122 Days Out: Mid-Summer Update

It has been 40 days since my last post.

The last post was right before Trump's conviction in his New York trial. We are now a little more than a week after the first debate, and a little more than a week before the start of the Republican National Convention. So it is a good time for another check in.

We will do the usual run down of what has changed since last time in a moment, but first, an announcement of a new feature on Election Graphs.

To quote the new item on my FAQ:

Initially this site only did the two sets of probabilistic views based on the FINAL Election Graphs averages vs the actual election results. This is essentially "if the election was today", or alternately "if the polls don't change at all between now and the election". But of course until we get to Election Day, the election is not today, and polls change a lot over time. There are lots of ups and downs over the course of an election season, as the candidates campaign, and news events change the course of the news.

As of July 2024, I have added "Accounting For Time Left" views of both the Independent States and Uniform Swing models. Basically, at any given date, instead of comparing the final election graphs average to the actual election results, I use the Election Graphs averages the same number of days before the election instead. The methodology for computing the odds and doing the simulation is otherwise identical. But now it is based on how far off the poll averages were X days before the election.

Anyway, this means Election Graphs now has views that are no longer just "if the election was today". These two views do take into account how much things may change before the election. They of course are still based on assuming that the current cycle shows similar patterns for how far off poll results are from election results in the past few elections. Which may or may not end up being true. But using the past as a model for the future is the best I can do.

It took a lot of work to add this. I took a week off from my day job to build all of it out. So please take a look at the revamped national summary and the revised state detail pages and poke around and explore. Lots of good stuff there. Feedback is welcome! Email me at feedback@electiongraphs.com. Or you can find Election Graphs on Mastodon at @ElectionGraphs@newsie.social.

I'm sure folks want to know the bottom line on those new models, so here it is:

Uniform Swing Odds accounting for 122 days left:

  • Biden: 22.0% — Tie: 0.0% — Trump: 78.0%

Independent States Odds accounting for 122 days left:

  • Biden: 2.6% — Tie: 0.2% — Trump: 97.2%

By comparison, the "if the election was today" view has Biden at 11.2% for Uniform Swing and 0.2% for Independent States.

The truth is somewhere between Uniform Swing and Independent States, but there are a number of reasons to think if pollsters are making a specific mistake in one state, they will make the same mistake in many states, so the truth is probably closer to the Uniform Swing model than the Independent States model.

OK, with that out of the way, a quick TL;DR on the overall state of the race.:

  • Things have generally been slowly moving in Biden's direction since Trump peaked in December, although there have been lots of short term ups and downs along the way.
  • Specifically, things had been moving toward Biden DURING Trump's NY Trial.
  • But since the verdict, things have once again been moving back toward Trump.
  • There are only a handful of post-debate state level polls at this point, so it is too soon to have a definitive signal on what if any impact that will have, and with the Republican National Convention coming soon, it may end up being hard to isolate the impact of the two events.
  • Given all the talk of non-Biden alternatives, it is natural to wonder how matchups other than Biden vs Trump are looking, but state level polling for other Democrats vs Trump is sparse, and most of what does exist is old. So until or unless there is a wave of new polling, there is nothing definitive that can be said about those matchups. If you want to look at Harris vs Trump anyway though, here it is.
  • As has been true since October, Trump remains favored. He is leading, and far outperforming his polling in both 2016 and 2020.
  • There is still time for things to change. The new Uniform Swing accounting for 122 days left view gives Biden a 22.0% chance of pulling out a win. But Trump is clearly the frontrunner, and Biden is clearly behind at the moment.

And the current map:

OK, now time for details. Most if not all of you can leave now. The rest of this is for poll geeks only. 🙂

Lets start by just looking at how state averages in any of the even remotely close states (margin under 10%) have moved since the last blog post.

Here is where things were on May 28th:

And here is what that spectrum looks like on July 6th:

Checking out all the deltas:

Net movement toward Trump:

  • New Jersey (14 EV): Biden by 12.5% -> Biden by 8.7% (Trump+3.8%)
  • Arizona (11 EV): Trump by 3.7% -> Trump by 6.7% (Trump+3.0%)
  • New Mexico (5 EV): Biden by 6.7% -> Biden by 4.3% (Trump+2.4%)
  • Maine-All (2 EV): Biden by 3.5% -> Biden by 1.3% (Trump+2.2%)
  • Iowa (6 EV): Trump by 9.5% -> Trump by 11.4% (Trump+1.9%)
  • Virginia (13 EV): Biden by 2.6% -> Biden by 0.9% (Trump+1.7%)
  • New Hampshire (4 EV): Biden by 3.5% -> Biden by 2.2% (Trump+1.3%)
  • Wisconsin (10 EV): Biden by 0.7% -> Trump by 0.6% (Trump+1.3%)
  • New York (28 EV): Biden by 10.8% -> Biden by 9.7% (Trump+1.1%)
  • Pennsylvania (19 EV): Trump by 1.7% -> Trump by 2.5% (Trump+0.8%)
  • Minnesota (10 EV): Biden by 2.3% -> Biden by 1.8% (Trump+0.5%)
  • North Carolina (16 EV): Trump by 4.7% -> Trump by 5.2% (Trump+0.5%)
  • Georgia (16 EV): Trump by 5.3% -> Trump by 5.4% (Trump+0.1%)

No net movement:

  • Washington (12 EV): Biden by 9.3%
  • Colorado (10 EV): Biden by 6.8%
  • Maine-CD2 (1 EV): Trump by 8.6%

Net movement toward Biden:

  • Michigan (15 EV): Trump by 1.1% -> Trump by 0.9% (Biden+0.2%)
  • Nebraska-CD2 (1 EV): Trump by 0.9% -> Trump by 0.2% (Biden+0.7%)
  • Florida (30 EV): Trump by 9.1% -> Trump by 7.6% (Biden+1.5%)
  • Texas (40 EV): Trump by 10.0% -> Trump by 8.5% (Biden+1.5%)
  • Ohio (17 EV): Trump by 10.5% -> Trump by 9.0% (Biden+1.5%)
  • Nevada (6 EV): Trump by 6.3% -> Trump by 4.7% (Biden+1.6%)

So mixed, but most of the movement has been toward Trump in the last 40 days, including the only state to cross the center line (Wisconsin).

Wisconsin is and has been RIGHT next to that center line for awhile now:

One key to note here is that Biden's margin in several states where he used to have more substantial leads are becoming more tenuous. A prime example of this would be Virginia:

And Minnesota:

These are states that Biden may not have expected to have to seriously defend. But they are both very much in play at this point. Trump's best case now includes winning not just these two, but also Maine, New Hampshire, and even New Mexico. All states that a few months ago seemed out of reach, but which are now all close enough to be fought for.

There are so many charts and stats now on the national summary page that I'm not about to go through all of them. Please go there and explore. But here are the others I think are worth highlighting.

First up, I often tell people that if they were to look at only one thing on the site, they should look at the tipping point graph. So here that is. Specifically, here is the version that includes 2016 and 2020 for comparison:

Bottom line here is that Biden has improved significantly since his worst point in December, but the more recent trend has been going in the opposite direction again, and perhaps even more significantly, Trump is running 6.4% ahead of where he was at the same point in 2020, and a full 6.9% ahead of where he was in 2016 at this time.

Trump is blowing away his numbers from the previous cycles. And he just barely lost in 2020, and he won in 2016.

Here is the "envelope of the possible" given the idea that any state with a margin under 5% could go either way:

A Biden win is in the envelope, but just barely. He has to win all the states where he is ahead, but then also pull in Nebraska-CD2, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Of the states in my "weak" categories, he can only afford to lose Nevada. He has to almost run the table.

As they have been since the beginning, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, with an assist from Nebraska-CD2, are part of almost any conceivable Biden win scenarios. These are "must win" for Biden, and he is currently behind in all of them.

For a Biden win, one of four things has to happen:

  • Biden has to gain a lot of support that so far has not been evident
  • Trump has to lose a lot of support that he has held on to so far
  • The "undecideds" end up disproportionally falling to Biden in the end
  • The polling proves to be massively wrong (overestimating Trump and underestimating Biden this time)

Or some combination of the four.

OK, since I added all of this new probabilistic information in the last couple of weeks, I need to highlight something probabilistic too. There is a lot there though. So which view is the "best" to look at?

I am now showing four separate probabilistic models. Both "if the election was today" and "accounting for the time left", but then also both "independent states" and "uniform swing".

On the first choice, I think it is obvious "accounting for time left" is better. If it wasn't, I probably wouldn't have spent the time to add it.

Ever since I introduced the probabilistic views I have had to explain away "yes, but this is as of right now, things have time to change" every time I talked about this. Now it has something quantitive in terms of modeling "OK, but how much are things likely to actually change?"

It acknowledges that if you have a very small lead, the chances of things changing enough to make a difference are bigger than if you have a very large lead. It also knows that the closer we get to the election, the less the chance of something substantially different happening.

Having said that, we have to bring out that old cliche: "Past performance is not indicative of future results".

These models specifically are based on looking at how the EG polling averages have differed from the actual election results at various numbers of days before the election in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. So fundamentally, if something radically different happens in 2024 than in the aggregate of those cycles, then the models may be off. And I may be "overfitting" to what happened in those cycles as well.

But absent a magic crystal ball, that's the best I can do for the moment, and it is clearly better than not accounting for the time left at all. "If the election was today" gives a good idea of just how much work the candidate who is behind needs to do to change their fate, but if we want an idea of what is actually likely to happen, taking into account the amount of time left just makes sense.

Now, on the second choice. I alluded to this earlier, but fundamentally the question here is, does the direction and magnitude of the poll average error in one state predict in any way the error in another state, or are they unrelated? The reality is that a lot of the same pollsters are active in many of the states, especially in the swing states. And I think a lot of these pollsters are also making similar assumptions about the electorate.

So I think the "uniform swing" model, where the errors in the states are perfectly correlated, is closer than than the "independent states" model where they are completely independent.

So lets look at the odds based on the Uniform Swing model, taking into account the amount of time left:

Before October, it was basically a coin toss. Since then Trump has been favored, but the amount has varied.

For a few weeks from about mid-May to mid-June, Trump was down to a chance of winning of between 55% and 60%, which was the worst he had been since October.

Since then though he has moved to once again being near his highs, now up to a 78% chance of winning.

And we still haven't fully baked in people's reactions to Biden's debate performance or the subsequent massive media maelstrom questioning if he should even stay in the race. And the Republican National Convention will be starting before too long, which generally gives a boost to the Republican candidate for awhile.

So it is quite likely that things will continue to move toward Trump for a bit before a Biden recovery is possible.

You never know though, news happens, campaigns happen. And tomorrow's narrative may be different than today's.

And of course if the Democrats do change candidates, then everything changes and we'll need new polling to see where things stand.

With that, it's time to close.

122.0 days until polls start to close on Election Day 2024.

Stay tuned.


162 Days Out: As Summer Starts

It has been about 65 days since my last post about the general election. Oops. I've been intending to put these out more often as the election approaches, but haven't quite managed that.

In any case, the last post was shortly after both candidates clinched their nominations and Biden had a widely praised State of the Union speech.

Almost immediately after that  blog post, Biden had a run of really good polls, and things started moving in his direction. Then Trump had a run of good polls, and things started moving back again. Then more recently, Biden had another good run with things moving back toward him.

In other words, lots of ups and downs. And to be honest, it is unclear how much of that is driven by ACTUAL movement in people's voting intention, vs how much is just noise in the polls, including a handful of prominent outliers that moved some critical state averages around.

If you look at the net change since that last post though, most metrics have moved toward Biden, although Trump is still leading, and is still significantly outpacing his polling performance in both 2016 and 2020.

If you just wanted a high level summary of where things are, you can stop now. The rest is going to be digging into more specifics.

Here we go.

This is the overall summary. Keep in mind, everything here is based on CURRENT poll averages as of May 27th. It is essentially "If the election was today" or alternatively "if nothing changes between now and Election Day". But we know things will change.

I've started some work on adding probabilistic models that take into account the amount of time left before the election, but I've got a lot of work left before those are ready to share any results. In the meantime, just always keep in mind, that things can change dramatically in a few weeks, let alone a few months. Campaigns matter, and news events change opinions.

Having said that, if the election was today, Trump would be strongly favored. Biden would have to be hoping for the polls to be significantly underestimating the Democrat this time, rather than underestimating the Republican as has been the case the last two cycles.

As of now, the map looks like this.

Since last time only one state has crossed the center line. That would be Wisconsin moving from Weak Trump to Weak Biden.

But as we have done the last few updates, lets look at how all of the even remotely close states (any with margins under 10%) have moved since last time.

Here is where things were on March 23rd:

And here they are as of May 28th:

So lets check out all the deltas:

Net movement toward Trump:

  • Washington (12 EV): Biden by 13.7% -> Biden by 9.3% (Trump+4.4%)
  • New Hampshire (4 EV): Biden by 7.6% -> Biden by 3.5% (Trump+4.1%)
  • Texas (40 EV): Trump by 7.3% -> Trump by 10.0% (Trump+2.7%)
  • New Mexico (5 EV): Biden by 9.3% -> Biden by 6.7% (Trump+2.6%)
  • Maine-All (2 EV): Biden by 5.7% -> Biden by 3.5% (Trump+2.2%)
  • Virginia (13 EV): Biden by 4.5% -> Biden by 2.6% (Trump+1.9%)
  • Alaska (3 EV): Trump by 9.4% -> Trump by 11.2% (Trump+1.8%)
  • Minnesota (10 EV): Biden by 3.9% -> Biden by 2.3% (Trump+1.6%)
  • Nevada (6 EV): Trump by 5.2% -> Trump by 6.3% (Trump+1.1%)
  • Florida (30 EV): Trump by 8.7% -> Trump by 9.1% (Trump+0.4%)

No net movement:

  • Georgia (16 EV): Trump by 5.3%
  • Maine-CD2 (1 EV): Trump by 8.6%

Net movement toward Biden:

  • Colorado (10 EV): Biden by 6.6% -> Biden by 6.8% (Biden+0.2%)
  • Pennsylvania (19 EV): Trump by 2.6% -> Trump by 1.7% (Biden +0.9%)
  • Arizona (11 EV): Trump by 5.0% -> Trump by 3.7% (Biden+1.3%)
  • Iowa (6 EV): Trump by 11.1% -> Trump by 9.5% (Biden+1.6%)
  • North Carolina (16 EV): Trump by 7.2% -> Trump by 4.7% (Biden+2.5%)
  • Michigan (15 EV): Trump by 4.5% -> Trump by 1.1% (Biden+3.4%)
  • Wisconsin (10 EV): Trump by 3.0% -> Biden by 0.7% (Biden+3.7%)
  • Nebraska-CD2 (1 EV): Trump by 4.7% -> Trump by 0.9% (Biden+3.8%)

Now, more of these actually moved toward Trump than toward Biden, so why do I say that overall things have been good for Biden since the last update?

Well, it is because of WHICH states moved toward Biden. Specifically, the key battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have all moved in Biden's direction, as well as Nebraska-CD2 (which would be key in some scenarios).  Arizona and North Carolina also potentially make a big difference if Biden can actually make them competitive.

It is not great for Biden that New Hampshire, Virginia, and Minnesota are as close as they are. He needs to win those. But pretty much all Biden winning scenarios require keeping Wisconsin on his side of the line now that he has it back there, and pulling Michigan and Pennsylvania over as well.

So the fact that those states have moved in his direction is key in terms of how this race is evolving.

Biden is still behind. Here is the chart showing the range of Electoral college possibilities just taking the polls at face value and assuming anywhere with a margin less than 5% could go either way:

Biden is doing a bit better than he has, but Trump still has a very strong position here. To win here Biden has to keep every state he leads in the polls, plus win Nebraska-CD2, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

How hard is that? This is where the tipping point chart comes in. It shows the margin in the state that puts the winner over the top:

As you can see, Trump's lead is the smallest it has been since mid-October. But that is due to a recent spike toward Biden that only came in from the last week or so of new polls (covering times from a little earlier than that).

Will it last? The movements toward Biden in January and March did NOT last. After a few weeks, the trend reversed and headed back in Trump's direction. The magnitude of this change does seem to be larger. But as usual only time will tell.

In the mean time, while Biden is doing a bit better than before, a comparison with 2016 and 2020 puts things in perspective:

And here is that same comparison, but with the electoral college margin instead of the tipping point:

Trump is still WAY ahead of where he was in both 2016 and 2020. And of course he won in 2016, and in 2020 Biden just barely won. In both of those years polls underestimated Trump. If they are underestimating him again, he is positioned for a very substantial win. (If the election was today.) Of course this time the polls may be underestimating Biden. We won't really know until the votes are counted.

A race with a tipping point less than 5% (in either direction) is a competitive race. And we still have about 160 days. A lot can and will happen.

Next up, lets look at the two statistical models I do looking at how far off the EG poll average was from the final results in 2008-2020, and using that to estimate ranges for this time. One of these assumes the errors in all the states are completely independent from each other, the other assumes all the states will have the same error. The truth will of course be somewhere in between.

Now, repeating myself, these are both "if the election was today". Which it is not. I'm working on adding models that take the time left into account, but they are not ready yet.

In any case, with both of these views, the center line really hasn't moved much since at least December. We do see Biden's best case improving a bit recently though. So has Trump's though.

Here is what these look like in terms of chances of winning. Again, and I really just can't say this enough, these are not taking into account how much things may change in the remaining time.

Biden's recent improvement shows up on the Uniform swing model, but still isn't making much of a difference on the Independent states model. Imagine the real scenario to be somewhere in between.

But looking at these I really want those models that take into account the amount of time left. I'm working on it! I may have to take some time off in June to just knock that out. 🙂

And that is that. I'll try not to go 60+ days before the next update, but it is what it is. Day job. Family. Other responsibilities. Sometimes this just ends up delayed. Sorry!

But the site itself is updated pretty promptly whenever new polls come out. Almost always within 24 hours, sometimes a lot less.

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.

Coming up next: A verdict in Trump's NY trial, and the first Biden vs Trump debate. Will either of those change anything? I guess we will find out.

161.9 days until polls start to close.

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. 🙂

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.



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,  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.


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