Mixed Messages

Time for another blog update. As always, if you are impatient for one of these updates, the 2020 pages on Election Graphs are updated nearly every day as new polls come in.

The last update here was 10 days ago on August 25th. If you didn't notice it at the time, please check that last post for a CORRECTION I added on the 26th. The fixes mentioned on that correction are the baseline used here, rather than the originally posted numbers.

Here are the high-level changes since that last post:

Model Metric 25 Aug 5 Sep 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Biden +6
Biden +146
Biden +288
TIED
Biden +220
Biden +288
Trump +6
Biden +74
FLAT
Tipping Point Biden +6.0% Biden +3.3% Trump +2.7%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Biden +50
Biden +148
Biden +258
Biden +38
Biden +152
Biden +254
Trump +12
Biden +4
Trump +4
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
0.1%
0.0%
99.9%
0.2%
0.1%
99.7%
+0.1%
+0.1%
-0.2%

This week's TL;DR: Biden is still significantly ahead, and if he wins every state where he leads the polls, he wins by a larger margin than before. However, he is has weakened in a lot of the close states, meaning Trump has more possible paths to a comeback than he did before, and Biden's lead is more precarious than it was.

A bunch of states moved in and out of "Weak Biden" and "Weak Trump" in these 10 days, so let's look at those first:

First up, Texas. The big one. The average in Texas has once again moved from just barely Trump, to just barely Biden. Biden now holds a thin 0.8% lead in our average. In terms of probabilities, we have it 54.2% Biden, 45.8% Trump. If the election was today.

Then Pennsylvania. Biden had been looking pretty strong there, with a lead as high as 7.0% as recently as August 25th. But Trump has gained since then, and Biden's lead here has slipped to only 3.3%, which translates into a 79.4% chance of winning. But Trump winning Pennsylvania is back on the table as a reasonable possibility.


Georgia is perpetually close, and once again crosses the centerline, this time moving from Biden to Trump. Election Graphs now has Trump leading by 1.5%, which is a 71.6% chance of a Trump victory.


Meanwhile, North Carolina goes the other way. After only a very short time on the Trump side, North Carolina is back to "Weak Biden", which is where it has been for most of the last few months. We have Biden up by 1.4%, which is a 63.3% chance of a Biden win.


Biden's lead in Arizona increases, moving it to the "Strong Biden" category. Biden now leads there by 5.7% in our average, which is a 93.5% chance of winning.


There have not been many Nevada polls. We have to go back almost 10 months to get the five polls for our average. But with the latest poll, Biden's lead jumps to 5.4% or a 92.5% chance of winning the state.

Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina crossed the center line. Texas (38 EV) and North Carolina (15 EV) moved toward Biden, while Georgia (16 EV) moved toward Trump. That is a net movement of 37 EV toward Trump, or a 74 EV increase in Biden's expected margin.

Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada on the other hand, impacted what we call Trump's "Best Case". That would be where he wins every single state that he leads our averages, plus every state where he is behind by less than 5%. Pennsylvania (20 EV) moved toward Trump, while Arizona (11 EV) and Nevada (6 EV) moved toward Biden, for a net improvement for Trump of 3 EV, or 6 EV of net margin.

In our categorization view, this ends up putting Trump's best case at an actual 269-269 tie, which would throw the election into the House of Representatives. To get to that Trump would need to win all that states he is ahead in, all five states where Biden is ahead by less than 5%, and also both Maine's 2nd congressional district and Nebraska's 2nd congressional district. But if that happened… tie.

As always though, we want to look beyond the simple categorization of states based on the averages. So a few more states to look at.

In addition to the states above that changed categories and stayed there, there were three additional states that moved in or out of "Weak Biden" and "Weak Trump", but then moved back again, leaving no net category change in the last 10 days, even though the actual average moved around a bit. In some cases, you can't even see the category change in the charts anymore, because the timing of the polls actually erased the change. But here they are anyway:

And finally, the locations with margins under 5% that didn't change categories at all this time around:

Putting all of this together into our probabilistic model, you get this trend:

Looking at the center median line, we can see a move toward Biden as the Democratic Convention happened, with that leveling off, then a move back toward Trump again starting as the Republican convention was going on. As of right now, Biden is a little bit better off in this view than he was right before the conventions started.

Basically though, we been in the same sort of range since the bigger movement toward Biden in June. The median has not left the Biden by 134 to Biden by 180 zone since the end of June.

We HAVE, on the other hand, seen the upper end of these probabilistic bands increase. These are the lines showing the best scenarios for Trump. They bounce around a lot but have generally been creeping upward since the end of June.

This basically indicates a pattern where Biden's electoral college lead has been pretty steady but has been getting more precarious, as leads in a variety of states diminish.

The simulations now have Biden at a 99.7% to win to Trump's 0.2%. The remaining 0.1% is that 269-269 tie possibility.

This is if the election was today of course, and the election is not today. I mentioned that the increases in the upper end of Trump's range indicate that perhaps Biden's lead is a little less solid than the margins would imply. This brings us to the tipping point:

Biden's tipping point has cratered since the conventions began, going from 6.5% on August 18th to only 3.3% now.

If Biden wins every state he leads, he wins by a very impressive 379 electoral votes to Trump's 159. That is a 220 EV margin. That would be a larger electoral college margin victory than any election since Clinton's defeat of Dole in 1996 with exactly that margin.

But Biden's margin in Pennsylvania, the state that currently puts him over the edge, is only 3.3%. You only need that small movement in the "Weak Biden" states to flip the election. Or a polling error of that magnitude.

In June we saw the tipping point move 5% in two weeks. We have just under two months left until the election.

(OK, if you look closely, you'll notice a 3.3% move would only get us to that 269-269 tie, it would currently take a 5.3% move to actually also flip Minnesota and have an outright Trump win, but the point stands…)

The RCP average of national polls currently shows a 7.0% Biden lead. Comparing to the 3.3% tipping point, this implies that the structure of the electoral college is currently giving Trump a 3.7% head start, up significantly from 1.6% in the last update. Like 2016 and 2000, the situation where Trump loses the popular vote but wins the electoral college is a live possibility.

The spectrum of states where the margin is less than 10% now looks like this:


To win, Trump needs all the close states. But all of those states are VERY close. It isn't that big of a stretch from where things are right now.

Now comparing to this time in 2016:

<59 Days Out> 2016 2020
Expected Case Clinton by 5 Biden by 220
Tipping Point Clinton by 0.9% Biden by 3.3%

This point in 2016 was Clinton's late-summer low point, before surging back to a strong lead in October, which then of course completely slipped away in the last month.

The best Clinton saw in the Expected Case in the last 59 days was a 154 electoral vote margin in October. Biden is a lot stronger than that at the moment.

Clinton's best Tipping Point in the last 59 days was 6.0% in early October though. Biden was stronger than that in mid-August, but he isn't anymore.

People argue that the presidential race is much more stable this year than it was in 2016. There are fewer undecided people. And both candidates have less "soft" support that can easily slip away. This does seem to be true. So maybe the chances of a lot of movement are less than there were.

But the amount of movement you need to change the outcome right now isn't all that large.

The map below is where things stand today. Keep watching!

59.0 days until the first results start coming in for Election 2020.

For more information:

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

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

Summer Doldrums

Time for another update for the blog. As always, if you are impatient for one of these updates, the 2020 pages on Election Graphs are updated nearly every day as new polls come in.

The last blog update was 8 days ago on August 9th.

Here are the high-level changes since then:

Model Metric 9 Aug 17 Aug 𝚫
Categories Trump Best
Expected
Biden Best
Trump +34
Biden +180
Biden +288
Biden +6
Biden +182
Biden +288
Biden +40
Biden +2
FLAT
Tipping Point Biden +4.2 Biden +5.9% Biden +1.7%
Probabilities Trump 2σ
Median
Biden 2σ
Biden +50
Biden +154
Biden +264
Biden +52
Biden +152
Biden +260
Biden +2
Trump +2
Trump +4
Trump Win
Tie
Biden Win
0.1%
0.0%
99.9%
0.1%
0.0%
99.9%
FLAT
FLAT
FLAT

The bottom line here is there is not much net change. If you had to pick a winner, Biden is a bit better off than when we made our last post. But really, things haven't moved all that much.

Let's start with the states that actually moved in or out of the "Weak Biden" and "Weak Trump" categories in our categorization view.

There were three:

After a brief foray into "Weak Biden" territory, Biden's lead in Pennsylvania increased once again to over 5%, moving the state to our "Strong Biden" category, and removing winning Pennsylvania from what we call Trump's "best case".

With this Trump's best case margin drops 40 electoral votes from a 34 electoral vote win to a 6 electoral vote loss.

As of our last update, Georgia had moved from just barely Biden to just barely Trump. It didn't last long. Georgia is now once again just barely Biden. "Just barely" is critical here of course. It is really just too close to call.

North Carolina had been in the "Weak Biden" category since June, but Trump has led the latest batch of polls and thus has pulled North Carolina back to his side of the line. Narrowly. Once again, the truth is the state is too close to call.

With the Georgia move, Biden's margin increased by 32 electoral votes. But the North Carolina move took away 30 of that. So the net change is a 2 electoral vote improvement for Biden in the "expected case" where every candidate wins exactly the list of states they lead in the Election Graphs averages.

The change in the expected case and in Trump's best case can be seen in the chart above.

Before we look at the probabilistic views, here is a quick no-commentary rundown of all of the other close states (and congressional districts that give electoral votes):

Putting all of this together into our probabilistic model, you get this trend:

Looking at the center median line, where half the simulated election results were better for Biden, and half were better for Trump, Biden's most recent peak was a 180 electoral vote margin on July 31st. Since then he has slipped down to a 152 electoral vote margin. So the recent movement has been against Biden.

Maybe this trend will continue. Or maybe things will bounce back in Biden's direction again. In this view, it now looks like things have been staying within a fairly narrow band since the end of June. But we're now at the upper end of that band. Trump may break out.

Conventional wisdom is that there are "convention bounces". And we are about to enter two weeks of political conventions. But this year the conventions are essentially back to back. So if there are such bounces, the Trump bounce may just cancel out the Biden bounce too quickly to even be measured reliably in state-level views such as we have on Election Graphs.

The conventions do however tend to be the point at which both campaigns go into overdrive and non-political folks finally start paying attention to the race. So it would not be surprising to have significant events that move the needle.

As usual, we'll just have to wait and see.

My simulations still have Biden at a 99.9% chance to win. This graph has been quite boring for some time now because Biden has the blue pegged up against the 100% line.

As always, the important caveat that this is if the election was today, which it is not.

There is time for this to change. So how secure is the Biden lead?

Biden's tipping point lead had dropped down to 4.6%, but it has rebounded to 5.9%. This number basically represents how much polls would have to change nationally to flip the winner if the change was uniform across all states.

By comparison, the RCP average of national polls is currently at a 7.5% Biden lead. So it would take a 7.5% move for Trump to win the popular vote, but only a 5.9% move for Trump to win the electoral college. This implies that the structure of the electoral college is currently giving Trump a 1.6% head start.

It is tempting to concentrate on the states that are currently closest. At the moment that would be Iowa, Maine CD2, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. But at the moment if Biden won those states it would just be gravy on top of a win that had already been secured. And if Trump won those states, it would not be enough to win the election.

The battle for winning the election is around the tipping point. You want to be as far ahead as possible in the states near the tipping point. That is how you secure the win, and that is generally where most efforts should be concentrated.

Right now, Pennsylvania is the tipping point. Adding in the two states on either side, you bring in Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Florida.

This is part of why you see tons of polls in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin even though none of those are particularly close at the moment. And of course, Florida, since it is not that far off from the tipping point, AND it is close at the moment.

It does not however explain why there have only been five polls in Nevada in the LAST YEAR. Come on people! Can we get some polls in Nevada?

Anyway… you can see how the tipping point fits in with all the other states in the current spectrum of the states in contention:

So yeah. As with 2016, watching Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania makes sense.

Arizona? Georgia? Ohio? Iowa? North Carolina? Texas?

Those are "stretch goals" for Biden. Great as a bonus, but he needs to concentrate on the bread and butter first.

By contrast, Trump NEEDS all those states… plus some. At the moment Trump can once again win ALL of the close states and still fall slightly short. He needs to also bring Pennsylvania back into the fold to win.

How do the metrics compare to where things were at this time in 2016?

<79 Days Out> 2016 2020
Expected Case Clinton by 86 Biden by 182
Tipping Point Clinton by 3.0% Biden by 5.9%

By both metrics, Biden is doing significantly better than Clinton was at the same point in the race four years ago.

The best Clinton saw in the Expected Case in the last 79 days was a 178 electoral vote margin near the end of August. Biden is slightly ahead of that mark as well.

Clinton's best Tipping Point in the last 79 days was 6.0% though, which she didn't hit until October. Biden is below that level, and that 6.0% tipping point lead disappeared in less than a month in 2016.

So that serves as the usual warning of how quickly things can change.

Finally, the current map:

78.7 days until polls start to close on election night, and the conventions are about to begin. The race is about to go into overdrive. Buckle up!

For more information:

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

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

Trump Narrows The Gap

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

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

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

It has been 16 days, how much has changed?

First the summary table of changes:

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

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

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

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

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

So which specific states changed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not all of the movement was bad for Biden.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that is if the election was today.

How vulnerable is that lead?

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

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

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

So how does this look compared to 2016?

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

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

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

Now the spectrum of battleground states :

Here is what it looked like in our last update:

And here it is today:

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

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

Finally, the current map:

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

For more information:

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

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

Biden Plateau?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can see that clearly on the chart:

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

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

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

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

In order from biggest to smallest:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biden continues to be significantly stronger than Clinton was.

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

Here is what it looked like in our last update:

And here is how it looks today:

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

Finally, the current map:

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

For more information:

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

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

Trump Collapsing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In order from biggest to smallest:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is what it looked like in our last update:

And here is how it looks today:

Things are getting bluer.

To close things out, the current map:

And that is where we are.

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

125.7 days until polls start to close.

For more information:

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

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

Ups and Downs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The tipping point is also moving back toward Biden again:

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

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

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

How does this look in our views?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And of course the current map:

And that is where we are.

138.7 days until polls start to close.

For more information:

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

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

Small Improvements for Trump

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

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

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

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

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

This is due to Ohio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right now these are the battlegrounds:

And this is the map:

154.7 days until polls start to close on election night.

For more information:

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

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

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.

For more information:

This post is an update based on the data on the Election Graphs Electoral College 2020 page. Election Graphs tracks a poll-based estimate of the Electoral College. The charts, graphs, and maps in the post above are all as of the time of this post. Click through on any image 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
  • Leading, but narrowly: Warren
  • 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.

For more information:

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

For more information:

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