates, 2 to Biden, 1 to Bloomberg. New totals: Biden 1235, Sanders 928, Others 163. Biden needs 45.74% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 64.31%.

Update 2020-04-14 17:32 UTC: Today we added results from Wisconsin. Biden won 57 delegates, Sanders won 27. New totals: Biden 1292, Sanders 955, Others 163. Biden needs 44.55% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 66.03%. Sanders also officially dropped out since yesterday's update.

Update 2020-04-18 02:03 UTC: An update from Idaho today. Biden takes another delegate from Sanders. New totals: Biden 1293, Sanders 954, Others 163. Biden needs 44.49% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 66.09%.

Update 2020-04-20 16:08 UTC: Today we add the results from Wyoming. Biden won 10 delegates, Sanders won 4. New totals: Biden 1302, Sanders 958, Others 163. Biden needs 44.24% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 66.43%.

Update 2020-04-28 03:11 UTC: Today New York canceled their primary since all but one candidate has dropped out. They gave all 274 delegates to Biden. In addition, an update to the Arizona totals, moving one delegate from Biden to Sanders. New totals: Biden 1576, Sanders 959, Others 163. Biden needs 32.40% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 80.56%.

Update 2020-04-29 15:57 UTC: Adding in the results from Ohio: Biden 155, Sanders 21. In addition, one delegate moves from Warren to Sanders in California. New totals: Biden 1691, Sanders 981, Others 162. Biden needs 26.20% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 88.21%.

Update 2020-05-04 03:04 UTC: Today we get the results for Kansas: Biden 29, Sanders 10. New totals: Biden 1720, Sanders 991, Others 162. Biden needs 24.50% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 90.42%.

Update 2020-05-06 15:47 UTC: In today's update, a court ruled that NY's decision to cancel their primary and give all the delegates to Biden was invalid and a primary should happen after all. So Biden loses 274 delegates. New totals: Biden 1446, Sanders 991, Others 162. Biden needs 39.49% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 72.46%.

Update 2020-05-13 05:11 UTC: Today we have results for Nebraska. 29 delegates for Biden. New totals: Biden 1475, Sanders 991, Others 162. Biden needs 38.19% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 74.02%.

Update 2020-05-15 04:05 UTC: Today an update in Wisconsin moving one delegate from Biden to Sanders. New totals: Biden 1474, Sanders 992, Others 162. Biden needs 38.27% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 73.95%.

Update 2020-05-18 01:06 UTC: Today Massachusetts moves 8 delegates from Warren to Biden. New totals: Biden 1482, Sanders, 992, Others 154. Biden needs 37.68% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 73.95%.

Update 2020-05-20 16:20 UTC: Today we have results from Oregon: Biden 47, Sanders 14. New totals: Biden 1529, Sanders 1006, Others 154. Biden needs 35.81% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 76.36%.

Update 2020-05-21 02:44 UTC: Update from Oregon. One delegate moves from Biden to Sanders. New totals: Biden 1528, Sanders 1007, Others 154.  Biden needs 35.89% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 76.28%.

Update 2020-05-24 19:18 UTC: Today we have results from Hawaii: Biden 16, Sanders 8. New totals: Biden 1544, Sanders 1015, Others 154. Biden needs 35.31% of the remaining delegates to win. Sanders needs 77.09%.

Update 2020-06-03 19:08 UTC: Today we have updates from DC, IN, MD, MT, NM, PA, RI, and SD: Biden 424, Sanders 55. New totals: Biden 1968, Sanders 1070, Others 154. With that Sanders is mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination absent other candidates losing delegates. Biden still needs 2.92% of the remaining delegates to clinch though.

Update 2020-06-05 04:53 UTC: Updates from Indiana and New Mexico today. Net change, one delegate moves from Biden to Sanders. New totals: Biden 1967, Sanders 1071, Others 154. All other candidates have been mathematically eliminated, but Biden still needs 3.05% of the remaining delegates to clinch.

Update 2020-06-06 16:18 UTC: Updates from IA, IN, PA, and RI today. Net Change: Biden +17, Warren -3, Buttigieg -5, Sanders -9. New Totals: Biden 1984, Sanders 1062, Others 146. Some places already have Biden over the magic number, but in our count, he still needs 7 more delegates.

Update 2020-06-07 17:42 UTC: Some places had him there yesterday, but by our count, the Virgin Islands puts Biden over the top today as he gets all 7 delegates there. New totals: Biden 1991, Sanders 1062, Others 146.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs 2020 Delegate Race page. Election Graphs tracks estimates of the convention delegate totals for both parties. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image for the current interactive versions of that chart, along with additional details.

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