227 Days Out: Now With Presumptive Nominees

It has been about 66 days since my last post about the general election polls.

That was right before the Republican Iowa Caucus kicked off the delegate chasing season.

Earlier this month both Trump and Biden clinched their nominations.

So now is a good time to start getting back to looking at the general election.

The one sentence TLDR:

  • In order to win, Biden has got to fix his issues in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, then pull in at least one more place, but there is still plenty of time to do that.

The slightly longer TLDR:

  • Looking at the state by state polls, Trump is still doing very well, and Biden is not.
  • Ignoring the ups and downs in between, overall state by state polls have continued to move toward Trump over the past two months. It is possible Trump is near his ceiling, but there has not been a sustained movement back toward Biden yet.
  • No states crossed the center line over the last two months though, so the electoral college picture still looks pretty similar to how it did last time.
  • Trump is still polling FAR better than he did at the comparable time in either 2016 or 2020.
  • This all comes down to the fact Trump is leading in the poll averages for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. To win, Biden needs to win all three of these states, plus at least one more electoral vote from somewhere else, or get surprise wins elsewhere to make up for losing one of those.
  • The leads in all three of these states are small enough (under 5%), and the number of undecideds high enough, that this situation could change very quickly as people start paying attention.
  • My "probabilistic views" have Trump at between 96.6% to 99.8% to win depending on how correlated the states are, but it is critical to remember this is conditional on:
    • "Polls don't change at all between now and November" (and we all know they will change a lot), and
    • "The difference between final EG averages and actual election results is similar in 2024 to what we saw from 2008-2020" (which basically means the averages tend to UNDERESTIMATE the Republican by 1.3% percent in the close states, but there are at least some indications polling may be underestimating the Democrat this time).

In other words, and I added a bunch of disclaimers on the site about this, everything here represents a snapshot of NOW. Interpreting the data on this site as a true prediction of November would be a mistake. Things don't become truly predictive until VERY close to the election. There can be large movements in the scale of weeks.

Instead, the right way to think about the information here is as a gauge of how much work candidates have to do, and where they have to do that work.

Right now that translates into "In order to win, Biden has got to fix his issues in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, then pull in at least one more place."

I do have some ideas but how to model a probability that actually takes into account how the averages may evolve in the time remaining before the election, but I honestly doubt I will have time to execute on that for the 2024 cycle. Maybe for 2028.

OK, now all the specific charts and graphs for those who want to dig in. You should of course also feel free to just explore all the data on the site yourself.

I'm going to restructure how I do these update posts a little bit. As we get closer to the election, I'm going to need to put them out more often, which means I need to make them easier for me to do. Which means more "here is the snapshot from the site" with a little less narrative.

This is the overall summary of all the main stats. Keep in mind all the disclaimers I gave at the top of this post. All three views show Trump heavily favored based on current polling, with a Biden win just barely in the range of possibility. It would be a major upset, and representative of huge polling errors if it looked like this in November and Biden won.

But as I said, and will emphasize once again, we have a long way until the election yet, and things can change quickly.

That's a lot of red. Of course land area doesn't correspond to either population or number of electoral votes. (And Alaska doesn't represent its true area anyway.) But this still gives you an at a glance view. There are only a small number of states with light pastels indicating a really close race at the moment. As usual, the battle will only be in a handful of states.

Looking at the numbers for the subset of the states that are even remotely in contention (margin less than 10%), including how they have changed since last time:

As of January 15th:

As of March 23rd:

Net movement toward Trump:

  • Maine-CD2 (1 EV): Trump by 2.4% -> Trump by 8.6% (Trump+6.2%)
  • Wisconsin (10 EV): Trump by 0.0% -> Trump by 3.0% (Trump+3.0%)
  • Maine-All (2 EV): Biden by 7.8% -> Biden by 5.7% (Trump+2.1%)
  • Pennsylvania (19 EV): Trump by 0.6% -> Trump by 2.6% (Trump+2.0%)
  • Texas (40 EV): Trump by 5.4% -> Trump by 7.3% (Trump+1.9%)
  • Ohio (17 EV): Trump by 9.2% -> Trump by 10.8% (Trump+1.6%)
  • Nevada (6 EV): Trump by 3.8% -> Trump by 5.2% (Trump+1.4%)
  • Colorado (10 EV): Biden by 7.7% -> Biden by 6.6% (Trump+1.1%)
  • Iowa (6 EV): Biden by 10.0% -> Biden by 11.1% (Trump+1.1%)
  • North Carolina (16 EV): Trump by 6.2% -> Trump by 7.2% (Trump+1.0%)
  • Michigan (15 EV): Trump by 4.0% -> Trump by 4.5% (Trump+0.5%)
  • Minnesota (10 EV): Biden by 4.3% -> Biden by 3.9% (Trump+0.4%)
  • New Hampshire (4 EV): Biden by 8.0% -> Biden by 7.6% (Trump+0.4%)

No net movement:

  • New Mexico (5 EV): Biden by 9.3%
  • Nebraska-CD2 (1 EV): Trump by 4.7%
  • Florida (30 EV): Trump by 8.7%

Net movement toward Biden:

  • Virginia (13 EV): Biden by 4.2% -> Biden by 4.5% (Biden+0.3%)
  • Arizona (11 EV): Trump by 5.8% -> Trump by 5.0% (Biden+0.8%)
  • Georgia (16 EV): Trump by 6.7% -> Trump by 5.3% (Biden+1.4%)
  • Alaska (3 EV): Trump by 10.8% -> Trump by 9.4% (Biden+1.4%)

No states crossed the center line at all, so the electoral college picture is very similar to what it was two months ago, but Trump has gotten stronger in states he already was ahead in, and Biden has gotten weaker in states where he was ahead.

There are four exceptions listed above, so there are a few places where Biden has improved, but everywhere else, including the key battleground states, Trump has improved.

Sticking to the categorization view for now, so just taking the poll averages at face value and seeing who leads where, and counting any state where the margin is less than 5% as "in play" we see the chart above.

Basically, the trend from October to December was more and more states moving to a Trump lead margin of more than 5%, putting those states out of reach for Biden as far as this view is concerned, along with a few states where Biden had been ahead by more than 5% dropping to a smaller Biden lead, putting them in reach for Trump.

The range between the Biden best case and the Trump best case narrowed from 250 EV down to 150 EV. Just a lot fewer electoral votes in play, while the "expected" case moved from Biden by 14 to Trump by 88 showing that most of this was movement away from Biden.

Those trends were all about the end of 2023 though.

So far in 2024, there has been limited movement between the categories. A little jittering here and there as various states have crossed category boundaries (often temporarily) but no big lasting directional moves. Most of the changes we looked at earlier on a state by state basis stayed within the broad categories. Thus Trump is stronger when you look at individual states, but the overall electoral college picture hasn't changed too much.

The other way of looking at this, before bringing in the probabilistic models, is what I call the "tipping point". This is the margin in the state that puts the winning candidate over the edge of you order the states by margin. (Or the average of the margins in the two states in the middle if the states are ordered in such a way that there could be a 269-269 tie.)

Basically, this is like looking at a popular vote margin, but adjusted for the structure of the electoral college. In this view you can also see the Biden collapse starting in October, but the time since the new year shows a bit more back and forth, with a bit of improvement for Biden in January, followed by a trend back toward Trump again in February. Then just some jiggling around in March, with no clear trend.

The tipping point shows us that at the moment Biden needs almost a 5% swing to take the lead again in the categorization view. That is a lot, but not out of the question, especially since polls are still showing significantly more than that 5% in all the close states still answering with 3P candidates or "undecided" when asked about the general election.

Now that both candidates have clinched their nominations, the closer we get to November, the smaller that "neither" category should get. Both 3P and "undecided" tend to collapse as elections approach. And how those people end up splitting between, Trump, Biden, sticking with their 3P, or just not voting will probably end up being the deciding factor in the election, more so than Biden or Trump supporters actually changing their minds and flipping to the other side.

These two are the same as the previous two charts, but with the added context of 2016 and 2020.

For Biden supporters, these should be the scariest charts on my site. They show just how much better Trump is doing in polling so far this cycle than he did in either 2016 or 2020.

He was always behind in the polling in both those cycles. He won in 2016. He came close in 2020. The fact that he has been outperforming both of those years consistently, and has been straight up ahead most of the time should be very concerning.

For all the reasons I gave at the beginning of the post, there are lots of reasons to think the situation might be very volatile, and that Trump may be near his ceiling. But the Biden folks would surely feel a lot better if the polling started looking more like 2020, or ideally better than 2020 for them. The fact that they instead look considerably worse than 2016 has to be worrying.

You either have a real situation where Biden is behind and has to make up a lot of ground, or polls are massively underestimating the Democrat this time around, unlike the last two cycles, where they underestimated the Republican.

These views show the range of possibilities for the electoral college margin in the two probabilistic models. These look at the odds in each state, based on assuming the distribution of the difference between the final election graphs average and the actual election results looks similar to the aggregate deltas from 2008 to 2020, then I do automated Monte Carlo simulations to see what the overall general election looks like based on all those state results.

The "Independent States" one assumes no relation in how far off the actuals are from the averages in one state compared to the other. The "Uniform Swing" one assumes that that delta will be the same in every state. Both of these are extremes. The "truth" is somewhere in between.

The darker the band, the more likely a result in that range. You can easily see that right now all the dark colors are in the "Trump wins" part of both graphs, with only lighter colors stretching over to the "Biden wins" part of the graphs.

These two graphs translate the green margin bands into straight up "chance of winning".

I'll say again, because this is very important, this is:

  • Assuming polls look the same on Election Day that they do right now. (Alternately formulated as "if the election was today".)
  • Assuming final poll averages in the close states differ from the actual elections results in a way similar to the aggregate errors in 2008 to 2020. (Alternately formulated as "polls underestimate the Republican again".)

Both of those are big assumptions.

So you shouldn't really read this as "Trump has a 96.6% to 99.8% chance of winning."

Instead read it as "Trump is ahead in all the critical states right now, Biden has a lot of work to do if he is going to catch up and win."

Of course, it might not be Biden doing work, it could also be Trump doing things that hurt himself. You never know. But things have to happen to move things in the Biden direction. If things stay how they are, Trump is heavily favored.

And there we are. That's it for today. Hopefully I don't let it go another 66 days before posting a summary. But I make no promises. I have a lot of things going on and sometimes it is hard to make time to do these posts.

But the site itself is updated pretty promptly whenever new polls come out. Almost always within 24 hours, sometimes a lot less. Right now there are almost always multiple new state level polls every week. By the time we get to September, there will be multiple polls almost every single day. The last three weeks before the election, I'll probably take vacation days off of my day job just to keep up with the deluge of new polls every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

So please bookmark and explore the site itself regularly, and also follow ElectionGraphs on Mastodon for daily summaries and posts whenever new polls come out.

227.1 days until polls start to close

Hold on tight.

Delegates: BOTH Trump and Biden Clinch their Nominations

Welp, I expected Trump to clinch tonight, but that Biden would have to wait a week.

But Tuesday morning Green Papers updated their site to note that both Delaware and Florida had canceled their Democratic primaries and given all their delegates to Biden.

That was enough to put Biden close enough to clinch tonight too.

Since my update Sunday for the Republicans and my update Thursday for the Democrats, there have been results in a bunch of states, and some minor adjustments in others. There are still more results pending for tonight. Democrats Abroad, and the Republican caucus in Hawaii.

But I'm not going to wait for them. Here are the net delegate changes since my Sunday post:

  • Biden +484 delegates
  • Trump +137 delegates
  • Haley +3 delegates

And with that, we have presumptive nominees in both parties. The only way this changes is if one or both candidates drop out or become incapacitated or whatever before the conventions.

If that happens, I'll be back with more delegate blog posts. Otherwise, I'll continue to update the delegate totals on the website until the end of the primary season, but won't be posting anything here.

When you effectively have two incumbents, turns out the delegate races are pretty boring. Usually you have at something interesting to follow in at least one of the two parties.

Anyway, here are the important graphs and charts, one last time.

Democrats:

Republicans:

And that's it.

I am way overdue for a general election polling update. I'll get to it as soon as I can.

In the meantime, here are the countdowns until the conventions, one more time:

124.8 days until the Republican National Convention

159.8 days until the Democratic National Convention

 

Republican Delegates after American Samoa plus Cleanup

OK. American Samoa had a Republican caucus.

There were 110 votes total.

Trump got all of them.

So 9 more delegates for Trump.

Also, just some clean up on delegate totals as Super Tuesday delegate estimates continued to jiggle around a little.

The net changes from those adjustments compared to my last update were:

Trump lost 3 delegates. (Trump lost 9 in Texas that went back to TBD, gained 3 in Virginia, ย and gained 3 in Minnesota.)

Haley lost 11 delegates. (Haley picked up 1 additional delegate in Minnesota, but then lost all 12 Minnesota delegates she had earned, because in Minnesota the rules say that once candidates drop out their delegates immediately become unbound.)

OK, so here are the important charts and graphs. As usual, click through for more.

Next up on Tuesday, both parties have Georgia, Mississippi, and Washington. The Republicans also have Hawaii. The Democrats also have Democrats Abroad and the Northern Marianas.

Unless something massively unexpected happens, Trump will go over the top and clinch the nomination once those results are in.

Biden will have to wait until a week later since the Democratic schedule takes longer to get to the 50% of delegates mark.

127.2 days until the Republican National Convention

162.2 days until the Democratic National Convention

Democratic Delegates with Hawaii, plus Super Tuesday Cleanup

Welp, first off, Hawaii had a Democratic caucus yesterday.

There may still be some adjustments, but for the moment it looks like 15 more delegates for Biden, and 7 uncommitted that we keep as TBD.

Second, Utah had a Republican caucus on Super Tuesday, but The Green Papers didn't have results until after I did my Super Tuesday summary post.

But we have those results now, and Trump got all 40 delegates from Utah.

So with those updates in, lets look at where everything is right now.

Democrats first:

And now the Republicans:

And that is it for now.

Next up, American Samoa for the Republicans on Friday.

Then a bunch of states on the 12th, and Trump should clinch his nomination.

Biden will have to wait a little longer, until the 19th.

130.1 days until the Republican National Convention

165.1 days until the Democratic National Convention

Delegates after Super Tuesday

Well that was exciting.

Big huge batch of delegates for both parties.

Lets talk Democrats first.

1406 delegates got allocated on the Democratic side, of which 99.8% went to Biden.

There were also 14 more "Uncommitted" delegates in Minnesota, adding to the 2 in Michigan that were already there. But as I mentioned then, these delegates are just free agents who will eventually still vote for someone (probably Biden), so they just count as TBD for us.

But there is that 0.2%. That would be 3 delegates from American Samoa that ended up going to Jason Palmer. Only 91 people voted in the Democratic territorial caucus in American Samoa. But 51 of them voted for Palmer compared to 40 for Biden. So they split the 6 delegates from American Samoa evenly, 3 delegates each.

This is the first person other than Biden to get delegates on the Democratic side this cycle. So we have a race! (Not really.)

Anyway, here are the key charts and graphs for the Democrats. We'll talk Republicans on the other side.

OK, Republicans.

819 delegates were allocated on the Republican side, of which 92.8% were for Trump.

There were also 4 "unbound" delegates in Minnesota. Like the Uncommitted delegates on the Democratic side, these end up essentially as free agents, so are just TBD here. They will probably vote for Trump.

Unlike the Democratic side, these 4 aren't the result of some campaign to have people vote a particular way, but appear to just be a result of Minnesota's particular rules on how to allocate delegates based on the vote results having some delegates "left over", and this is what they do with those.

Fun.

Haley did pick up 7.2% of the delegates from Super Tuesday though, including racking up her second outright win in Vermont, where she got all 17 delegates.

Of course that is nowhere near enough to change the trajectory of the race.

So here are the key charts and graphs:

And that is that for Super Tuesday.

Both Biden and Trump are very close to mathematically wrapping things up, but not quite. We'll have to wait for the 12th on the Republican side and the 19th on the Democratic side for that.

In the mean time, next up is the Democrats in Hawaii Wednesday, and the Republicans in American Samoa on Friday.

131.5 days until the Republican National Convention

166.5 days until the Democratic National Convention

 

Republican Delegates after North Dakota

Super Tuesday results will start coming in within a few hours.

But in the meantime, we had North Dakota yesterday.

Trump got all 29 delegates based on getting about 85% of the vote.

There would have been some proportionality, but only if the winning candidate was under 60%.

Trump wasn't.

So there you go.

Here are the key charts and graphs as of now. As usual, click through on any of them for even more.

And now we wait for Super Tuesday results. I'll update the site periodically through the evening, but won't do a blog post until it looks like the numbers are pretty settled.

Neither Biden will clinch the nomination tonight.

But they will both be pretty close.

132.1 days until the Republican National Convention

167.1 days until the Democratic National Convention

Republican Delegates: Haley Wins DC

So wow.

Haley actually manages to win something.

Looks like she got about 63% of the vote in the DC primary.

DC allows for proportional allocation if nobody gets over 50%, but Haley's 63% handily exceeds that limit, so she ends up getting all 19 delegates from DC.

For the first time ever since the start of the delegate race, this means she improves her position compared to where she was before a day of primaries or caucuses.

Before DC, she needed 55.50% of all remaining delegates in order to catch up to Trump and win.

Now she needs… 55.10% of the remaining delegates.

So far she has only gotten 14.24% of the delegates, so this would be a massive improvement, which is expected by exactly nobody.

But here we are. She does rack up a victory.

Here are all the charts and graphs:

Next up, Republicans in North Dakota tomorrow.

Then Super Tuesday.

Super Tuesday will be a huge number of delegates in both parties, but mathematically the earliest Trump could clinch is March 12th, and the earliest Biden could clinch is March 19th.

Once each party has clinched, I'll still update delegates on the site, but won't do blog posts about them unless something crazy happens.

133.8 days until the Republican National Convention

168.8 days until the Democratic National Convention

Republican Delegates after MI/ID/MO

I wasn't expecting Missouri.

Thought that wasn't going to be until May based on the Green Papers calendar.

But regardless, we got results for 54 delegates from Missouri, 39 delegates from Michigan, and 32 delegates from Idaho on Saturday.

Donald Trump got all 125 of those delegates.

And so the walk toward the nomination continues.

Next up, Republicans in DC later today, and in North Dakota Monday.

Then Super Tuesday.

134.3 days until the Republican National Convention

169.3 days until the Democratic National Convention

 

 

Delegates after Michigan Primaries

I meant to post this last night, but I fell asleep. Oops. One delegate changed in the Green Papers estimates since yesterday, so good I waited I guess.

In any case, Michigan had primaries on both the Republican and Democratic sides on Tuesday. For the Democrats, that's it for Michigan. For the Republicans Michigan still has a caucus that allocates most of the delegates on Saturday, so more to come.

On both the Republican and Democratic sides, people are trying to read the primary results for clues to what will happen in November. That's all well and good, but here I'm only going to talk about the delegate race.

On the Democratic side, there was lots of drama in the press about the vote for "Uncommitted", but from a delegate point of view, an uncommitted delegate is just that, a delegate that is still TBD in terms of how they will vote.

As of now it looks like there will be 2 uncommitted delegates coming out of Michigan. But until or unless we get actual people assigned as those delegates, and they declare who they intend to vote for, Biden still has 100% of the allocated delegates.

So yeah. That's what that was about. In terms of delegates anyway.

OK, on the Republican side, Haley got 4 out of the 16 delegates, but of course that was nowhere near what she'd have to be doing to be catching up to Trump. She is just falling further behind, although she is ever so slightly slowing Trump's progress toward the nomination.

Meanwhile, some revisions to the estimates in some earlier states. Haley lost 3 delegates to Trump in South Carolina, and 1 more to him in New Hampshire.

The lower Trump gets, the closer he is to clinching the nomination, the higher Haley goes, the closer she gets to being mathematically eliminated.

No real surprises here.


That is it for today's update. Next up: Republicans in Idaho and Michigan on Saturday, DC on Sunday, and North Dakota on Monday.

Then Super Tuesday for both parties.

137.8 days until the Republican National Convention

172.8 days until the Democratic National Convention

Republican Delegates after South Carolina

Hey wow. Looks like Haley managed to get some delegates after all.

In my last update I mentioned South Carolina was Winner-Take-All. Well… not quite. It is winner take all, but with some of the delegates being WTA statewide, but some by congressional district. And it looks like Haley squeaked out very narrow wins in South Carolina's 1st and 6th congressional districts.

This gives her 6 of South Carolina's 50 delegates.

Of course that gives Trump 44.

So Trump continues his inexorable trip to the nomination.

Well, inexorable absent something on the order of a major health crisis or some such.

In any case, here are the most important charts and graphs:

Click on any of the above for the rest of the charts, and for the Democratic side too.

Next up: The Democrats in Michigan on Tuesday. There is no drama expected there of course.

141.7 days until the Republican National Convention.

176.7 days until the Democratic National Convention.