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.

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.

Trump Internal Polls All Good News For Biden

Since the last update, there have been polls in North Carolina, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Maine (All), Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, and Georgia.

Now, most (but not all) of these are internal Trump campaign polls that were leaked and reported on by first ABC and then NBC. The full internal polling reportedly included 17 states and matchups against multiple Democrats, but the leaks so far only include Biden versus Trump results in 12 of them. Because this is a leak of internal polls and not "regular polls," I tweeted a series of notes on these polls, that I will repeat here:

  • 1st: Some aggregators automatically exclude internal polling because of potential selective release bias, etc. I default to including as much as possible. So they are reflected on Election Graphs.
  • 2nd: I'm going with ABC on the field dates, not NBC. ABC reports March 15th to March 28th, which is precisely two weeks. NBC reports March 13th to March 28th, which includes two extra days. These almost certainly are the same batch of polls though.
  • 3rd: ABC and NBC differ slightly on their reports of the results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida. In these cases, I will include both, but weighted as half polls, just as I do when a pollster reports results in multiple ways (with & without 3rd parties, registered vs. likely voters, etc.)
  • 4th: For some states this leak only includes margins. Election Graphs only uses margin in calculations, but it displays & reports candidate results too. For the instances where we only have leaked margins, I will log the polls such that Trump-Biden=Margin and Trump+Biden=100%.
  • 5th: If a range of possible margins is reported rather than a specific margin, I will log these as the center of that range.
  • 6th: If more detailed leaks become available, I will adjust how these polls are recorded to reflect any new information.

With those caveats, here are the status changes that occurred as a result of this batch of polls. After that, we'll start looking at the graphs.

All of these changes are for the Biden versus Trump matchup.

State Level:

  • Florida (29 EV) has moved from Weak Trump to Weak Biden
  • Virginia (13 EV) has moved from Weak Trump to Weak Biden

National Level:

  • Expected case change: Biden 299 to Trump 239 -> Biden 341 to Trump 197
  • Tipping point moves from Biden by 1.9% in NC to Biden by 3.4% in ME-CD2.

We'll look nationally first, then the states that changed categories, then a brief look at the locations that did not. Finally, I'll report on what all this does to the Monte Carlo simulation of the national race.

Keep in mind that all of the leaked internal polls were in the field back in March, so they are older data, and will change not just the end of the lines in the charts, but the shape of those lines over March, April, May, and June.

Rather than going graph by graph, here is the whole summary block from the Biden versus Trump page. The two charts on the right show a clear trend toward Biden.

Now, we are still at the stage where most states don't have five polls yet, so we are filling in data based on previous general election results when constructing state averages. So it is crucial to note that this "movement" is mostly not representing changes in public opinion yet, but rather is reflecting the increasing knowledge over time of what Biden vs. Trump looks like specifically, rather than a generic Democrat vs. Republican based on the average historical results from 2000 to 2016.

So the trend may not represent people flocking to Biden over the last few months, but instead, it shows that the more polls we get in more states, the stronger Trump looks against Trump.

Also important to note that while the "expected case" now has Biden winning by 144 electoral votes, a month before the 2016 election, the "expected case" was a 154 electoral vote win for Clinton. By election day that had slipped to only an eight electoral vote lead. And of course, Trump won by 77 electoral votes. The "expected case" can move very quickly, and does not give the whole picture anyway.

Similarly, the tipping point is now a 3.4% Biden lead, while less than two weeks before the election, Clinton had a 5.4% tipping point lead. That evaporated to 1.6% in the last two weeks, and the actual tipping point in the election was an 0.8% Trump margin.

So Biden looks formidable, but Clinton looked even stronger at times.

Also, things can move very quickly even in two weeks, let alone 506 days.

We have a long way to go.

OK, now the two states that changed categories in this update:

Including the two slightly different versions of the Trump internals leak as one averaged result, there have only been three Biden vs. Trump polls in Florida so far. And they cover a vast range. The average (including 2016 and 2008 to round things out) is a 1.0% Biden lead.

This lead translates into about a 55.6% chance of a Biden win, and a 44.4% chance of a Trump win.

As usual, Florida is a swing state.

The Trump internals leak is the very first 2020 polling for Virginia. From 2000-2016, there had been 3 Democratic wins, and 2 Republican wins. The average had been a very narrow 0.1% Republican lean for Virginia.

With this new poll, the 8.0% margin Republican win from 2000 slips off the average and a 17.0% lead for Biden enters. That's quite a swing! As a result, the current poll average moves to a 4.9% Biden lead, which translates into a 90.9% chance of winning the state.

And now, quickly, the other states with Biden vs. Trump polls in this update that did not change category:

Trump leads in Texas by only 1.0%, which translates into a 66.4% chance of victory if the election was today. Trump is still a favorite in Texas, but that this is even a question is striking in and of itself.

Biden leads by 8.5% in Pennsylvania. That would be a 99.1% chance of winning. (If the election was held today, which of course it is not.)

Biden leads by 0.9% in Ohio. 55.3% chance of winning the state.

The Trump internal poll was the first Biden vs. Trump polling for Georgia. It shows Biden with a significant lead, but given the historical Republican wins in Georgia, it will take a few more polls showing a Biden lead before the average goes there. For now, the average sits at a 5.8% Trump lead, which is a 98.1% chance of a Trump victory.

Biden leads by 7.1% in Michigan. 98.8% chance of winning.

Biden leads by 1.9% in North Carolina. 67.0% chance of winning.

The internal Trump poll is the first Biden vs. Trump polling in Minnesota. Biden is now leading by 7.4%, which would be a 99.1% chance of winning.

Biden leads by 7.5% in Wisconsin. 98.3% chance of winning.

Iowa is currently the closest state in the Biden vs. Trump spectrum of Election Graphs averages, with Trump squeaking out an 0.1% lead, which translates into a 55.1% chance of a Trump win.

The Trump internal polling was the very first polling on Maine. Biden is looking stronger than the historical average for Maine general elections. Biden is leading by 11.9%, which translates into a 100.0% chance of winning the state.

There were also polling results in New York (from Spry, not Trump's internal polling), but only for Gillibrand and de Blasio, who aren't in our "top five matchups against Trump" list that I discuss here on the blog. It was also heavily blue New York, and the results were unsurprising.

So finally, an updated look at how where the Monte Carlo simulation puts the Trump vs. Biden race after this update. As usual:

  • This simulation is "if the election was held today," which it is not.
  • The model uses the past accuracy of the final Election Graphs averages in the 2008-2016 elections to estimate poll-average reliability in 2020. It is always possible that polling accuracy in 2020 will differ in important ways from previous election cycles.
  • We still have very sparse polling, and many states have averages that are based in whole or in part on election results from 2000 to 2016 rather than actual 2020 polls.

OK. With that out of the way, a Monte Carlo simulation with 1,000,001 trial election runs:

  • Median result: Biden by 110
  • 1𝜎 (68.3%) range: Biden by 168 to Biden by 56
  • 2𝜎 (95.4%) range: Biden by 220 to Biden by 12
  • 3𝜎 (99.7%) range: Biden by 254 to Trump by 24

Expressing the results as win odds instead:

  • Biden win: 99.1%
  • Trump win: 0.7%
  • 269-269 tie: 0.2%

Ouch, this last set of polls, mostly the Trump internal points, really hurt for Trump. That 0.7% chance of a Trump win is down significantly from the 6.2% in the last update.

Should I repeat the caveats? The results above may look good for Biden, but it is still a long time until the election, and things will change.

Actually, they already have.

Because I had other things to do, it took me a couple of days to get this blog post done, and in the meantime, there have been new polls in five states. I'll be updating the site with the new data shortly, and will be back with another blog post if there are notable changes to mention.

503.9 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.

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.

Texas and Pennsylvania close, Iowa flips red

Since the last update, there have been poll updates in Florida, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. These new polls were all part of a single release from WPA Intelligence, and they ONLY polled the Biden vs. Trump matchup.

There are several caveats about this polling. For more on that, I'll point you to a great thread on Twitter by Charles Franklin, Director of the Marquette Law School Poll where he goes into the details.

Election Graphs tries to include everything though, without any fancy weighting, so a poll like this can make some waves. So let's look at what Election Graphs status changes came out of this polling.

Due to Iowa:

  • IA has moved from Weak Biden to Weak Trump
  • Biden vs. Trump tipping point change: Biden by 1.2% in CO -> Biden by 0.3% in OH
  • Biden vs. Trump expected case changed: Biden 290 to Trump 248 -> Biden 284 to Trump 254

Due to Texas:

  • TX has moved from Strong Trump to Weak Trump
  • Biden best case vs. Trump has changed: Biden 358 to Trump 180 -> Biden 396 to Trump 142

Due to Pennsylvania:

  • PA has moved from Strong Biden to Weak Biden
  • Trump best case vs. Biden has changed: Biden 250 to Trump 288 -> Biden 230 to Trump 308

We'll look at the national charts first, then dig into the state charts.

The most significant impact on the "envelope" is that it has widened significantly. Texas and Pennsylvania are now "in play," and just a few days ago Arizona started looking close too.

The difference between the case where all the close states go to Trump (a 78 electoral vote margin in Trump's favor, coming close to replicating Trump's 2016 margin), and the case where all the close states go to Biden (a 254 electoral vote margin in Biden's favor), is now huge.

There are lots of electoral votes in swing states, so there is a wide range of reasonable possibilities here.

At the same time, the middle line, showing where we are if both candidates win precisely the set of states where they are ahead in the poll average, gets closer. Biden still leads, but by only 30 electoral votes.

At the moment, this looks to be a very close race.

The tipping point chart shows this as well. The tipping point is the margin in the state that puts the winning candidate over the top. That is now Ohio, where Biden leads Trump by 0.3% in the current polling average.

As a comparison, on election eve in 2016, Clinton led Trump by 1.6% in the tipping point metric. And she lost.

Adding to that, given the historical performance of Election Graphs poll averages, an 0.3% Democratic lead ends up being only about a 48.8% chance of the Democrat winning. Given how actual election results have gone vs. the Election Graphs poll averages, the Republican is more likely to succeed when the Democrat leads by this narrow a margin!

Now, I don't have simulations in place yet for the full general election to produce odds there (maybe that will happen sometime in June if I get enough free time to do that), but with the tipping point this close to zero, and the envelope being so broad, things are clearly too close to call.

Now, let's look at some of the individual states, first with Biden vs. Trump only, then we'll compare to some of the other candidates.

In Texas, the new poll, showing Trump leading Biden by 7%, is the most favorable of the four surveys done in Texas so far, but along with the others, it confirms a race much closer than the historical average of a 16.1% Republican win from the 2000-2016 elections.

This change was enough to tip the state into "Weak Trump" territory. With a 3.8% lead in the average though, this still translates into a 91.4% chance of a Trump win.

In Pennsylvania, this is only the third Biden vs. Trump poll. This poll shows the closest race yet and brings the average for the state back near the historical average election performance. Which of course means it is back in "Weak Biden" territory after a brief foray in the "Strong Biden" zone. Given the historical accuracy, this 4.5% Biden lead becomes an 88.6% chance of a Biden win.

Once again the best poll result for Trump out of three, and once again a large range in recent polls. This time the average gets pulled from just barely Biden, to just barely Trump.

Before we start comparing to other candidates, one more state to highlight:

Biden vs. Trump in Michigan now has FIVE polls. This matchup/state combo is the first to have a full five data points, meaning the polling average is based only on actual polls and is not being "filled out" using previous election results.

Presumably, this will be happening more and more often now, but this is the first.

Now, this set of polls ONLY looked at Biden vs. Trump, but it moved how Biden was doing relative to the other Democratic contenders in terms of how they fare against Trump.

Before this set of polls, there had been Biden vs. Trump polling in 12 states: MA, MI, NH, WI, NV, PA, OH, IA, NC, AZ, TX, SC.

Of those states, Biden did better against Trump than the rest of the "best polled" candidates in all except New Hampshire and Michigan.

So he was better than the other Democrats in 83.3% of the states where there was polling.

Let's see where he is after these six polls:

In Texas, Biden continues to do better than the other Democrats. So still 10/12.

This survey is the very first poll in Florida, so the other candidates still show up as the average of the last five elections. But the new data point makes Florida a bit redder, so Biden is not doing better than the others here now. So 10/13 now.

In Pennsylvania, Biden had been doing better than the rest, but now he ties with Sanders and Warren. So now 9/13.

Michigan WAS one of the two states where Biden wasn't doing better than the other Democrats. Now he is. So 10/13.

Biden had been doing best in Wisconsin. Now Warren does better. 9/13.

Biden had been doing best in Iowa, now both Sanders and O'Rourke do better. So we are now at 8/13.

8/13 = 61.5%. So of the individual states where there has been polling, what HAD been a very consistent story of Biden doing better than everyone else against Trump has slipped considerably.

A quick look nationally:

The "expected case" where each candidate gets the states where they lead in the Election Graphs average, no more, no less, still has Biden winning by a 30 electoral vote margin, while Sanders only wins by 6 electoral votes, and O'Rourke, Warren, and Harris all LOSE to Trump by 6 electoral votes. So Biden is still slightly ahead here.

In the tipping point though,  Biden now leads by 0.3%, which is better than O'Rourke, Warren, and Harris, who all lose by 0.1%. But Sanders leads by 1.0%.

So by this metric Sanders is doing better in the national race than Biden against Trump.

So what does this mean? Biden being ahead on the electoral vote margin, but behind on tipping point, essentially means that while his expected winning margin might be more, that lead is much more precarious.

Of course, as I said before, Clinton had a 1.6% tipping point lead and lost. So with all of these tipping points, the bottom line is that this still looks like a very very close race.

No matter which Democrat you pit against Trump, it looks like a dead heat.

And there is no longer a convincing case that any one of those Democrats is doing distinctly better than the others against Trump.

Can I put this in terms of percent chances of winning for each of the Democrats when matched against Trump? No. Not yet. But I'll be working on it.

Stay tuned. Everything is wide open.

539.8 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.

Biden makes Arizona close

Since the last update, there have been polls in Texas and Arizona.

Only Arizona resulted in a blog-worthy change.

Namely, the Biden vs. Trump matchup moved from "Strong Trump" to "Weak Trump."

The two polls we have so far on this matchup in Arizona have Biden doing significantly better than Democrats have fared here in recent Presidential elections. The latest one shows Biden ahead.

Given these results, the average is moving in the Democratic direction, but given Arizona's history, it would take more polls to pull the race into blue territory. For now, Biden will have to settle for the state being in reach as Trump's lead drops under 5% to 3.2% which improves Biden's "best case" on our bubble:

The case where Biden wins all the close states, now including Arizona, is the downward bump in the bottom right of the "envelope of possibilities" shown above.

Now, Democrats shouldn't be too excited about Arizona yet.

This week Election Graphs has added "win probabilities" based on the data shown in the "Polling Error vs. Final Margin" post back in January. Basically, given the history of how Election Graphs poll averages have matched up against actual election results in the 2008 to 2016 elections, I produce an estimate for the chances of each outcome given the margin. You can now see this on any of the state detail pages and state comparison pages.

At the "Republican leads by 3.2%" level this gives an estimate that Trump has an 87.7% chance of winning Arizona, leaving Biden with only a 12.3% chance. Now, this is non-trivial. But Trump still has a pretty substantial advantage, until or unless more polls come out confirming a Biden lead.

A few caveats since this is the first time I'm referencing this type of calculation:

  1. These "win chances" are based on the past performance of Election Graphs averages, and past performance may or may not be a good indicator of future results.
  2. The model represents "if the election was today." It does not take into account the probabilities of the polls moving one way or another in the time between now and the election.
  3. Since there are only two polls of this matchup in this state so far, only 2/5 of the data points included in the average are even real polls as opposed to results from previous elections.
  4. It is still a long, long time until the election. Things will change.

But still, this is a fun new number to look at, and I'll be referring to the "win odds" more often as new results come in. There will also be new visualizations of this metric coming soon. And while so far I've only added this information on the state detail and comparison pages, the intention is, of course, to use this as the basis for a Monte Carlo simulation of the national race in the way I mentioned in the January "Predicting 2016 by Cheating" post.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, back to Arizona for a bit.

As has been the pattern in poll after poll, Biden is doing better against Trump than the other Democrats. You can see above that so far Biden vs. Trump is the only one of the five best-polled candidate combinations where the Democrat is polling dramatically different than the historical election result average in Arizona.

Biden looks like he makes Arizona competitive.

The others, not so much.

Finally, just a quick look at Texas as well:

Unlike Arizona, in the case of Texas, ALL FIVE Democrats are doing significantly better against Trump than the historical election average. But that average was much more Republican to start with, so even with the polling averages moving in a Democratic direction, none of the five Democrats put Texas into swing state territory yet.

Biden, as usual, is doing best. Trump only leads Biden by 5.6%.

Using the new probabilities feature on Election Graphs, this translates into a 2.1% chance of Biden taking Texas.

545.7 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.

The First 2020 Polls

A few days ago I looked at where all the states ended up if you just look at the average results of the last few elections. No 2020 specific data.

But there have already been state level 2020 polls. Sixteen by my count. They are now all included on Election Graphs.

When I do updates here, unless there is a strong reason to do otherwise, I'm going to only discuss the five "best polled" candidate pairs. At the moment, the only Republican polled so far has been Trump. (Sorry Weld fans.) The five best polled Democrats against him right now are Biden, Warren, O'Rourke, Sanders, and Harris… in that order.

So with that out of the way, let's start looking at some graphs!

The chart above shows the "expected" electoral college result for each of these five candidate pairs, assuming each candidate wins all the states they lead in the Election Graphs five poll averages. This average still includes previous election results since there are no states where there are actually five polls yet.

So what do we see? From the very limited polling we have so far, we see Biden doing noticeably better than any of the other four Democrats when pitted against Trump. In the electoral college, Biden leads Trump by a 42 electoral vote margin. Sanders leads Trump by 6 electoral votes. And then Warren, O'Rourke, and Harris all lose to Trump by 6 electoral votes.

The "tipping point" is perhaps a better way to look at things. It is similar to looking at a popular vote margin, but adjusted for the structure of the electoral college. Here Biden has a 1.2% tipping point margin over Trump and Sanders has a 0.9% tipping point margin over Trump, but Warren, O'Rourke, and Harris all trail Trump by an 0.1% margin.

Frankly, ALL of these results, for all five possible opponents to Trump, are firmly within the "too close to call" zone. Even if it was the day before the election, not 607 days before the election. With this much time left, and with the extremely limited polling so far, any patterns we see may easily disappear as new polls come in. It might even be safe to say they will probably disappear. It is still very very early.

Having said that, the Biden advantage is even more striking as you start looking state by state. The following charts show how the polling average in each state has moved as the polls so far have come in.

Note: Keep in mind these are all measuring how each of the Democrats would fare against Trump in the general election, NOT how they might fare against each other in the primaries.

Watch the red line. The red line is Biden. Down is better for Democrats.

OK, in California Biden hasn't broken out. He hasn't actually been polled in California yet. So his average is just the average of the last five presidential elections.

Biden doing better than the other four Democrats in Texas.

Biden doing better than the other four Democrats in Ohio.

Biden doing better than the other four Democrats in Michigan.

Biden doing better than the other four Democrats in North Carolina.

Biden doing better than the other four Democrats in Arizona.

OK, none of the top five have been polled in Minnesota yet. (Only Klobuchar has been.) So they are all still on one line.

Biden doing better than the other four Democrats in South Carolina.

Biden doing better than the other four Democrats in Iowa.

OK, we finally have a state where Biden has been polled and he isn't doing better than the other Democrats. In New Hampshire, both Sanders and Warren do better against Trump than Biden does.

But that is it. Out of 10 states where we have state polls so far, Biden does better than the other four Democrats in 7. In 2 Biden hasn't been polled yet. Only in 1 does another Democrat do better against Trump.

Now, to be clear, at this stage in a Presidential race, this may be due entirely to name recognition. Most people may still not have much of an idea who Warren, O'Rourke, and Harris even are. But surely they would know who Sanders is, right? His name recognition must be comparable to Biden's. Right?

In any case, the way Biden consistently is outperforming other Democrats against Trump in the polls so far is striking. And he hasn't even officially said he is running yet.

It will be interesting to see if this pattern continues as the field starts to gel, and the other candidates get better known.

Election Graphs will of course update as the new polls come in…

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 they are added. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the donation page.