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.

Biden's lead deteriorated significantly.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Good Polling Week For Democrats

Since last week's update, there have been new polls in Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona.

There was only one category change. Biden's poll average in Nevada moved from a 4.5% lead to a 6.2% lead which changed the state from Weak Biden to Strong Biden in the Election Graphs categorizations.

This change drops Trump's best case in the categorization view to a 26 electoral vote win over Biden as Nevada is moved out of the list of potential Trump wins:

The Biden vs. Trump tipping point also shifted from a 3.4% Biden lead in Maine's 2nd congressional district to a 4.9% Biden lead in Virginia.

But taking into account the polling changes in all three states, and looking at the probabilistic model, of the six most polled Democrats against Trump, five improved their odds of winning the electoral college.

The only exception was O'Rourke. None of the new polls included him. Again.

Dem 18 Aug 25 Aug 𝚫
Biden 99.7% 99.9% +0.2%
Sanders 94.1% 95.5% +1.4%
O'Rourke 80.0% 80.0% Flat
Warren 67.6% 71.0% +3.4%
Buttigieg 63.2% 67.1% +3.9%
Harris 62.9% 65.8% +2.9%

The odds favor all of the Democrats over Trump at this point.  There is a massive spread between the extremes, however. At the low-end, Harris loses about a third of the simulated elections to Trump. Meanwhile at the high-end Biden looks very solid indeed with that 99.9%.

As usual, disclaimers are essential. What we see NOW may not resemble what things look like by the time we get to the Iowa caucuses, let alone by the time we get to Election Day 2020.

Although as every day passes, this is less true, many people still are not paying close attention to this contest, and many people don't know much about Harris and Buttigieg and some of the others. Name recognition and the intensity of the coverage does matter, and that will all ramp up as voting approaches.

Perhaps even more importantly, the general election campaign itself won't go into full swing until it looks like the winning candidates on both sides are inevitable, and that will make a huge difference. For instance, I would be surprised to see that 99.9% for Biden survive contact with an all-out assault from the Republican side.

With that said, let's look at the three states individually:

Biden is the only candidate breaking out in Arizona. The polling average still shows a Trump lead, but the three actual 2020 polls so far show one tie and two Biden leads. The state is held on the red side by the Republican wins in 2012 and 2016. At the very least though, it is clear that Biden puts Arizona into contention.

Warren's poll average has also improved a little bit on the 2000-2016 average Republican win margin of 7.6%, but she has yet to show a single poll with her leading Trump.

The other four have barely moved the needle. And Sanders and Harris are doing worse in Arizona than the historical average.

The difference between Biden and the others is even starker when you look at the chart showing the odds of winning Arizona:

Biden is now up to a 31.8% chance of winning Arizona. The other five candidates range from an 0.3% chance (Sanders) to a 1.8% chance (Warren).

Unlike Texas, where it looks like all the Democrats are making the state look bluer, Arizona is much more selective.

The Emerson poll this week is the very first Colorado polling for 2020. Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg all lead Trump by more than 5% in the new poll. Harris leads by a narrower 3%.

In all of these cases, the average drops significantly in the blue direction, because it is the 2000 election results that are falling off the average, where the Republican won by an 8.4% margin.

One poll is not enough to move the state out of the "Weak Democrat" category though. But if the next Colorado results are similar to these, the next election to drop off the average will be the 4.7% Republican win in 2004 and the state will probably move to "Strong Democrat" at that point.

Looking at the odds view though, you can see that even the move from this one new poll makes a big difference. With just the average of the last five elections as the poll average, we put the Democratic chance of winning Colorado at 58.4%. An advantage, but just barely.

With this first 2020 poll, excluding O'Rourke since no pollster included him, the Democrats range from an 81.2% chance of winning the state (Harris) to a 90.9% chance (Biden).

All the Democrats improved their averages in Nevada except for Buttigieg.

Biden is the standout, moving into "Strong Biden" territory, with his 6.2% margin translating into a 94.8% win chance. The other Democrats range from a 70.6% chance to win (Warren) to an 88.2% chance to win (Sanders).

And that is where we are this week.

436.1 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.

Muddled Week

Since last week's update, there have been new polls in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Alaska, and Washington.

In terms of category changes:

  • NH has moved from Strong Warren to Weak Warren
  • NC has moved from Weak Sanders to Weak Trump

That's it.

Biden's tipping point also moved from a 3.9% lead to a 3.4% lead.

All three of these changes are moves in Trump's direction. But if you look at the more granular changes, things are muddled, and it seems like a pretty flat week overall.

The national "win odds" from the probabilistic model now look like this:

In terms of changes since we looked last week:

Dem 11 Aug 18 Aug 𝚫
Biden 99.8% 99.7% -0.1%
Sanders 94.8% 94.1% -0.7%
O'Rourke 80.0% 80.0% Flat
Warren 65.8% 67.6% +1.8%
Buttigieg 62.4% 63.2% +0.8%
Harris 63.7% 62.9% -0.8%

Warren and Buttigieg improve a little bit.

Biden, Sanders, and Harris weaken a bit.

Harris drops to being the weakest of these six candidates against Trump.

O'Rourke doesn't move. But that is because none of the four polls this week even bothered to include him. Oops.

Let's look at each of these four states:

Biden is the only Democrat with a lead in North Carolina.

Before the Civitas poll added this week, Sanders had a very narrow lead in North Carolina as well. But although the Civitas poll was RELEASED this week, it had an earlier mid-date than the SurveyUSA poll that had given Sanders that lead last week, and so the Civitas poll (which showed a Trump lead) essentially erased that change from the chart.

The rest of the Democrats all lose to Trump, but narrowly.

The trends all show the Democrats generally improving as more polls come in though.

Except for Harris. She is getting weaker in North Carolina.

The Zogby poll added this week is the first general election polling for Washington State. Washington is a very blue state. But all five Democrats polled move the polling average to be even bluer than the 2000-2016 historical average.

It is of note that this is one of the very few states where Sanders does better against Trump than Biden does.

As usual, though, those two do noticeably better than the other Democrats.

Biden and Sanders have strong leads over Trump in New Hampshire. The other Democrats also lead, but by more narrow margins. The general trend as new polling comes in is toward the Democrats though.

Except for Warren's recent move in the other direction.

These are the very first Alaska polls this cycle.

Alaska is a very red state. But all five Democrats polled improve their Election Graphs averages over the historical average of the 2000-2016 elections that I use as a starting point before there are any polls.

As usual, Biden does best against Trump, followed by Sanders.

But Alaska is still a very red state.

And that is where things stand this week.

443.0 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.

Blue Texas?!?

I hate to talk about Texas two posts in a row, but even though there have been polls in California, North Carolina, and North Dakota since the last update as well, once again the most significant changes are in Texas. The two new polls in Texas continued to move things toward the Democrats.

In Texas, Harris did move within 5% of Trump in the Election Graphs average. This change leaves Buttigieg the only one of the six most polled Democrats where Trump has a Texas lead more than 5%.

More notably though, with this set of polls, the lead flips over to the Democratic side for Biden, Sanders, and O'Rourke.

Now, this very well may be transient. These leads may well evaporate long before the election. At the moment, though, three of the top six Democrats are LEADING in Texas.

That is remarkable.

At the moment, O'Rourke has the most significant margin of the three. He has a 2.1% lead. Which to be clear, is a very narrow lead. It translates into a 66.4% chance of winning the state, compared to 33.6% for Trump. But still. For now, it makes Texas notably blue on my national O'Rourke vs. Trump map:

After last week's update, I got a comment on Facebook saying one of the recent polls looked like an outlier. Even at the time, it only looked like an outlier for some candidate pairings, not for others, but let's look at what things look like now for each of the three Democrats showing a lead in Texas.

First Biden vs. Trump: It is hard to tell just visually which are the last five polls that are included in the average because the 5th and 6th oldest polls are close together in time, but number five is the one with a 7% Trump lead. That was a poll from WPA Intelligence back in April, and if anything, THAT is the recent poll that looks like an outlier. If you excluded that poll, the average of the last five polls would be a 2.1% Biden lead instead of the 0.5% lead he has.

UT Tyler is responsible for two of the polls in the average because they polled Texas right before and right after the second Democratic Debates. But even accounting for that there looks to be plenty of evidence from multiple pollsters at this point that Biden is leading Trump in Texas at the moment.

Now Sanders vs. Trump: Every single one of the polls from the last year shows a close race for this paring. Three show Trump with a small lead. Three show Sanders slightly ahead. Of the five that go into the Election Graphs average, three have Sanders ahead. These three are the most recent. Two of these three are from UT Tyler. But there are also two Emerson polls in the five poll average.

Overall, showing Sanders with an 0.5% lead seems reasonable here.

Sanders matches Biden with that 0.5% lead. In both cases, this is just barely a lead. It translates into a 51.1% chance of the Democrat winning, vs. 48.9% for Trump based on historical Election Graphs results. So it is essentially a coin toss.

Finally O'Rourke vs. Trump: If we look at all the polls this year, the two that look like outliers are the Atlantic poll from January showing Trump ahead by 13%, and the UT Tyler poll from July showing O'Rourke ahead by 11.2%. The Atlantic one is already out of the five poll average. If you take out that UT Tyler poll (leaving the other UT Tyler poll that shows a 5.7% O'Rourke lead) and average the last five polls other than that one, O'Rourke's 2.1% lead disappears, and you have a 0.3% lead for Trump instead.

So of these three, O'Rourke's lead, while the biggest, seems the most likely to be due to an outlier result rather than a real edge.

Let's look at the comparison of all six democrats against Trump:

The leads by Biden, Sanders, and O'Rourke may not be real. Or they may be temporary, something that will be gone as soon as we have a few more polls. And even if they are not imaginary, they are very narrow leads.

But five of the six best polled Democrats are making Texas look like it is in contention. And the 6th isn't far behind. That is the real story of Texas at the moment.

It is in play in a way it hasn't been in decades.

Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris all improved with this week's North Carolina poll as well, with Sanders now joining Biden with leads in the Election Graphs averages over Trump.

As one might guess, the new polls in North Dakota and California didn't change what you would expect of those two states.

Between Texas and North Carolina, there is a pretty significant impact on the national picture:

On the straight-up "Expected Case" where each candidate wins every state they lead the Election Graphs poll average, you can see the improvements for Biden and O'Rourke as they take the lead in Texas, and for Sanders, as he takes the lead in both Texas and North Carolina.

By this way of looking at things, out of these six Democrats, all except Harris are now ahead in the Electoral College view, with Harris losing to Trump by six electoral votes.

Looking at the more sophisticated probabilistic model, we can see that all six Democrats win in the median case. Biden, Sanders, and O'Rourke win by a bit larger margins, while Warren, Buttigieg, and Harris are all bunched up together with relatively narrow wins.

The median, of course, doesn't tell the whole story.

As of this week, the candidate detail pages now all show charts showing the likely ranges of Electoral College results given the results of our probabilistic model.

The exact distributions are very spiky, with certain electoral college margins being much more likely than others right next to them due to how state distributions work. You can see an example distribution based on 2016 data on this post from January describing the Monte Carlo methods I'm using in my model.

I've considered a couple of different visualizations of the exact distribution, and may still do that in the future if I have time, but for now, I thought it would be more useful to show a simplified version highlighting "zones" of likelihood.

The dark line in the center is the median.

The darkest band includes 1σ (68.27%) of the simulation outcomes.

The next darkest band includes 2σ (95.45%) of the results.

And the lightest band includes 3σ (99.73%) of them.

So basically, the darker the color band, the more likely the result.

You can see the 3σ band only barely includes the possibility of a Trump victory.

Compare this with how this chart looks for Buttigieg, currently the weakest of these six candidates:

While Biden shows relentless improvement across all bands as additional polling comes in, Buttigieg's median stays just about constant, while all of the probability zones widen. Buttigieg's median result is not doing any better or any worse as we get more polls and time progresses, but the uncertainty on how Buttigieg would do is increasing.

Looking at these probability band trends tells you a lot more than just looking at the medians.

Of course, you can also look at the simulation and count the wins on each side, and the number of 269-269 ties, and then come up with the odds for each of those events. That's where all the probabilistic results I've mentioned in the last few updates have come from, but now there are charts for that too. Looking again at Biden and Buttigieg as examples:

You can see that as more and more polling has come in, Biden has increased his chance of winning, to the point where it is now nearly 100%. (Insert at this point the usual caveats about how long it is until the election and how much can change.)

Meanwhile, Buttigieg has not done that. Chances of a Trump win over Buttigieg have increased as more polling has come in.

Those are the two new graph types I added this week. I hope you like them.

Lets put this all together by looking at the comparisons of the odds for each of the Democrats against Trump.

To keep the same "Down good for Democrat. Up good for Republican" orientation, we would look at the odds of a Republican win. It looks like this:

Given that we have the same Republican in all six cases though, it has been somewhat handier to look at the odds of the Democrat winning.

So let's flip it over.

Because there is a non-zero and changing chance of a 269-269 tie in all of these cases, these aren't quite exactly just the same graph reversed top to bottom. They differ by the width of the white strip of ties in the two previous charts. But it is close.

You can see the jumps up with Sanders and O'Rourke based on the batch of new polling in this update. The polls were good for Biden too, but he has very little room left to improve in this view.

Let's look at the table:

Dem 3 Aug 11 Aug 𝚫
Biden 99.6% 99.8% +0.2%
Sanders 89.0% 94.8% +5.8%
O'Rourke 64.7% 80.0% +15.3%
Warren 58.2% 65.8% +7.6%
Harris 62.2% 63.7% +1.5%
Buttigieg 62.9% 62.4% -0.5%

The big gainers this last week were O'Rourke, Warren, and Sanders.

Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg are still only a little better than tossups against Trump, while Biden, Sanders, and O'Rourke look like clear favorites.

450.7 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.

Whoa, Look at Texas

Since the last update (not counting the update about new graphs) there have been new polls in Maine (All), South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, and North Dakota.

Of those, only Texas and Michigan resulted in category changes for any of the six best-polled candidate pairs.

In Michigan, Buttigieg moved from a 6.4% lead to a weak 2.8% lead in the Election Graphs average.

In Texas, Sanders, Warren, and O'Rourke pulled Trump's lead down under 5% into the "weak" category in the Election Graphs average. Biden had already gotten there back in June.

Texas is the headline.

Trump's lead in Texas in the Election Graphs average is now down to under 5% for four of the six most polled Democrats against him. Only Buttigieg and Harris lag. But even they are trending stronger as more polls come in.

None of the averages show a Democratic lead in Texas. That would be seismic. However, at this point five of the six Democrats have at least one poll showing them ahead in Texas. (The exception is Buttigieg.)

Nobody would call Texas blue at this point. But it is trending purple. We have enough polls for enough candidates showing only narrow Republican leads (or even Democratic leads) to say that it looks competitive.

Now, what does competitive mean? Let's look at the "odds" view, where we use the historical performance of final Election Graphs averages to convert the poll margins into odds of victory:

Democrats making Texas "close" essentially means Trump has a noticeably less than 100% chance of winning.

Of these six Democrats, Buttigieg is weakest…  with Trump still having a 99.2% chance of winning the state.

Biden is strongest, but Trump still has a 64.6% chance of winning Texas against him.

Now, that means Biden has a 35.4% shot, which is remarkable given where Texas has been in other cycles. But Trump is still favored.

Now is the time to once again mention that Election Graphs does not model how the race evolves. These "odds" are static snapshots in time. "If the election was today." The election is not even remotely today. Polls can swing wildly in just a matter of weeks, let alone the 15 months we still have until the general election.

This "closeness" in Texas could evaporate long before we get to November 2020. Or it could turn into a Democratic lead.

But it is clear that Texas is a state to watch, and Republicans will need to play defense there, and not take it for granted, as has often been the case in recent cycles.

Now, the national picture, where all the caveats above also apply:

This batch of polls changed the "Best Case" scenarios for Sanders, Warren, and O'Rourke in the category based ranges (their best cases now include winning Texas). But the "Expected Case" and "Tipping Point" did not change.

However, the new probabilistic based simulations do show changes worth reviewing.

This first chart shows the "median case" of the simulations, the spot where half the time the Republican does better, and half the time the Democrat does better.

Biden doing better than the rest of the pack stands out clearly. His median case is a 126 electoral vote margin over Trump. To put this in historical context, this would exactly match Obama's 2012 margin over Romney but be quite a bit less than Obama's 2008 margin over McCain.

Sanders also breaks out from the pack, doing considerably better than the other Democrats.

Both Biden and Sanders have improved their median positions significantly over the last few weeks covered by this batch of new polls.

Meanwhile, Warren, Buttigieg, O'Rourke, and Harris stay within a zone maintaining only small electoral college margins in the median case.

So, switching from looking at margins to looking at chances of winning:

Biden is pegged near the top right now. 99.6% chance of victory over Trump. There isn't that much room to improve, although weaker polls could certainly knock him off this pedestal.

Sanders clocks in second at an 89.0% chance of beating Trump.

Looking at the others, while they do have the upper hand on Trump, if this were election day, it wouldn't be fair to say it was anything other than "too close to call" with odds ranging from Warren at 58.2% to O'Rourke at 64.7%.

Election Graphs didn't have a probabilistic view in 2016, but the median "chance of Trump winning" from the sites that did was 14% going into Election Day. Only Biden and Sanders push Trump below that line at the moment.

So how have things been changing?

Comparing the odds of the Democrat winning from the update on June 23rd to where things stand now, we see this:

Dem 23 Jun 3 Aug 𝚫
Biden 99.4% 99.6% +0.2%
Sanders 86.0% 89.0% +3.0%
Buttigieg 65.5% 62.9% -2.6%
Harris 62.3% 62.2% -0.1%
O'Rourke 50.5% 64.7% +14.2%
Warren 53.2% 58.2% +5.0%

The stand out is, of course, O'Rourke. His improvement is almost all due to his performance in the latest Texas poll, which was better than all other Democrats, and significantly better than his previous polling in the state as well. So he adds to his chances of winning Texas, which while still under 50%, is enough to boost his chances of taking the whole thing significantly.

Warren and Sanders also improved a bit. Buttigieg dropped a bit. And Biden and Harris are essentially flat.

Finally, a quick preview of a new chart type coming soon to Election Graphs:

It is the equivalent of the Electoral College trend chart based on the straight-up categorization of states based on who is ahead, but with the results of the probabilistic modeling.

The dark line represents the median electoral college result in the simulation. Then the bands represent result ranges at different levels of probability. The deeper the shade, the more likely the result.

This is a visual representation of the single candidate time series of the probabilistic summary now on the comparison page:

The text summary will also, of course, be added to the candidate national summary pages once I get a chance.

I also added little circles in a lot of the time series charts to highlight the current values better. I think it makes the charts clearer. Hope you like them.

In any case… 458.1 days until polls start to close. 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 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 Dems improve against Trump while Buttigieg weakens

Since the last update, there have been new polls in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida (x2), and North Carolina.

With this update, Buttigieg vs. Trump has now replaced Harris vs. Trump in the "five best-polled candidate combinations" that I'll spend time on in these posts. The new list is Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, Sanders, and O'Rourke all paired against Trump.

With this latest batch of polls, we have the following changes:

National:

  • Trump best case vs. Warren has changed: Warren 214 to Trump 324 -> Warren 204 to Trump 334
  • Warren vs. Trump tipping point change: Trump by 0.1% in VA -> Warren by 0.5% in FL
  • Warren vs. Trump expected case change: Warren 266 to Trump 272 -> Warren 295 to Trump 243
  • Buttigieg vs. Trump tipping point change: Buttigieg by 1.1% in IA -> Buttigieg by 0.6% in PA
  • Sanders vs. Trump tipping point change: Sanders by 1% in IA -> Sanders by 1.3% in FL
  • Sanders vs. Trump expected case change: Sanders 272 to Trump 266 -> Sanders 301 to Trump 237
  • O'Rourke vs. Trump tipping point change: Trump by 0.5% in FL -> Trump by 0.3% in FL

Wisconsin:

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

Florida:

  • Sanders vs. Trump state category change: FL has moved from Weak Trump to Weak Sanders
  • Warren vs. Trump state category change: FL has moved from Weak Trump to Weak Warren

OK, now on to the graphs… national first:

In the expected case, Warren and Sanders improve.

Notably, Warren moves from losing to winning with this update.

Biden continues to do the best of the five Democrats, while O'Rourke does worst.

In the tipping point Warren, Sanders, and O'Rourke improve, while Buttigieg weakens.

Once again, you can see Warren crossing the center line to the winning side of the field.

And once again Biden does best, while O'Rourke does worst.

Now let's look at all of the states that had new polls in this batch:

In Florida, O'Rourke and Buttigieg are losing to Trump. Biden, Warren, and Sanders are beating him. As usual, Biden is doing better than the other Democrats. But every single matchup here is close. As usual, Florida is a battleground state.

Biden has a healthy lead in Pennsylvania. O'Rourke is behind Trump. All the rest of these five Democrats are in the lead over Trump, but they have narrow edges.

In Michigan, Biden is doing best. Warren is doing worst. Strong leads for Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg. Warren and O'Rourke ahead by narrower margins. But all five leading Trump.

Biden is the only Democrat leading Trump in North Carolina. But all five would make it a close race. North Carolina is definitely in play at the moment.

In Wisconsin, Biden is doing best, O'Rourke is doing worst. Biden and Sanders have strong leads. Buttigieg, Warren, and O'Rourke are only weakly ahead. But all five lead Trump.

Kentucky is very very solidly red. With the very first Kentucky poll of the cycle, it looks like it may be even redder this time around than the average of the last five elections.

OK, finally, the odds based view of the national race. I haven't managed to make this view live on the site with graphs and all yet, but I'll at least provide updates here.

Democrat Dem Odds Trump Odds Tie Odds
Biden 99.4% 0.4% 0.1%
Sanders 86.0% 13.2% 0.8%
Buttigieg 65.5% 33.2% 1.2%
Warren 53.2% 44.9% 1.9%
O'Rourke 50.5% 47.8% 1.7%

For those missing Harris, since she dropped off my top five, she's now at a 62.3% chance of winning.

It remains striking what a vast range there is between Biden on the one end of this spectrum and O'Rourke on the other.

As always, the caveat that things can and will change, but if the election was today, Biden looks about as close to a sure thing as you can get (much stronger than the median odds based view Clinton had, which was at about 86% on election day), while meanwhile, O'Rourke looks like a coin toss.

If this is primarily due to name recognition and the main deciding factor for voters is simply Trump vs. non-Trump, you should see the divergence between various Democrats reduce over the next few months as people get to know some of the lesser-known Democrats.

If on the other hand, these kinds of differences persist as we get closer to the Iowa caucuses, then there are lots of people out there where the choice of Democrat does indeed influence them on their final vote. In this case, "electability" becomes a valid criterion for Democrats to consider when making their choices in the primaries and caucuses.

3.1 days until the first Democratic debate.

499.1 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.

Biden makes NC blue, mixed changes in MI, and what about TX?

Not counting the post about new features, there have been new polls in Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas since the last update.

For the five best-polled candidate pairs (Biden, Sanders, O'Rourke, Warren, and Harris versus Trump), there were only Election Graph status changes in North Carolina and Michigan. We'll summarize them up top, then start looking at specific graphs for more detail.

North Carolina:

  • Biden vs. Trump:
    • State category change: NC has moved from Weak Trump to Weak Biden
    • Expected case change: Biden 284 to Trump 254 -> Biden 299 to Trump 239
    • Tipping point change: Biden by 0.3% in OH -> Biden by 1.9% in NC

Michigan

  • Sanders vs. Trump:
    • State category change: MI has moved from Weak Sanders to Strong Sanders
    • Trump best case vs. Sanders has changed: Sanders 214 to Trump 324 -> Sanders 230 to Trump 308
  • Warren vs. Trump:
    • State category change: MI has moved from Strong Warren to Weak Warren
    • Trump best case vs. Warren has changed: Warren 230 to Trump 308 -> Warren 214 to Trump 324
  • Harris vs. Trump:
    • State category change: MI has moved from Strong Harris to Weak Harris
    • Trump best case vs. Harris has changed: Harris 216 to Trump 322 -> Harris 200 to Trump 338

Let's look first at Biden in North Carolina:

The election graphs average now contains 4 actual 2020 polls, plus the 2016 election results. Of the four actual Biden vs. Trump polls, three show Biden leading. Together this pulls the average back to the blue side of the fence. (It was there before for a bit, just barely, back in January and February.) Biden now leads in the average by 1.9%, which based on Election Graphs history translates into about a 67% chance of winning the state if the election was today.

Looking at a wider range of candidates, Biden continues to do significantly better than any of the other Democrats against Trump. For Michigan, three candidates changed categories, so I'll skip the individual candidate charts and move straight to the comparison chart:

The Michigan comparison chart is messy. No question about that. In these latest changes, Sanders improved his average dramatically, while both Warren and Harris slipped significantly.

Now, the range within all these candidates is from Sanders having a lead of 7.3% to Harris, who is leading by 3.9%. So a 3.4% range. Not that large, right? Well, let's look at it converted into win odds:

With an odds based view, Sanders has a 98.9% chance of winning Michigan, while Harris only has an 83.2% chance. OK, that still doesn't sound like THAT big a difference, they are both pretty high.

But if you look at it as Trump's chance of winning, it goes from 1.1% against Sanders, to 16.8% against Harris. These are just the same numbers looked at a different way, but this way of looking at it makes the difference a lot clearer. Trump's chances in Michigan (based on current polling data) are much better against Harris than they are against Sanders.

A small difference in the poll averages can make a massive difference in the odds. The closer the state is, the more dramatic this impact is.

OK. The polls in the other two did not result in category changes, but we'll look at them quickly anyway.

Despite being large and usually very close, very few organizations have polled Florida so far. Of the five matchups shown here, we have two polls of Biden vs. Trump. We have one survey each for Sanders, Warren, and Harris vs. Trump. And O'Rourke vs. Trump hasn't been polled at all.

Given that, there isn't much to say about Florida yet. So far, Trump still beats all five Democrats. Biden does best. Harris does worst. But it is still very early, and we need more polls.

Ah. Texas. The most recent survey here was a Quinnipiac poll released on June 5th. That has resulted in a lot of conversation, because every Democrat they polled was within the margin of error of Trump, and Biden was beating Trump. Of course, you should never look at just a single poll. But look at the poll averages above.

The movement here does not represent changes in the opinion of Texans over the first half of 2019. What this does show are actual 2020 polls slowly taking over the average from the prior assumptions based on previous election cycles. As 2020 polls filter in, the poll averages have been rushing toward the Democrats.

None of these lines have flipped to a "Blue Texas" as of now though.

The Republicans still lead.

Looking at the odds view, only Biden has started to break out from the "extreme long shot" zone. He's now at a 30.9% chance of winning Texas.

You should still bet on Trump to win Texas, but at this point, it is already clear that Texas is looking a lot closer in 2020 than it has in previous election cycles.

Switching to the national view, a quick look at the expected case comparison:

Biden still looks best against Trump, O'Rourke looks worst against Trump.

And the tipping point:

After a brief time with Sanders having the best tipping point against Trump, Biden once again is doing best. And as with the expected case, O'Rourke looks worse.

While I don't have the statistics and graphs live on the website yet, I've started to do some offline Monte Carlo simulations of the whole country based on the state poll averages and the statistics for how well election graphs averages have done over the last three election cycles.

I think it is time to share a bit of that.

Before I present these, please remember that these are "if the election was held today" numbers, based on polling that is still very sparse.

These can and will change dramatically during the many months before the election.

First, let's look at Biden versus Trump and how it was changed by these four polls, in order by the mid-date of their field dates, which is how Election Graphs orders polls:

Timeframe Biden Odds Trump Odds Tie Odds
Before polls 83.4% 15.6% 0.9%
After FL poll 87.4% 11.9% 0.8%
After MI poll 86.6% 12.6% 0.8%
After TX poll 89.9% 9.5% 0.6%
After NC poll 93.4% 6.2% 0.4%

You can see here that each of these individual polls noticeably changed the picture for Biden versus Trump. Collectively, this was a good polling week for Biden, significantly strengthening his position.

I won't repeat the poll by poll evolution for all five candidate pairs, but it is fascinating to see how they compare at the moment.

Democrat Dem Odds Trump Odds Tie Odds
Biden 93.4% 6.2% 0.4%
Sanders 80.4% 18.4% 1.1%
Warren 63.3% 34.8% 2.0%
Harris 54.7% 43.2% 2.1%
O'Rourke 49.5% 48.8% 1.7%

It is striking how much of a difference there is between these five matchups.

There are important debates on the Democratic side about "Electability" and how it should or should not play into decisions people make about which candidate to support in the primary process.

In terms of that debate, I reiterate the caveats I stated earlier: These numbers will almost certainly change significantly over time, and we have only very sparse polling to generate these numbers.

I'll add that the Biden and Sanders advantage over the rest of the field is almost certainly at least partially due to name recognition, and as the campaign season progresses and other candidates gain visibility, this will probably fade.

But this is something to watch. And while looking at this NOW may not be indicative of much, if there is still a large spread between how the leading candidates fare by the time Democrats start voting in caucuses and primaries, it might make sense to start paying attention to odds like this as part (not all) of the decision making process.

I hope to have website features based on this sort of analysis up on the website before too long.

Keep watching.

514.2 days until polls start to close.

For more information:

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

Warren improves in Wisconsin

Since the last update, there have been new general election polls in Nevada, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin again.

With this new batch of polling, Harris vs. Trump supplants Booker vs. Trump in our "five best-polled matchups" that we spend time talking about here. Those five at the moment are Biden, Sanders, O'Rourke, Warren, and Harris. All vs. Trump of course.

But of all of those polls, only the last Wisconsin poll resulted in any category changes for any of the candidate pairs. That would be Warren vs. Trump, which moves from Weak Warren (a Warren lead less than 5%) to Strong Warren (a Warren lead more than 5% but less than 10%).

Keep in mind that the average here still includes election results from 2008 to 2016 to "baseline" the state while we don't have enough polls for a meaningful average based solely on the candidate pair. There are still only two actual Warren vs Trump poll results in Wisconsin. So as with everything at this stage, things are still very very preliminary.

The Warren vs. Trump "bubble" now looks like this:

This change makes the scenario where "Trump wins all of the close states" weaker. But note that the center line (every state goes to the current leader in the poll average) still gives the election to Trump over Warren.

Of the five best-polled matchups at the moment, Biden and Sanders beat Trump. O'Rourke, Warren, and Harris all lose to Trump.

All five of these matchups are incredibly close though. These are all tossups, with Biden doing just a smidge better than the others.

We are more than 18 months out right now, lots will change before the election, so these aren't predictions — just statements of how things look today.

In addition to the big picture stuff above, a quick look at all five states with polls since the last update to see not just the category changes, but the movement within the categories.

In Pennsylvania, Biden has a "strong" lead against Trump (6.3%). All the rest are in the "weak" category (less than 5% ahead of Trump). Of these, O'Rourke does the worst.

Wisconsin is one of the better-polled states so far. O'Rourke and Sanders have weak leads (less than 5%) over Trump, while Warren, Biden, and Harris now are classified as "Strong Dem" (more than 5% but less than 10%) over Trump. Biden's lead is not what it once was though, and now Michigan joins New Hampshire as one of the few states where Biden is not doing better than the other Democrats. Harris leads Trump by 6.5% compared to Biden's 6.4% lead. OK, yeah, close enough to not be a difference that matters. But given that it is such a rarity, it is worth noting.

In Massachusetts, all five Democrats have solid leads (more than 10%) against Trump. Biden does best. Warren does worst.

In Wisconsin, O'Rourke and Harris have leads in the "weak" category. Biden, Sanders, and Warren have leads in the "strong" category. Biden is doing best against Trump. O'Rourke is doing worst against Trump.

In Nevada, all five Democrats lead Trump weakly. Biden does best. Warren does worst.

That's it for now.

558.1 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.