07 September 2020

Presidential Race Update With 57 Days To Go

Joe Biden is the clear front runner in Presidential race to be decided on November 3, 2020. But Biden has only about a 71% chance of winning, which is incredibly close given how unpopular and unsuccessful a President Trump has been. 

It would take a 4.6 percentage point swing in the polls in favor of Trump for him to win.

The marginal states are currently Pennsylvania and Arizona.

On the other hand, it would take only a 1.9 percentage point swing in the polls towards Biden for Biden to have a landslide win with 414 electoral votes to Trump's 126 electoral votes.

One encouraging feature of the Presidential race is that it has been really fairly static since Biden became the presumptive nominee, without huge swings one way or the other. For example, the Democratic Party National Convention and Republican Party National Convention don't appear to have had much impact on the race at all.

It is not a level playing field. Biden needs to win the popular vote by about 3.0 percentage points to win the electoral college vote, and ties in the electoral college vote go to Trump. 

Democrat Al Gore lost to Republican George W. Bush in 2000, and Democrat Hillary Clinton lost to Republican Donald Trump in 2016, despite winning the popular vote. 

George H.W. Bush, in the 1988 Presidential election, was the last Republican to win the popular vote in an open race. George W. Bush won re-election in the 2004 Presidential election, however, with a majority of the popular vote. 

The 4.6 percentage point swing necessary for Trump to win the electoral college is much more likely than a 7.3 percentage point swing in the popular vote he would need to win the popular vote. If Trump does win re-election, he will most likely do so without winning the popular vote for a second time (a new record).

Prior to 2000, the last time that the winner of the popular vote lost in the electoral college was in 1888. In that race and the previous popular vote loss, the Democrat lost and the Republican won. In the popular vote loss before that, the Democrat-Republican candidate lost.


Based on 538 assessments as of today:

Overall odds: Biden 71% Trump 28% Tie 1%.

In the event of a tie, each state's members of the House of Representatives vote, with one vote per state cast by the majority in each delegation (or not vote cast if there is a tie). 

In a tie breaker vote measure, Trump almost surely wins, even though Democrats will almost surely have a majority in the House. Currently he'd win 26 states to Biden's 22 with 2 states tied. So Trump actually only needs 269 electoral votes to win, while Biden needs 270 electoral votes to win.

Popular Vote

Biden share of popular vote: Biden + 7.3 percentage points (Biden currently leads in national polling by 7.5 percentage points).

Predicted third-party share of popular vote: 2.3%

Electoral Vote

In addition to his "safe" states, Trump needs to win 10 out of 15 prizes in play:

* one Congressional District that leans his way (in Maine), 

* six toss-up states where he leads by less than two percentage points or trails by less than three percentage points (Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida), 

* one toss-up Congressional District (in Nebraska), and 

*at least two of the seven states that lean Biden (most plausibly Arizona and Pennsylvania).

In addition to his "safe" states, Biden needs to win 6 out of 15 prizes in play:

* six out of seven states the lean Biden (most plausibly, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and Arizona).

*  None of the six "toss-up" states or the "toss-up" district in Nebraska

*  Not the "lean Trump" district in Maine.

State by State Summary

Safe Trump (125)

Safe GOP (97 EV) (MT, MS, NE-1, IN, AR, LA, TN, UT, NE, KY, AL, SD, ND, OK, ID, WV, WY, NE-3)

Kansas (6) + 12.1 Trump

Missouri (10) +10.9 Trump

Alaska (3) + 9.1 Trump

South Carolina (9) +8.9 Trump

Lean Trump (1)

Maine-2 (1) + 4.0 Trump

Toss Up States (123)

Ohio (18) + 1.9 Trump

Iowa (6) + 1.6 Trump

Georgia (16) + 1.5 Trump

Texas (38) + 1.1 Trump

North Carolina (15) + 1.8 Biden

Nebraska - 2 (1) + 1.8 Biden

Florida (29) + 2.7 Biden

Lean Biden (77)

Pennsylvania (20) + 4.4 Biden 

Arizona (11) + 4.6 Biden -- MARGINAL STATE 271 Biden EVs

Nevada (6)  + 5.4 Biden

Minnesota (10) +6.2 Biden

Michigan (16) + 6.6 Biden

Wisconsin (10) + 7.5 Biden

New Hampshire (4) + 8.2 Biden

Safe Biden (214)

Maine (2) + 9.9 Biden

Colorado (9) + 12.1 Biden

Safe Dem (203 EV) (VA, NM, OR, NJ, CT, ME-1, IL, DE, RI, WA, NY, MD, CA, MA, HI, VT, DC)

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