## Is Impeachment Hurting the Dems?

Once again, too long between updates. Since the last one on November 20th there have been new polls in Wisconsin (x3), New Hampshire, California (x2), Texas (x2), Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Iowa.

If I'd been posting weekly as I had intended, there would have been a post looking at how Election Graphs win odds correlated to the popular vote polling averages at RCP and using that to measure the Democrats' Electoral College disadvantage. (Spoiler: As of right now it looks like Democrats need an approximately 6% popular vote win margin to have a 50/50 chance of winning the Electoral College.)

I also would have done a post talking about how while for us political junkies, it seems inconceivable that people don't know who at least the top five Democratic candidates are, this article in the Washington Post by Robert Griffin lays out a pretty convincing case that a large part of the differences in polling between Democratic candidates vs. Trump is STILL simply that lots of people don't know who some of these people are, something that clearly would change before Election Day if they were to win the nomination. That is obviously very important when interpreting what we see here on Election Graphs, which is 100% driven by state level general election matchup polls.

But I kind of missed talking about both those points when they were fresh. So I'll let the above suffice for now.

The main thing I want to look at today is this:

This shows the median electoral college result from the Election Graphs Monte Carlo simulations for each candidate pair.

For both Biden and Sanders there is a very clear "V" shaped pattern. (OK, if you look closely, you can see a "W", but the large scale pattern is a "V".) In the first half of this V, as new polls came in and the state averages moved from the baseline based on the 2000-2016 elections, to averages based on 2020 polls, almost every poll made Sanders and Biden look better.

Although he dropped out already, you can see a smaller scale version of this "V" pattern with O'Rourke as well.

Buttigieg doesn't show the initial portion of this V. As the initial polls came in, his results basically just stayed at about the same level as the 2000-2016 baseline. Frankly though, there was very little Buttigieg vs. Trump state level polling in this time frame though, which would explain that.

But all four of these candidates share the second half of the "V". Starting at a specific point in time, as new polling results came in, more often than not, the state averages would move away from the Democrat, and so the median electoral college results would also move the same direction.

When you look at the charts, the inflection point seems to be… well… very close to the date Nancy Pelosi announced that she was officially backing the impeachment investigation over the Ukraine issue.

There are some ups and downs, and you could argue that the best numbers for the Democrats were perhaps a little bit earlier or a little bit later, but roughly speaking, leading up to that announcement on September 24th, every week Sanders, Biden, and O'Rourke looked better in the polls than the week before, while Buttigieg held steady. After September 24th though, Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, and O'Rourke all looked weaker in each subsequent week.

This may be a coincidence. It may just relate to which pollsters put out polls in which states during this time period. It may just be a "reversion to the mean" after a series of earlier polls were more favorable to the Democrats than was really reflected by the ground truth…

But the location of the inflection point compared to the date when impeachment moved from something a few people were talking about, to a real thing that was happening is hard to ignore. It certainly LOOKS like the impeachment efforts are hurting the Democratic candidates in state level head to head polling against Trump. State after state where the polling averages had moved from red to blue, have now slipped back into the red again.

But wait. There has been one clear omission in the discussion above.

Warren's trend line just does not match the patterns followed by the four candidates discussed above. (Neither did Harris's for that matter, but she dropped out, so we won't spend more time there.) There is no clear "V" shape like Sanders, Biden, and O'Rourke. Nor does Warren follow Buttigieg's pattern.

In fact, Warren does not show any change that looks like it coincides with impeachment events. Initially as early polls came in, she looked like she would do worse than the median based on the 2000-2016 averages. Then she started doing a little better than that. And now she's a little worse again.

The fact that the reversal in fortunes that lines up with the impeachment announcement does not seem to apply to Warren (or Harris) seems notable. After all, Warren was one of the first Democratic candidates to come out strongly in favor of impeachment, and she did so strongly. If there was an impact from impeachment, why wouldn't it touch her? Perhaps even more than other candidates? This may in fact be an argument toward this movement NOT being tied directly to impeachment, but rather to something unrelated.

Without information that specifically digs into motivations rather than just candidate preferences, it is hard to say anything definitive. But the alignment certainly is suggestive. We shall see if those trends continue as the impeachment saga continues to play out.

In the mean time, we'll close out by looking at the changes in our main metrics since the last update post, followed by some of the state level charts.

 Dem 20 Nov 16 Dec 𝚫 Biden +158 +126 -32 Sanders +88 +56 -32 Warren +50 +24 -26 Buttigieg -6 -44 -38

All four still active Democrats weakened significantly in their "median case" from the Election Graphs Monte Carlo simulations.

This  has not been a good month for the Democrats.

 Dem 20 Nov 16 Dec 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 99.4% -0.5% Sanders 95.0% 83.5% -11.5% Warren 81.8% 67.2% -14.6% Buttigieg 44.3% 16.5% -27.8%

Given how far ahead Biden was, his win odds are still 99%+. But the other three took pretty big hits these last few weeks.

Especially Buttigieg. Last time he was already the only candidate with a less than 50% chance of beating Trump. But now that has dropped to a paltry 16.5%.

 Dem 20 Nov 16 Dec 𝚫 Biden +210 +178 -32 Sanders +118 +58 -60 Warren +48 +14 -34 Buttigieg +6 -86 -92

Using the older and simpler "expected case" where every candidate simply wins every state where they lead the polls, you see similar across the board drops to what you see in the "median case" from the simulation, but the drops are even more dramatic.

 Dem 20 Nov 16 Dec 𝚫 Biden +4.4% +4.3% -0.1% Sanders +1.8% +1.0% -0.8% Warren +0.6% +0.6% Flat Buttigieg +0.2% -1.3% -1.5%

For the tipping point, which measures how much of a gain would be needed to flip the electoral college winner if that gain occurred uniformly across all states, Warren manages to stay flat, but the other three Democrats get weaker.

Finally, presented without additional commentary, the updated state charts in each of the states with new polling. You'll notice the recent swing toward Trump occurs in almost every state.

The news is coming hot and heavy these days. Iowa is now less than 50 days away. Things will develop quickly. Stay tuned.

323.6 days until polls start to close.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Goodbye Blue Texas

It has once again been longer than I like, but it is time for another post.

Since the last update, there have been new polls in Michigan (x3), Nevada (x2), Texas (x2), Arizona (x2), Pennsylvania (x3), Florida (x2), North Carolina (x3), Wisconsin (x2), Iowa, Georgia (x4), and New Hampshire.

That is a lot. Sorry about that. Oops.

The most striking individual state result is that after peaking in September with three of the top six Democrats leading Trump in the Texas averages, and two more getting close, Texas has been moving back toward Trump.

As of now, none of the six most polled Democrats lead in Texas, and only three of those keep Trump's lead to less than 5%. And one of those (O'Rourke) has already dropped out of the race, leaving only Sanders and Biden still making it close.

Converting this to win odds, Biden has a 30.1% chance of winning the state (if the election was today), and Sanders has a 25.0% chance of winning.

None of the rest (except O'Rourke, who is out) is above 5%.

So Texas is reverting to form. It may be closer than it has been in previous years, but at least for the moment, the Democratic hopes for a blue Texas seem to be fading.

I'll go over other states with new polling at the end of the post, but first, a look at four ways of looking at the changes in the national summary since the last post.

O'Rourke vs. Trump is now in the top six best-polled candidate combinations (replacing Sanders vs. Pence). But since O'Rourke dropped out, we will leave him out and only look at the top five for now.

I haven't done posts showing the update-to-update comparisons for the older "categorization method" before, but since that used to be the bread and butter of Election Graphs, let's start there.

 Dem 1 Nov 20 Nov 𝚫 Biden +254 +210 -44 Sanders +190 +118 -72 Warren +38 +48 +10 Harris +20 +20 Flat Buttigieg +6 +6 Flat

In this "expected case" view, where every candidate wins every state where they lead in the poll average, both Sanders and Biden have lost ground.

Warren improves her position a little.

Harris and Buttigieg are flat.

 Dem 1 Nov 20 Nov 𝚫 Biden +5.3% +4.4% -0.9% Sanders +4.7% +1.8% -2.9% Harris +1.4% +1.4% Flat Warren +0.3% +0.6% +0.3% Buttigieg +0.6% +0.2% -0.4%

Looking at the tipping points, which is analogous to the popular vote, but adjusted for the structure of the electoral college, once again, Warren is the only Democrat who is improving.

Harris is flat.

Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg all lose ground to different degrees.

Note that while for a short time, Biden had a tipping point greater than 5%, meaning he could win using only states where he led by more than 5% and didn't even need any swing states. That is no longer true.

Now all five of these Democrats have tipping points indicating that they need to win at least some tight states to win.

Now, moving on to the more elaborate probabilistic model I look at a bit more these days…

 Dem 1 Nov 20 Nov 𝚫 Biden +184 +158 -26 Sanders +124 +88 -36 Warren +36 +50 +14 Harris +8 +12 +4 Buttigieg -4 -6 -2

This view shows the "Median Case." The median case is the electoral vote margin in the exact middle of the 1,000,001 simulation runs done for each candidate combination when sorted by the margin. About half the time, the Democrat does better than this. About half the time, they do worse.

Warren and Harris both improve a bit. Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg all lose ground.

Note that while in the classification view, all five Democrats lead Trump, in the probabilistic view, Buttigieg's median case is actually to lose.

But we need to look at probabilities, not the single "median case" estimate. You should not think that since a candidate is ahead or behind on the median case, that maps to winning and losing.

For instance, Buttigieg's median case is a six electoral vote loss to Trump. But if you look at the 2σ range, that is the range of outcomes that you would expect to occur 95.45% of the time; you get a range from Buttigieg winning by 92 electoral votes to Trump winning by 90 electoral votes.

There is a huge range of possibilities. It isn't just "Trump is ahead in the median case, so he wins."

So time to look at the win odds…

 Dem 1 Nov 20 Nov 𝚫 Biden 100.0% 99.9% -0.1% Sanders 98.3% 95.0% -3.3% Warren 73.1% 81.8% +8.7% Harris 54.6% 58.2% +3.6% Buttigieg 46.0% 44.3% -1.7%

The trends above, which cover just under three weeks, show Warren and Harris improving, while Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg slip back.

But looking back a bit farther, we can see some overall trends going back to September.

Biden continues to be pegged at a 99%+ chance of winning. His lead in some states has slipped, but his overall margins are high enough that this hasn't yet started to impact his chances of winning.

Sanders never had as big a margin lead as Biden, so as some of those states slipped back toward Trump, you see a more significant impact on his odds of winning.

Harris and Buttigieg have never done all that much better than a coin flip against Trump, peaking at around a 70% chance of winning. But since September, they have both dropped significantly, with Buttigieg now only at a 44.3% chance of winning, and Harris only at 58.2%.

The only candidate consistently improving over the last few months has been Warren. She bottomed out at only a 41.7% shot of winning in June, and while there have been ups and downs, the trend is clearly in Warren's direction.

We will, of course, see if that lasts. As can be seen by the spike toward Trump in June, trends can reverse quite quickly.

Now, besides Texas, here are a few additional states where there are trends worth noting. (Since so many places had new polls, I'll skip a few where there is less to comment on.)

No clear trends in Florida except to note that it is an exceptionally close race no matter which Democrat you match up against Trump. As has been usual for the last few presidential races, Florida is right on the line. And it is big. So it makes a huge difference.

The general trend in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin over the past few months has been for Democratic leads to decrease.

In Pennsylvania, there is no Democrat with more than a 5% lead, and Warren (and O'Rourke) are both slightly behind.

At this point, only Biden has a lead higher than 5% in Michigan.

In Wisconsin, all the Democrats still lead, but none by more than 5%.

These are, of course, the three states that gave Trump his victory in 2016. At the moment, they are all looking to be close battlegrounds once again.

The people who say that the Democratic nominee needs to pay close attention to these states are certainly not wrong.

And at the moment, the Democrats seem to be slipping in all three.

Pollsters have not paid as much attention to Georgia as I would like. But there have been a bunch of polls in the last few weeks and they show a competitive state, which is a significant change from the historical average.

The poll average now shows Biden and Sanders ahead, with Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg all bringing Trump's lead under 5%.

(O'Rourke has never been polled in Georgia, and now that he has dropped out, probably will never be. Sniff.)

Although Biden has reversed a bit recently, overall Sanders, Warren, and Biden are making North Carolina a narrowly fought battleground.

Harris and Buttigieg, while they are still keeping Trump's lead under 5%, do not seem to be gaining any additional ground lately.

Arizona has also been moving toward the Democrats. At least for Sanders, Warren, and Biden. Warren and Biden actually are slightly leading. Sanders brings Trump's lead under 5%.

Harris and Buttigieg, on the other hand, are not making things much closer than the historical 7.6% average Republican margin in the state. Just as in North Carolina, they lag behind the stronger Democrats.

So Trump is gaining in Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

But the Democrats are gaining in Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona.

As we get closer, things will heat up; there will be lots more polls and more movement.

Are we having fun yet?

349.7 days until polls start to close on election night.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Harris and Buttigieg Struggling in Trump Matchups

Apologies for the radio silence. I had been trying to post a blog update here weekly, but things got in the way the last few weeks. One of the items was the fact that my wife Brandy is running for local office, and I've been helping do things like put out signs and such. If you happen to live in South Snohomish County, Washington, take a look at her campaign site and vote! Ballots are due Tuesday! No polls for races like this, so no previews. We'll see the results when we see the results.

In any case, it is only the blog summaries that have suffered; the actual polls have continued to be updated this whole time. You can always check the 2020 Electoral College page for the current status. In any case, let's look at what has changed.

Since the last update, there have been new polls in North Carolina (x2), Ohio (x2), Virginia, Maine (All), Iowa, Minnesota, California, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Washington.

Let's look first at the changes to the national probabilistic views.

The main theme of the nearly three weeks since the last update is Harris and Buttigieg doing significantly worse in matchups against Trump.

 Dem 13 Oct 1 Nov 𝚫 Biden +166 +184 +18 Sanders +124 +124 Flat Warren +30 +36 +6 Harris +20 +8 -12 Buttigieg +24 -4 -28

All of the above vs. Trump. Sanders vs. Pence flat at Sanders +28.

The decline for Harris and Buttigieg is even more apparent in the win odds:

 Dem 13 Oct 1 Nov 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 100.0% +0.1% Sanders 98.3% 98.3% Flat Warren 70.6% 73.1% +2.5% Harris 68.0% 54.6% -13.4% Buttigieg 66.8% 46.0% -20.8%

All of the above vs. Trump. Sanders vs. Pence at a 72.7% chance of a Sanders win. This percentage is down 0.1% from 72.8% on 13 Oct, but this is just random fluctuation of the Monte Carlo model, not a real change. (There was one new Sanders vs. Pence poll, but it was in California and did not make any difference.)

Biden ticks up to 100.0%, but that is because I round. It is really 99.98% at the moment. Still, Biden is doing extraordinarily well in these state by state polls against Trump and continues to get stronger.

Note that Buttigieg is now at a less than 50% chance to win against Trump. The last time any of the most polled Democrats were under 50% was in June when Warren briefly dropped below that threshold before rebounding.

At this point, there are three tiers of Democrats against Trump.

• Winning decisively: Biden and Sanders
• Coin toss: Harris and Buttigieg

Next, let's look at the changes in each state with new polls to see what is driving the national results.

Starting with California since it has the most electoral votes, but you won't find any hints as to changes to the national picture here. California is very solidly blue, and nothing is changing about that.

Florida, on the other hand, has lots of electoral votes and is close. So small changes make a big difference. Harris is now 2.6% behind Trump, which translates into only having a 16.6% chance of winning the state, down from 24.2% before this update. With 29 electoral votes at stake, that makes a real difference in the overall picture.

Similarly, Buttigieg moves from a 45% chance of winning the state down to 35%.

Compare to Biden with a 2.7% lead and a 71% chance of winning.

Florida is important. Winning it is part of many paths to victory on the national level.

So when Biden and Warren make gains in Florida and lead, while Harris and Buttigieg fall further behind, it makes a difference.

No category changes, but Sanders, Warren, and Biden are clearly improving, while Harris and Buttigieg (whose lines overlap) are moving in the opposite direction. In win chance terms, Harris and Buttigieg move from a 40% chance of winning Ohio, down to only 23%.

North Carolina is a key state. It is in the "swing state" zone for all five of these Democrats against Trump.

Sanders flipped from just barely winning, to barely losing in North Carolina.

That was the only category change, but both Biden and Buttigieg weakened considerably here. Looking at how this translates into win chances, Biden goes from a 91% chance of winning North Carolina to a 68% chance. Either way, still nicely favored, although certainly by less than before.

But Buttigieg drops from a 30% chance of winning down to only about 8%. Basically, from "OK, he's behind but has a shot" to "Yeah, not impossible, but it would be a major upset if he pulled off a win."

Every Democrat improves in Virginia. The state is still significantly under polled. So far, each update makes it look bluer as real 2020 polls replace old elections in the averages.

Biden's lead moves from "strong" to "solid" in my categorization.

Sanders' and Warren's leads both improve from "weak" to "strong" in the categories.

All the polled Democrats increased their leads over the historical average margin. Washington is a blue state that is getting bluer. It is not in contention right now.

In Arizona, Warren improves a little bit against Trump, but every other combination is flat.

All of the Democrats have significant leads in Minnesota, and the new polling just increased the margins for those polled. Minnesota is not currently in play.

With this last update, Wisconsin moved from Weak Biden to Strong Biden, and from Strong Sanders to Weak Sanders.

But the most significant change was for Buttigieg, whose 4.2% lead (85% chance of winning) dropped to a 1.0% lead (56% chance of winning).

Iowa is a swing state for all candidate combinations. But with this last update, Sanders and Warren both weakened, with Sanders moving from slightly ahead to slightly behind. Biden strengthened, moving from just slightly behind to just slightly ahead. Warren drops to only a 14% chance of winning the state.

The worst Democrat in Maine (Biden) still has a 99.2% chance of winning the state. Maine (CD2) might come into play again, but Maine as a whole doesn't look like it will.

That's all the states.

Now to wrap things up by looking at the changes on the categorization view. I prefer the probabilistic view these days, but just looking at who leads where and by how much is still useful.

The expected case changes:

• Biden vs. Trump: Biden +242 to Biden +254
• Sanders vs. Trump: Sanders +232 to Sanders +190
• Warren vs. Trump: Trump +20 to Warren +38

And the tipping point changes were:

• Biden vs. Trump: Biden by 4.4% in WI to Biden by 5.3% in PA
• Sanders vs. Trump: Sanders by 4.3% in VA -> Sanders by 4.7% in VA
• Warren vs. Trump: Trump by 0.1% in NC to Warren by 0.3% in FL

A reminder that sometimes the "median case" in the probabilistic view can have a different leader than the "expected case" in the categorization view.

Divergence like this occurs when there are states that the leader barely leads, and there is a better chance of enough of them to make a difference flipping than there is of states flipping the other direction.

One final categorization comparison to show the three tiers of Democratic candidates against Trump that I mentioned at the start of the post. Time to look at the "spectrum of the states" for the five Democrats against Trump and compare what they look like:

The Democrats that are winning decisively:

The Democrat who is leading, but narrowly:

The Democrats whose chances are a coin toss:

And that is where we are.

367.7 days until polls start to close.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Slow Week

Since last week's update, there have been new polls in Montana, Connecticut, and North Carolina.

Warren vs. Trump is now the "best-polled candidate combination" based on the metric I use, so it is now the default when you go to the Election Graphs 2020 Electoral College page, displacing Biden vs. Trump.

Overall this week, Biden weakened a little bit versus Trump, but he is so far ahead at the moment it doesn't make much difference. All of the other Democrats tracked here get a little bit stronger against Trump with this week's polling.

Looking at the categorization model first, only North Carolina made a difference:

Biden's lead decreased a bit. Sanders and Harris improved a lot. Warren and Buttigieg got a little stronger.

So how did this impact the national picture?

Let's look at some graphs to illustrate the changes.

• Biden vs. Trump tipping point change: Biden by 5.1% in NC -> Biden by 4.4% in WI
• Warren vs. Trump tipping point change: Trump by 0.1% in FL -> Trump by 0.1% in NC

• Biden vs. Trump state category change: NC has moved from Strong Biden to Weak Biden
• Trump best case vs. Biden has changed: Biden 283 to Trump 255 -> Biden 268 to Trump 270

So the categorization model once again has the "best case" in Biden vs. Trump include a Trump win if he wins ALL of the swing states because Biden's lead in North Carolina slipped to below the 5% mark, bringing it back into play.

• Sanders vs. Trump state category change: NC has moved from Weak Trump to Weak Sanders
• Sanders vs. Trump expected case change: Sanders 370 to Trump 168 -> Sanders 385 to Trump 153

In terms of the expected case, where everybody wins every state where they lead the average, with Sanders now taking the lead in North Carolina, he would win by 232 electoral votes, nearly matching Biden's 242 electoral vote margin in this scenario.

In this expected case, Biden and Sanders have substantial leads over Trump. Harris and Buttigieg have very narrow edges. (As does Sanders against Pence.) Warren loses to Trump.

The picture from the tipping point is very similar.

Time to flip to the probabilistic model. How do things look this week?

Since we were looking at the "expected case" in the categorization model, let's look at the median Monte Carlo result first:

 Dem 6 Oct 13 Oct 𝚫 Biden +170 +166 -4 Sanders +114 +124 +10 Warren +28 +30 +2 Buttigieg +22 +24 +2 Harris +18 +20 +2

All of the above vs. Trump. Sanders vs. Pence flat at +28.

Unlike the categorization view, all of the Democrats lead here, although we once again see a situation where Biden and Sanders have very substantial leads, while Warren, Buttigieg, and Harris have very narrow edges.

Biden slips just a little this week, while Sanders has the biggest gain in terms of the median electoral vote margin.

And now the odds:

 Dem 6 Oct 13 Oct 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 99.9% Flat Sanders 97.3% 98.3% +1.0% Warren 68.9% 70.6% +1.7% Harris 64.0% 68.0% +4.0% Buttigieg 66.5% 66.8% +0.3%

All of the above vs. Trump. Sanders vs. Pence flat at 72.8%.

Biden has a substantial enough lead that the little change this week doesn't have a notable impact on his percentage chances.

As Sanders' position in the various state polls continues to improve, he is rapidly catching Biden in terms of how solid his lead over Trump looks.

Harris improves the most this week, but Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg remain stuck in the high 60's, low 70's. Certainly favored to win over Trump, but by no means sure things.

To date, the most common explanation for this division has been name recognition. People know Biden and Sanders. Aside from political junkies, like anybody who might be reading this, "normal" people still aren't paying attention yet, and when polled about these other names may not have a good idea who they are.

The further along we get though, the less likely that is to explain things thoroughly. Now, some national polls have started to show that the gap between Warren and Biden in their performance vs. Trump has been decreasing as Warren gains in the Democratic primary competition. If so, this has been a relatively recent change, and will still take a while before we can see this in the state-level polls we look at here at Election Graphs.

If these kinds of differences persist when we get to actual caucus and primary voting in February, however, then it might be time to acknowledge that there could be real differences in how well the various Democratic candidates could be expected to fare in a general election.

386.6 days until polls start to close on Election Day 2020.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Enter Pence?

Since last week's update, there have been new polls in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

First of all, I should mention that while the 2020 Electoral College page on Election Graphs lets you pick any Democrat and any Republican that has been polled in the 2020 cycle, here on the blog, we restrict ourselves to talking about the six "best polled" candidate combinations. I use a metric for this that is a weighted average of how far back in time the "five poll averages" go in each state. The weighting gives low margin states more influence in the metric than places where one candidate is far ahead.

Up until now, this had been six different Democrats vs Trump. In mid-September though, SurveyUSA did a poll of California that included Pence and Haley as potential Republicans in the general election too. And this last week, Emerson included Pence in a poll of Ohio.

This is pretty sparse polling, but it happened to make the new Sanders vs. Pence polling average in Ohio very close to a tie, which because of the way my metric for "best polled" works, increases the Sanders vs. Pence poll quality up higher than it probably deserves, and Sanders vs. Pence bumps O'Rourke vs. Tump off of my top six.

I suspect this will not last, but for now, I'm looking at Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, and Harris vs. Trump… and Sanders vs. Pence.

Within these candidate combinations, the only change in the categorization model was Ohio flipping from just barely Trump, to just barely Sanders:

The current average here includes three actual 2020 polls, plus the 2008 and 2016 elections, ending up with a 0.2% Sanders lead. Now, this is one of those zones that is a bit different. Based on the historical performance of Election Graphs averages, a 0.2% Democratic lead only translates into a 47.8% chance of the Democrat winning.

The categorization model doesn't care about that, though. Ohio is now on the blue side of the centerline for Sanders, so the "Expected Case" includes him winning Ohio. Sanders now leads in this "everybody gets all the states where they lead in the average" case by 202 electoral votes.

I've been spending a lot of time on these blog posts lately on the probabilistic model, and I'll get to that in a second, but first a quick look at the expected cases for all six of the best-polled candidate matchups in terms of the categorization model:

Biden leads Trump by 242 electoral votes. Sanders now leads Trump by 202 electoral votes. Every one of the other combinations is a close race. The only Democrat losing is Warren, who falls short by 20 electoral votes.

Flipping back to the probabilistic view, which takes into account all the changes in all three states that got polls this week, not just the one category change, we see this:

 Dem 29 Sep 6 Oct 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 99.9% Flat Sanders 97.2% 97.3% +0.1% Warren 66.7% 68.9% +2.2% Buttigieg 66.5% 66.5% Flat Harris 64.0% 64.0% Flat

Of these five, only Biden, Sanders, and Warren received new results this week. Nothing new for Buttigieg or Harris.

But let's not forget Sanders vs. Pence. Based only on the results of the last five presidential elections, this stood at a 68.1% chance of a Sanders victory. The earlier California poll had not changed this at all.  But adding the new Ohio poll to the average brings Sanders up to a 72.8% chance of beating Pence.

Let's also look at how the median electoral college result for these candidate matchups have changed in the last week:

 Dem 29 Sep 6 Oct 𝚫 Biden +166 +170 +4 Sanders +112 +114 +2 Warren +30 +28 -2 Buttigieg +22 +22 Flat Harris +18 +18 Flat

And of course, Sanders vs. Pence.  The result based only on the last five election results was Sanders +22. The new polling moves that to Sanders +28.

And that's it for this week.

393.7 days until polls start to close.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Blue Virginia

Since last week's update, there was only one new poll released, a University of Mary Washington poll of Virginia.

They polled Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris against Trump. No new data for Buttigieg or O'Rourke.

This poll was the first public polling of Virginia this cycle. The only glimpse we had previously was leaked Trump internal polling from March which only included Biden.

Virginia has been trending blue over the last few elections, but Election Graphs starts with the average of the previous five elections before we have polls and the average margin from 2000 to 2016 ended up as a 0.1% Republican lead.

The leaked Biden vs. Trump poll moved the state from Weak Trump (by 0.1%) to Weak Biden (by 4.9%) in the Election Graphs average, but with no 2020 data, all the other Democrats remained in "Weak Trump" territory despite the general sense that because of the trends in Virginia, this was unlikely to stay the case.

At long last, we have a new public poll of Virginia though. So we start to see how the state looks for 2020.

All four Democratic candidates led Trump by double digits in this new poll. The poll averages still include some older election results though, since this is the first 2020 polling in Virginia for every matchup except Biden vs. Trump.

In terms of categories, this moved the state from "Weak Trump" to "Weak Democratic" for Sanders, Warren, and Harris.

Biden, having already taken the lead after that leaked Trump internal poll, now moves from "Weak Biden" to "Strong Biden."

In terms of odds of winning, that means that every Democrat that has been polled in Virginia so far is estimated to have an 80%+ chance of winning the state according to the historical accuracy of Election Graphs poll averages.

As usual, I must repeat the universal caveat on this site: These numbers are if the election was today. The election is not today, a lot will change between now and then.

Also, in this case, we still have sparse polling.

So, what does the national picture look like now in terms of the chance of the Democrat winning?

 Dem 22 Sep 29 Sep 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 99.9% Flat Sanders 95.3% 97.2% +1.9% O'Rourke 83.1% 83.1% Flat Warren 62.4% 69.7% +7.3% Buttigieg 66.5% 66.5% Flat Harris 54.7% 64.0% +10.7%

It is hard for Biden to improve his position much given where he is, but the movement of Virginia in the blue direction helps the other three Democrats with poll results, with the most significant boost going to Harris.

And that is all for this week.

400.9 days until polls start to close.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Another Mixed Week for Dems

Since last week's update, there has been new polling released in Arizona (x2), Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, California (x2), Florida, Texas, and Missouri.

Once again we have mixed results.

Two of the six most polled Democrats (Biden and O'Rourke) improve their positions in the probabilistic view when you combine the results of all of those polls.

The other four (Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren, and Harris) slip in their matchups against Trump. Some weaken significantly.

So let's start with the national "Odds of a Democratic Win" view:

 Dem 15 Sep 22 Sep 𝚫 Biden 99.8% 99.9% +0.1% Sanders 96.9% 95.3% -1.6% O'Rourke 80.8% 83.1% +2.3% Buttigieg 67.0% 66.5% -0.5% Warren 69.0% 62.4% -6.6% Harris 65.7% 54.7% -11.0%

The two that stand out here are Warren and Harris. The new polls this week hurt their win chances significantly. Harris is now looking only slightly better off than a coin toss in a race against Trump.

We'll look at each state to determine where these changes are coming from, but first, you can also see this pattern dramatically when looking at the "Median Case" from the Monte Carlo simulations.

In this view, you can see that the winning margins of every  Democratic candidate except O'Rourke have been decreasing lately. Including Biden.

A lot of the "movement" of these various lines up until now could still be attributed to actual 2020 polling replacing old elections in our state polling averages. We are getting to the point though where a lot (although not all) of the critical states are mostly 2020 polls.

So we may start seeing trends that represent real changes in public opinion. We will also begin to see what level of variability is just inherent in looking at the election this way. It may end up being "normal" that some of these lines bounce up and down quite a bit as we go along.

In the meantime though, time to look at the trends in each of the states where there was new polling over the last week. There are a lot, so I'll be brief.

California is so blue; it is mostly irrelevant to the national race. All of the Democrats have a 100% chance of winning California. It is notable though that all six candidates are doing even stronger in California than the historical average from the 2000 to 2016 elections. California is getting even bluer.

A lot of the win odds changes this week can be attributed to Texas. With the latest polling in Texas, the trend of each new poll moving the state further in the Democratic direction has ended. Biden and O'Rourke still improve slightly, but every other Democrat erodes. Along with Biden and O'Rourke, Sanders retains a lead. Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg not only lose Texas but the picture of them "making it close" is slipping. At least this week.

Florida is the other big state responsible for much of this week's changes. The only Democrats who did not weaken in Florida this week are the ones that were not in the polls. Florida has a lot of electoral votes, and Florida is close, so it has an outsized impact on the national picture.

The only mover this week in North Carolina is Biden, with his average moving to a greater than 5% lead for the first time. Trump leads all the other Democrats by narrow margins.

Arizona is another state where there is a big gap between Biden and the rest of the field. This week Biden took the lead in the Arizona poll average. Add Arizona to Texas as red states that flip, and you can see why Biden's national position remains so strong.  Sanders also makes Arizona close, but all of the other Democrats are hovering around the historical average, which is a Strong Republican win.

Missouri is clear red state, and with two polls so far this cycle, it just looks like it is getting redder.

At the same time, Colorado is getting bluer. Only Biden moves the state into Strong Democrat territory so far though. The other candidates still only have narrow leads in the polling average.

Kentucky is red and not in contention for 2020. With the small amount of polling so far though, Biden still does best, actually decreasing the Republican margin slightly. Not so much for the others.

Finally Maine. Maine is blue and does not look to be changing into anything else. With the first few polls, Biden looked like he might be making it even bluer than before. But as we stand today, all of the Democrats are pretty close to the historical average for the state.

And that is where things are this week.

408.0 days until polls start to close.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Some Dems Up, Some Dems Down

Since last week's update, there have been two new polls in Texas, and one each in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

For the six most polled Democrats against Trump (Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, and O'Rourke) this week saw the following category changes:

• Biden vs. Trump state category change: WI has moved from Strong Biden to Weak Biden
• Sanders vs. Trump state category change: MI has moved from Strong Sanders to Weak Sanders
• Warren vs. Trump state category change: PA has moved from Weak Warren to Weak Trump

Looking at how this impacted the national numbers:

In the "Expected Case" where every candidate wins every state they are ahead in, Pennsylvania moving from slightly Warren to slightly Trump means that Warren now only has a 12 electoral vote margin in this scenario.

Biden's lead dropping below 5% in Wisconsin, and Sander's lead dropping below 5% in Michigan meanwhile, improves Trump's "Best Case" (where he wins not only all of the states where he is ahead but also all the ones where he is behind by less than 5%) against both candidates.

As these five states moved around, several tipping points moved as well.

• Sanders vs. Trump tipping point change: Sanders by 1.3% in FL -> Sanders by 1.9% in TX
• O'Rourke vs. Trump tipping point change: O'Rourke by 2.1% in TX -> O'Rourke by 1.8% in TX
• Biden vs. Trump tipping point change: Biden by 4.9% in VA -> Biden by 4.6% in WI

The tipping point changes already make it clear that this was a mixed week. Some Democrats improved their positions against Trump; some moved in the opposite direction. This mix in the situation exists despite all of the actual category changes being in Trump's direction.

The movement within categories that starts to be shown by the tipping point is something we can see even better if we switch to the probabilistic simulation view:

 Dem 8 Sep 15 Sep 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 99.8% -0.1% Sanders 95.8% 96.9% +1.1% O'Rourke 80.0% 80.8% +0.8% Warren 71.1% 69.0% -2.1% Buttigieg 67.1% 67.0% -0.1% Harris 64.3% 65.7% +1.4%

There were a lot of mixed results in a lot of states this week. But when you balance it all out in terms of the odds of winning in the Electoral College:

• Harris, Sanders, and O'Rourke strengthened against Trump
• Warren, Biden, and Buttigieg weakened against Trump

Another way of looking at this is the median margins in the Monte Carlo simulations for each of the candidate combinations:

Unlike the categorization "Expected Case" view, where Harris narrowly loses to Trump, all six Democrats lead Trump in the probabilistic "Median Case."

Warren, Buttigieg, and Harris all lead by 30 or less electoral votes, though. In electoral vote terms, that is a very tight race. Any state with more than 15 electoral votes slipping to the other side of the centerline would switch the outcome.

O'Rourke, Sanders, and Biden, each, in turn, have more of a margin than the candidate before, so additional buffer. They can afford for more to go wrong before they lose.

Now, let's look at each of the five states that got polled this week.

Of the two polls in Texas, one matched other recent surveys and was mostly favorable to the Democrats. The other showed clear Republican leads.

The net impact of the two polls on the averages was that Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris continued improving in Texas, while Buttigieg and O'Rourke got a little weaker.

You do get one piece of oddness, though. I use the methodology I described in my Polling Error vs. Final Margin post to translate margins into odds of winning. When I use the straight-up unsmoothed numbers from the 2008 to 2016 elections, there are a few places where the relationship between the polling average and the win odds are not monotonic.

This behavior means that even though O'Rourke's polling average dropped from a 2.1% lead to a 1.8% lead, my computed "odds of winning Texas" for O'Rourke INCREASED from 66.4% to 68.2%.

Now, I could have smoothed the handful of places where this non-monotonic behavior occurs out of existence. But I chose when I first set up the odds based view to use the numbers that came straight out of my analysis of the previous election results without any further manipulation.

Given the historical data and the methodology I used, a 1.8% Democratic lead is indeed slightly more likely to win than a 2.1% Democratic lead. Of course, this does seem a little crazy and is quite possibly just an example of overfitting.

But it isn't a huge difference and occurs at only a few specific margin zones, so I'll leave it be.

We still end up with a situation where three of the six Democrats are leading in Texas though, and another two make it close.

Texas continues to be one of the most important states to watch.

Sanders improved slightly in Pennsylvania.

Warren lost her lead to Trump.

The poll did not include the others.

Biden, Sanders, and Warren all weaken against Trump in Michigan with this week's update.

The poll did not include the others.

Warren got stronger in Wisconsin.

Biden and Sanders got weaker.

The poll did not include the others.

Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris all got weaker in New Hampshire with the latest polling.

The poll did not include Buttigieg or O'Rourke.

And that's it for this week's update.

415.6 days until polls start to close.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Most Democrats Weaken in Wisconsin

Since last week's update, there was only one new state-level general election poll. The addition this week was a Marquette poll of Wisconsin.

There were no category changes based on these results.

Biden and Sanders continue to have strong leads in Wisconsin (more than a 5% margin but less than a 10% margin).

Meanwhile, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, and O'Rourke have weak leads (less than a 5% margin).

There has been some movement within the broader categories though, so let's take a look:

Marquette did not poll Buttigieg or O'Rourke, so their averages do not change.

Of the rest, only Sanders improved their Election Graphs average in Wisconsin, going from a 6.6% lead to a 6.8% lead.

Everybody else weakens.

Biden drops from a 7.2% lead to 6.4%.

Warren goes from a 3.3% lead to only 1.9%.

Harris goes from a 4.1% lead to just 1.4%.

In terms of winning odds, while every Democrat here is favored to win, we have a vast range.

Sanders is now best off with a 96.2% chance of winning Wisconsin.

Harris is weakest, with only a 62.3% chance of winning the state.

So, how does this change the national picture?

 Dem 1 Sep 8 Sep 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 99.9% Flat Sanders 95.7% 95.8% +0.1% O'Rourke 80.0% 80.0% Flat Warren 72.6% 71.1% -1.5% Buttigieg 67.1% 67.1% Flat Harris 67.9% 64.3% -3.6%

Even though Biden weakened a bit in Wisconsin, his overall position is strong enough that things look flat when rounding to the nearest 0.1%. But if you must know an additional digit after the decimal point, his national win chance in the Election Graphs simulation moves from about 99.89% to approximately 99.86%. But we don't deserve that additional digit. That is false precision. So it is flat.

Sanders, of course, has a small gain, while Warren and Harris both drop.

Harris is hurt the most by this week's polling and takes over from Buttigieg as the weakest of these six Democrats against Trump.

And that's it for this week.

422.0 days until polls start to close.

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 to go to a page with the current interactive versions of that 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.

## Missouri, Michigan, and Utah

Since last week's update, there has been new polling in Missouri, Michigan, and Utah.

The only category change coming out of this was that in a Harris vs. Trump race Missouri moves from Strong Trump (a 5% to 10% Trump lead) to Solid Trump (a greater than 10% Trump lead).

Looking more generally, the Democrats improve their leads in Michigan, Missouri looks redder than it did before, and Utah is still bright red but a little less so.

Looking at a national level, Harris, Warren, and Sanders improve their win probabilities against Trump in the probabilistic view. Everyone else is flat.

 Dem 25 Aug 1 Sep 𝚫 Biden 99.9% 99.9% Flat Sanders 95.5% 95.7% +0.2% O'Rourke 80.0% 80.0% Flat Warren 71.0% 72.6% +1.6% Harris 65.8% 67.9% +2.1% Buttigieg 67.1% 67.1% Flat

Now, let's look at the three states with new polls:

Biden and Sanders improve their polling averages noticeably with this new polling from EPIC-MRA. Warren and Harris also improve slightly. EPIC-MRA did not poll Buttigieg and O'Rourke.

Bottom line, Biden and Sanders continue to be in a position to easily win Michigan. The others are all leading, but narrowly, and the state would very much be in play.

This is the first 2020 polling for Missouri. RRG polled Biden, Sanders, O'Rourke, and Harris. It is actually an old poll from April, but it was new to Election Graphs this week.

In all four cases the averages moved in the Republican direction.

This first set of Missouri polling ranged from an 8% Trump win (against Biden) to a 16% Trump win (against Harris).  Only one poll so far, but it isn't looking like Missouri is one of those red states that is getting less red.

Utah, on the other hand, does look like a red state that might be getting a little less red. Maybe.

The first 2020 polling for Utah is from Y2 Analytics, and the sample sizes on their head-to-head matches are extraordinarily small (from 140 to 153), so you should take them with a massive pile of salt.

The average of the margins in Utah from 2000 to 2016 is a 36.1% Republican victory. Utah has not gone Democratic since Lyndon Johnson's 1964 landslide over Barry Goldwater. Utah is a VERY red state.

This new poll shows a range of results in our top six candidates from Sanders winning by 6%, to Buttigieg losing by 20%. Biden and Warren were within the margin of error of winning too.

Even that Buttigieg loss does better than the historical average. But Sanders WINNING? That is a very surprising result for Utah.

And, while he is not in the six most polled candidates against Trump, so we wouldn't usually mention it, Y2 also polled Booker against Trump, and had Booker beating Trump by 12%!

Frankly, these Utah results are tough to believe. It would take a lot more than one poll to make it reasonable to think that Utah was competitive for ANY of the Democratic candidates, let alone that one of them was leading by double digits.

Which is of course why you look at averages, not at individual polls. This Y2 poll when averaged in with the 2004 to 2016 elections, is enough for Election Graphs to put the poll average for the best of our six Democrats (Sanders) at a 26.8% Trump lead, which still translates into a 100% chance of Trump winning Utah.

(And for the record, Trump would lead Booker by 25.6%, also a 100% chance of Trump winning.)

If we get more Utah polls showing a close race, maybe this will change. But for the moment the weight of the historical averages means we treat this Y2 poll with extreme skepticism, and Utah remains a very very Red state.

And that's where things stand at the beginning of September.

429.2 days until polls start to close.