Friday, October 23, 2020

The Electoral College Map (10/23/20)

Update for October 23.


The work week ends with debate season now in the rearview mirror and just 11 days until the voting phase of the 2020 presidential election concludes. And while Friday saw a slowing down of the pace of polling releases witnessed over the last three days, it was still a fairly busy day with 13 new surveys from 10 states representing all but the Strong Biden category. Despite the new data, the race ends the work week where it began with Georgia on the Biden side of the partisan line and a sizable projected advantage in the electoral vote tally.

On to the polls... 


Polling Quick Hits:
Arizona
(Biden 46, Trump 46)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +2.97]
Susquehanna has fielded some of the most Trump-friendly polls in recent weeks and that was true of the firm's Arizona survey released today. Favorable (relative to other polling) to one candidate or not, this poll had both the president and Joe Biden losing support compared to the last Susquehanna poll there in September. But both polls have the race tied, so there was no net change in the race across those two surveys. And this latest one finds Trump in the core of his recent range of results in the Grand Canyon state while Biden lags toward the bottom end of his. 


Florida
(Biden 49, Trump 47 via St. Pete Polls | Trump 50, Biden 46 via Pulse Opinion Research)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.27]
It was a choose one's own narrative in a pair of Florida polls released today. Like the Susquehanna poll of Arizona, the St. Pete Polls survey showed the same two point margin as the pollster's survey a week and a half ago and was, in fact, unchanged in that time. Yet, the steady picture painted by that poll was not the same one as in the Pulse Opinion Research survey. It was the firm's first poll of the Sunshine state in 2020 and stands out from other recent polls there. Trump has never led a Florida survey this year by more than four points and has only hit or surpassed 50 percent in six of the 98 polls that have been conducted in Florida in calendar 2020. That obviously puts Trump at the ver top of his range in all of Florida polling as Biden ended up far closer to the low end of his. Of the two polls, the St. Pete poll is more consistent with the current FHQ averages which project a 49-45 (rounded) Biden edge. 


Iowa
(Trump 47, Biden 47)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.70]
An unusually busy polling week in Iowa ends with an update to the July RMG Research poll. While that summer survey had the president up one, it also found both candidates around 40 percent. However, both are consistent (in terms of their margins) with where the race for the Hawkeye state's six electoral votes currently is. Of the ten October polls, four have had the race tied and six of those ten have found Iowa within a point (or less). But Biden had the advantage in three of the remaining four polls that had a margin greater than one. That is why Iowa has moved in Biden's direction. 


Michigan
(Biden 48, Trump 39 via EPIC-MRA | Trump 49, Biden 45 via Zia Poll)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.00]
Back over in Michigan, the new Zia Poll matches Trump's largest lead in the Great Lakes state, matching a July Spry Strategies poll. But recall the Michigan discussion from yesterday with respect to the Trafalgar surveys there. This is just Trump's eighth lead in 114 polls conducted in Michigan in 2020. Compared to all the other polls, this one is an outlier. And like that St. Pete poll of Florida above the EPIC-MRA poll mirrors the one the firm put out last week. EPIC remains closer on the Biden number, but below where both candidates are in the FHQ averages (Biden 50-43 currently). 


Montana
(Trump 49, Biden 43)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +8.40]
For the second consecutive day, there is a new poll out Montana. Yes, the Treasure state arguably remains comfortably red, but the update to the Siena/NYT Upshot series, like the Strategies 360 poll a day ago, has the gap between the two major party candidates below ten percent. What's more, Siena for the second straight poll has found Trump under 50 percent, but doesn't really mark much of a change since September. Biden did bump up a point to come more in line with his FHQ average share of support there. Comfortably red or not, Montana has had an above average shift from the 20 point margin the president enjoyed there in 2016.


North Carolina
(Biden 48, Trump 44 via Meredith College | Biden 48, Trump 44 via Data for Progress)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +1.84]
The two polls of the Tar Heel state show exactly the same thing, but took different routes in getting to a 48-44 Biden advantage. The Meredith poll made the transition from a register to likely voter sample and ostensibly helped the former vice president in the process. Biden rose a couple of points and the president dropped one. But while the margin expanded in the Meredith series it contracted in the Data for Progress series of polls in North Carolina. Trump remained at 44 precent for the second time in October, but Biden slid back to around where he was in the firm's August poll of the state. Both candidates, it should be said, are operating in quite tight ranges in the DfP series. 


Oklahoma
(Trump 60, Biden 35) [August poll]
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +24.55]
Another day, another Sooner Poll from Oklahoma. This one is a bit outdated having been in the field there in August. But it like the other Sooner polls conducted this year has Trump hovering around 60 percent and Biden once again in the mid-30s. Its addition also does little to alter the margin in a state that is way off on the Republican end of the Spectrum below. Still, the margin in Oklahoma is much closer than it was just four years ago. That does not mean close, but there has been a shift toward the Democrats in that time. 


Pennsylvania
(Biden 51, Trump 44)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +5.40]
The trajectory of change in the Muhlenberg series of surveys of the Keystone state has gradually moved in Biden's direction over the course of the last eight plus months. A February tie was a 49-45 Biden advantage in August. And Biden rose again from the August to October polls as the president faded a little more. Overall, the shifts have brought the current Muhlenberg poll in line with FHQ average shares of support for the two major party candidates. As of now, the former vice president holds a 50-44 (rounded) lead here on a day that saw the margin in Pennsylvania tick up.


Utah
(Trump 50, Biden 38)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +14.26]
There are some interesting dynamics at play in the polling of Utah this cycle. RMG Research and Y2 Analytics have been the most active pollsters in the Beehive state this cycle, but both started out with widely divergent numbers in polling the state. In the RMG Research series, Trump has hovered around the 50 percent mark all year as Biden has risen from the low 30s to the upper 30s now. Y2, on the other hand has until its last poll had the president below 50 percent and Biden cresting to a point above 40 percent, a level Democrats have not met in the state in years. Over time, however, the two pollsters have converged with Trump at or slightly above 50 percent and Biden approaching, but falling short of 40 percent (a bit above where Obama was in the state in 2008).


West Virginia
(Trump 58, Biden 38)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +25.98]
Finally, something may be brewing in West Virginia (or it could be that one pollster's work among a general lack of polling in that state in 2020 is somewhat deceptive). But Triton Polling and Research in its second consecutive poll has found Trump under 60 percent in the Mountain state. That is actually the third poll in a row -- including both Triton surveys -- to show that. If those latest three surveys are in any way indicative of the state of the race in West Virginia, then that would translate to Trump losing around ten points from 2016 to polling now. And that would also mean Biden moving nearly 12 points beyond where Clinton end up four years ago. That would make for a massive shift. Even if the polls are understating the president's support and it is accurate on the increased Biden support, then that Democratic side of swing equation alone would be an above average overall swing compared to the (averaged) nationwide shift in 2020 polling from election day 2016. But as it stands, including earlier, albeit discounted, polls the margin is still around Trump +26.


NOTE: 


The Electoral College Spectrum1
DC-3
VT-3
(6)2
IL-20
(162)
WI-10
(253)
MO-10
(125)
TN-11
(60)
MA-11
(17)
OR-7
(169)
PA-203
(273 | 285)
AK-3
(115)
KY-8
(49)
MD-10
(27)
NJ-14
(183)
NV-6
(279 | 265)
SC -9
(112)
AL-9
(41)
HI-4
(31)
ME-2
(185)
FL-29
(308 | 259)
NE CD1-1
MT-3
(103)
SD-3
(32)
NY-29
(60)
CO-9
(194)
AZ-11
(319 | 230)
NE-2
(99)
ID-4
(29)
CA-55
(115)
VA-13
(207)
NC-15
ME CD2-1
(335 | 219)
KS-6
(97)
AR-6
(25)
DE-3
(118)
NH-4
(211)
GA-16
(351 | 203)
IN-11
(91)
OK-7
(19)
WA-12
(130)
NM-5
(216)
OH-18
(187)
UT-6
(80)
ND-3
(12)
ME CD1-1
CT-7
(138)
MN-10
(226)
IA-6
(169)
MS-6
(74)
WV-5
(9)
RI-4
(142)
NE CD2-1
MI-16
(243)
TX-38
(163)
LA-8
(68)
WY-3
NE CD3-1
(4)
1 Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.

2 The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he or she won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, Trump won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (Biden's toss up states plus the Pennsylvania), he would have 285 electoral votes. Trump's numbers are only totaled through the states he would need in order to get to 270. In those cases, Biden's number is on the left and Trump's is on the right in bold italics.

3 Pennsylvania
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state. The tipping point cell is shaded in yellow to denote that and the font color is adjusted to attempt to reflect the category in which the state is.

Today was another day in which the map and Watch List remained unchanged from a day ago. But the Electoral College Spectrum saw one small change way off on the Republican end. The new, "tight" survey in West Virginia lowered the average margin in the Mountain state enough to push it one spot toward the partisan line and past North Dakota. No, that change makes no real difference in the grand scheme of things, but it is a slight change nonetheless. 

Overall, this was a mostly good polling day for Biden. The average margins in six of the ten states with newly added polls moved in his direction. But two states in the Biden column and close to the partisan line -- Arizona and Florida -- shifted slightly away from the former vice president. But in reality, it was a mostly status quo maintaining day. 

11 days to go.


Where things stood at FHQ on October 23 (or close to it) in...
2016
2012
2008


--
NOTE: Distinctions are made between states based on how much they favor one candidate or another. States with a margin greater than 10 percent between Biden and Trump are "Strong" states. Those with a margin of 5 to 10 percent "Lean" toward one of the two (presumptive) nominees. Finally, states with a spread in the graduated weighted averages of both the candidates' shares of polling support less than 5 percent are "Toss Up" states. The darker a state is shaded in any of the figures here, the more strongly it is aligned with one of the candidates. Not all states along or near the boundaries between categories are close to pushing over into a neighboring group. Those most likely to switch -- those within a percentage point of the various lines of demarcation -- are included on the Watch List below.

The Watch List1
State
Potential Switch
Georgia
from Toss Up Biden
to Toss Up Trump
Iowa
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Nevada
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
New Hampshire
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
New Mexico
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
Ohio
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Pennsylvania
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
1 Graduated weighted average margin within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

--
Methodological Note: In past years, FHQ has tried some different ways of dealing with states with no polls or just one poll in the early rounds of these projections. It does help that the least polled states are often the least competitive. The only shortcoming is that those states may be a little off in the order in the Spectrum. In earlier cycles, a simple average of the state's three previous cycles has been used. But in 2016, FHQ strayed from that and constructed an average swing from 2012 to 2016 that was applied to states. That method, however, did little to prevent anomalies like the Kansas poll that had Clinton ahead from biasing the averages. In 2016, the early average swing in the aggregate was  too small to make much difference anyway. For 2020, FHQ has utilized an average swing among states that were around a little polled state in the rank ordering on election day in 2016. If there is just one poll in Delaware in 2020, for example, then maybe it is reasonable to account for what the comparatively greater amount of polling tells us about the changes in Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico. Or perhaps the polling in Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina so far tells us a bit about what may be happening in Alaska where no public polling has been released. That will hopefully work a bit better than the overall average that may end up a bit more muted.


--
Related posts:




Follow FHQ on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Electoral College Map (10/22/20)

Update for October 22.


Changes (October 22)
StateBeforeAfter
Georgia
Toss Up Trump
Toss Up Biden
Thursday was another one of those days. First, it is the day of the final presidential debate of the 2020 cycle, a little less than two weeks out from election day. But it was also another day with a massive batch of new polling data. And it was shaping up that way before the clock struck midnight to close Wednesday. FHQ added nine surveys to the dataset after yesterday's update posted but before the end of the day and then tacked on another 28 throughout the day on Thursday. 

Overall, it was a mixed bag in those 37 new polls across 17 states. The FHQ margin in eight of those states moved in the president's direction while Biden gained ground in the remaining nine. Curiously, the former vice president made most of his gains in red states. Of the seven red states represented in the surveys added today, only Ohio moved a hair in Trump's favor (while continuing to be on the Watch List). The rest, led by Georgia, shifted toward the Democratic nominee. And the Peach state, on the weight of a couple of new polls once again jumped the partisan line back onto Biden turf. 

With the former vice president chipping away at margins in red states, Trump was doing the same in blue states. Of the ten blues states with surveys added today, seven of them saw their margins shrink, benefitting the president. But Biden increased his leads in Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin. Again, it was a mixed bag, but the small shifts in each of these states were likely most significant in Arizona, where the margin in on the verge of slipping under Biden +3, and in Ohio where a couple of new surveys nudged the Buckeye a bit further away from the partisan line. 

Anyway, on to the polls... 


Polling Quick Hits:
Arizona
(Biden 50, Trump 46)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.02]
It was not the update to the Ipsos series of surveys that triggered that downward movement in the margin in the Grand Canyon state. Instead, it was the Morning Consult survey (Trump +1, see below) showing the president in a rare lead in Arizona that drew the margin there closer. That Ipsos poll actually had Biden stretching his advantage, doubling it since last week and hitting 50 percent in the process. The poll also represented the widest margin in the series thus far. But again, that Morning Consult survey served as an overall drag on any gains there. 


California
(Biden 58, Trump 32)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +29.07]
While the margin ticked down some in California, it is hardly something that is going to change the trajectory of the race for the largest electoral vote prize on the board. The new PPIC survey found Biden both under 60 percent and with a lead less than 30 points. The former is rare in 2020 but the former vice president has only led by 30 or more in a third of the California surveys conducted this year. But since the last PPIC survey last month, the margin has contracted some with Biden slipping under 60 percent and Trump inching up a point. In the grand scheme of things that really is not that big a change, and this poll well within the normal range of Golden state surveys. 


Florida
(Biden 51, Trump 46)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.40]
If the Morning Consult survey in Arizona was a drag on the overall margin there, then the firm's Florida survey along with the new Ipsos update moved the needle in Biden's direction today. Both had the former vice president up by more than five points, and both also had the Democratic nominee up a point compared to the previous polls in both series and the president down a point. The effect was a widening of the margin in the Sunshine state, a move that has pushed Biden closer to an average share in the 50 percent range (albeit still short of that mark). And the last five surveys there have now found the former vice president at or above 50 percent. Florida is a must have in any likely Trump path to 270, and Biden closing in on the majority mark there is an ominous sign. 


Georgia
(Biden 51, Trump 44)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +0.15]
Another state that had both a Morning Consult poll and an additional survey from a different pollster was Georgia. And it is probably the tie in the Morning Consult survey that is closer to the mark in the Peach state. The latest from Garin-Hart-Yang is at the top end of the range of Biden-friendly surveys, matching the seven point spread in the recent Quinnipiac survey of the state. Both of those polls also had Biden north of 50 percent, a rarity in Georgia, but not something that does not and has not happened in polling there this year. And it is new in the G-H-Y series. Biden's advantage in the Democratic pollster's July poll of Georgia also had Biden out to a lead (47-43) which was the extreme Biden end of the spectrum of poll results there at the time. The new poll, however, is not alone on that end this time. 


Kansas
(Trump 48, Biden 41)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +8.94]
After a couple of new surveys came out of the Sunflower state a day ago, Siena/NYT Upshot added another new one in Kansas today. And while the pair yesterday both found the president up double digits there, the Siena survey was more in line with the established Kansas margin here at FHQ. However, it also found both candidates lagging behind their average shares in the state by two to three points. That remains something of an issue with these Siena polls as election day approaches. They all tend to have higher than normal shares of undecideds and support for minor party candidates than many other polls. That is true here as well. This is just the third time in a Kansas poll this year that Trump has been below 50 percent there. Things are closer in the Sunflower state in 2020 than in 2016, but the president has maintained a share above 50 percent the whole time. 


Michigan
(Biden 50, Trump 43 via Public Policy Polling | Biden 52, Trump 40 via Fox News | Trump 47, Biden 45 via Trafalgar Group | Biden 50, Trump 45 via Data for Progress)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.11]
One of these new polls out in Michigan does not look like the other. And, as is often the case, it is the Trafalgar survey that stands out. Of the 112 surveys that have now been conducted in the Great Lakes state in calendar 2020, Trump has led in just seven of them. Four of those seven were surveys fielded by Trafalgar and the latest matches the president's largest lead in a Michigan poll all year. The other polls saw Biden expand his advantages since the last polls in the series with the exception of the Data for Progress survey where Trump rose a point from September. But all three are in range of recent polling in the state even if the Fox survey is at the very bottom of Trump's range in recent surveys.


Minnesota
(Biden 48, Trump 42)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +8.30]
The latest update from Survey USA in Minnesota was probably more notable for how close the Senate race was than for the presidential race. This was a good sample for Republicans. Biden remained in the upper 40s but the president managed to push off the 40 percent mark where he had been in the previous two Survey USA polls of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But this was the second straight from the firm in the state that saw the margin dip a little. For a state that was originally cited as a potential flip possibility by the president's reelection campaign, however, Minnesota remains a Lean Biden state and a Biden +6 is a pretty good survey for the president. 


Montana
(Trump 51, Biden 43)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +8.56]
The first Strategies 360 poll in Montana this cycle is really quite close to the shares of support (and margin for that matter) both candidates have established in polling in the Treasure state thus far this year. At 52-43 (rounded), the president holds an edge, but one that like most red states is closer than it was in 2016. Trump is still around four points behind his 2016 pace while Biden has improved in polls on Clinton's showing on election day by more than eight points. It is an above average swing that this survey affirms. 


North Carolina
(Trump 49, Biden 48)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +1.78]
There is not a whole lot one can say about this latest Pulse Opinion Research survey of North Carolina. Trump leads in the Tar Heel state have become more sporadic of late, and as this one does show a narrow advantage for the president, it represents no change from the firm's September poll in the state. In fact, all three surveys Pulse has conduced in North Carolina have had the president up by a point. It would be one thing if things were moving toward Trump in the series but absent any movement, this is yet more evidence of just how steady the race is in the state. 


Ohio
(Trump 48, Biden 45)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.67]
That Pulse Opinion Research poll in North Carolina may not have shown any movement in the president's direction, but one piece of good news for Trump in the batch of polling released today was the swing from the last Fox News survey of the Buckeye state to its update there. Trump rose three points since the late September Fox poll of Ohio, but Biden dropped off by five points in the same span. As bad as the Fox Michigan poll was for the president, this Ohio survey represents the other end of the spectrum. And it is more consistent with the 47-46 (rounded) advantage Trump maintains in the FHQ averages in the state. 


Oklahoma
(Trump 59, Biden 37)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +24.51]
Trump is going to win Oklahoma going away next month, but it continues to be a warning sign every time a new survey is released with the president under 60 percent there. That is the case in the new Sooner Poll. The president continues to run more than five points off his 2016 performance in 2020 Oklahoma polls with an average share that is just under 60 percent. Biden, meanwhile, is more than six points ahead of Clinton's pace there. It will not amount too much. Trump will still take the Sooner state's seven electoral votes, but the state remains a cautionary tale about how much things have swung toward the Democrats in 2020.


Pennsylvania
(Biden 51, Trump 46 via Public Policy Polling | Biden 52, Trump 46 via Civiqs)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +5.38]
This is just the second survey PPP has conducted in Pennsylvania in all of 2020 and it is not markedly different from the 51-44 lead that the former vice president held there in April. The gap has closed some but not much and Biden is stationary above 50 percent. Civiqs has been more active in the state, but only now dumped a six survey series that has run from February to now. The latest numbers are posted above with a link to all six polls, but for the purposes of keeping this brief, FHQ will focus on the change from the last poll in June to now. Contrary to the PPP series, it was the president who was stationary at 46 percent from that June poll to now as Biden added three points and pushed above 50 percent. Like a number of other blue states of the medium shade, the polls with Biden over 50 percent are starting to pile up. 

 
Virginia
(Biden 52, Trump 41)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +11.82]
Like the Montana poll above, the new WaPo/George Mason survey of Virginia is also the first poll the firm has fielded in the state this cycle. It is also in line with the average shares both candidates have maintained in the Old Dominion through much of the year. Currently at FHQ, Biden has a 53-41 (rounded) lead in the commonwealth. And while that is a considerably wider margin than one might expect for a state that was a battleground for many of the 21st century presidential cycles, it has had a below average shift in the 2020 polls compared to the results in 2016. Biden is just two points out in from of Clinton's showing and Trump lags around his average amount -- roughly three points -- behind his performance there four years ago. Together, even that makes Virginia a surprising Strong Biden state,


Wisconsin
(Biden 48, Trump 44 via Fox News | Biden 50, Trump 44 via RMG Research)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +6.19]
The new RMG Research survey of Wisconsin is its first in the Badger state in 2020 and falls in line with the established averages in the state. The race currently stands at 49-43 (rounded) with Biden ahead. So it was not that poll that shifted the average margin in Wisconsin up on the day. It was not the Fox News poll either, where the former vice president saw his 50-42 lead from the early September Fox poll cut in half in that time. As was the case with Arizona at the outset, it was the Morning Consult poll (Biden +12, see below) that did the heavy lifting, nudging the Democratic nominee's share of support closer to 50 percent. But for all the back and forth among just these three polls, Wisconsin remains in that Biden +6 range as it has for quite a while now. 



South Carolina: 
Trump 51, Biden 45 (Biden +3, Trump -3 since early October wave[Current FHQ margin: Trump +6.71]

Ohio: 
Trump 49, Biden 47 (Biden +1, Trump +/-0)

Arizona: 
Trump 48, Biden 47 (Biden -2, Trump +2)

Georgia: 
Biden 48, Trump 48 (Biden +1, Trump -1)

Texas: 
Biden 48, Trump 47 (Biden +1, Trump -2) [Current FHQ margin: Trump +1.51]

North Carolina: 
Biden 50, Trump 47 (Biden +/-0, Trump +1)

Florida: 
Biden 52, Trump 45 (Biden +1, Trump -1)

Michigan: 
Biden 52, Trump 44 (Biden +1, Trump +/-0)

Pennsylvania: 
Biden 52, Trump 43 (Biden +/-0, Trump -1)

Minnesota: 
Biden 51, Trump 42 (Biden +1, Trump -2)

Wisconsin: 
Biden 54, Trump 42 (Biden +3, Trump -2)

Colorado: 
Biden 55, Trump 39 (Biden +1, Trump -1) [Current FHQ margin: Biden +12.87]

FHQ will be brief with this latest wave of Morning Consult polls from an extended group of battleground states (Senate and/or presidential). The big thing is that ten of the 12 states moved in Biden's direction in the last week. Even with Arizona standing out as one that moved toward Trump, the Grand Canyon state continues to be in the Biden column. But looking at this group in sequence from the most Trump to the most Biden (as it is aligned above), the order is off from that depicted in the Electoral College Spectrum below. Arizona and Wisconsin are probably the most of sequence and on opposite ends of this truncated rank ordering from Morning Consult. That said, that Biden is at or above 50 percent in seven of these states -- states that would put him well above 270 electoral votes even without Arizona -- is the most notable aspect of this updated wave. 



The Electoral College Spectrum1
DC-3
VT-3
(6)2
IL-20
(162)
WI-10
(253)
MO-10
(125)
TN-11
(60)
MA-11
(17)
OR-7
(169)
PA-203
(273 | 285)
AK-3
(115)
KY-8
(49)
MD-10
(27)
NJ-14
(183)
NV-6
(279 | 265)
SC -9
(112)
AL-9
(41)
HI-4
(31)
ME-2
(185)
FL-29
(308 | 259)
NE CD1-1
MT-3
(103)
SD-3
(32)
NY-29
(60)
CO-9
(194)
AZ-11
(319 | 230)
NE-2
(99)
ID-4
(29)
CA-55
(115)
VA-13
(207)
NC-15
ME CD2-1
(335 | 219)
KS-6
(97)
AR-6
(25)
DE-3
(118)
NH-4
(211)
GA-16
(351 | 203)
IN-11
(91)
OK-7
(19)
WA-12
(130)
NM-5
(216)
OH-18
(187)
UT-6
(80)
ND-3
(12)
ME CD1-1
CT-7
(138)
MN-10
(226)
IA-6
(169)
MS-6
(74)
WV-5
(9)
RI-4
(142)
NE CD2-1
MI-16
(243)
TX-38
(163)
LA-8
(68)
WY-3
NE CD3-1
(4)
1 Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.

2 The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he or she won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, Trump won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (Biden's toss up states plus the Pennsylvania), he would have 285 electoral votes. Trump's numbers are only totaled through the states he would need in order to get to 270. In those cases, Biden's number is on the left and Trump's is on the right in bold italics.

3 Pennsylvania
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state. The tipping point cell is shaded in yellow to denote that and the font color is adjusted to attempt to reflect the category in which the state is.

Obviously the Georgia change to Toss Up Biden looms large over things in today's update, but it change on the map and the Watch List did not translate into a move on the Spectrum. Yes, the Peach state hopped the partisan line and turned blue, but that is probably best described as the partisan line jumping Georgia. The Peach state changed colors but not positions in the order. Other than that, among the only other changes across the graphics today was California trading spots with New York on the Spectrum, moving a cell closer to the partisan line. And Kansas, a day after rejoining the Watch List came right back off it again, but only just barely. 

It is a pretty steady race. 12 days to go.


Where things stood at FHQ on October 22 (or close to it) in...
2016
2012
2008


--
NOTE: Distinctions are made between states based on how much they favor one candidate or another. States with a margin greater than 10 percent between Biden and Trump are "Strong" states. Those with a margin of 5 to 10 percent "Lean" toward one of the two (presumptive) nominees. Finally, states with a spread in the graduated weighted averages of both the candidates' shares of polling support less than 5 percent are "Toss Up" states. The darker a state is shaded in any of the figures here, the more strongly it is aligned with one of the candidates. Not all states along or near the boundaries between categories are close to pushing over into a neighboring group. Those most likely to switch -- those within a percentage point of the various lines of demarcation -- are included on the Watch List below.

The Watch List1
State
Potential Switch
Georgia
from Toss Up Biden
to Toss Up Trump
Iowa
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Nevada
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
New Hampshire
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
New Mexico
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
Ohio
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Pennsylvania
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
1 Graduated weighted average margin within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

--
Methodological Note: In past years, FHQ has tried some different ways of dealing with states with no polls or just one poll in the early rounds of these projections. It does help that the least polled states are often the least competitive. The only shortcoming is that those states may be a little off in the order in the Spectrum. In earlier cycles, a simple average of the state's three previous cycles has been used. But in 2016, FHQ strayed from that and constructed an average swing from 2012 to 2016 that was applied to states. That method, however, did little to prevent anomalies like the Kansas poll that had Clinton ahead from biasing the averages. In 2016, the early average swing in the aggregate was  too small to make much difference anyway. For 2020, FHQ has utilized an average swing among states that were around a little polled state in the rank ordering on election day in 2016. If there is just one poll in Delaware in 2020, for example, then maybe it is reasonable to account for what the comparatively greater amount of polling tells us about the changes in Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico. Or perhaps the polling in Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina so far tells us a bit about what may be happening in Alaska where no public polling has been released. That will hopefully work a bit better than the overall average that may end up a bit more muted.


--
Related posts:




Follow FHQ on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Electoral College Map (10/21/20)

Update for October 21.


As the race for the White House approaches the final debate on Thursday, the polling began to heat up. With one day until that last presidential debate there were a total of 29 new polls released from 15 states representing all of the FHQ categories but the Strong Trump states. There is a lot to look at, so... 

...on to the polls... 


Polling Quick Hits:
Alaska
(Trump 50, Biden 45)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +6.03]
Public Policy Polling was last in the field with a survey in Alaska in July. Then it was 50-44, Trump. In those three intervening months little has seemingly changed. And this one falls pretty close to the FHQ averages for both candidates. The big thing in the Last Frontier is that Trump barely surpassed 50 percent in 2016 and is hovering around it now. Biden, on the other hand, has pulled much closer than where Clinton was in November 2016.


Arizona
(Biden 48, Trump 46 via Pulse Opinion Research | Biden 47, Trump 46 via RMG Research)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.06]
The two pollsters with new surveys out today in the Grand Canyon state are new to Arizona this cycle. As such, there is no natural comparison for either. However, the current FHQ averages currently have it at Biden 48-45 (rounded) and the truth is that both surveys fall within both candidates ranges in most recent polls. Arizona continues to be a state that is narrowly but consistently tipped in Biden's direction as election day nears.


Florida
(Biden 50, Trump 46 via CNN | Biden 51, Trump 47 via Civiqs)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.33]
Another of those close states with Biden typically but not always ahead is Florida. But the difference in the Sunshine state compared to Arizona is that the former vice president has begun to inch more toward 50 percent. Of the 23 surveys conducted in whole or in part in October, Biden has been at or above the majority mark in 11 of those polls. Trump is close, but that Biden is approaching 50 percent is a red flag. And Biden is at or above 50 percent in both of today's polls. However, the CNN poll is only marginally different its last survey there in July when it was 51-46, Biden. That is not a piece of evidence that helps to build a story of big change in this race. [The Civiqs survey was its first in Florida this cycle.] 


Iowa
(Biden 48, Trump 48 via Emerson | Biden 46, Trump 43 via Siena/NYT Upshot | Biden 45, Trump 45 via Insider Advantage | Biden 51, Trump 46 via Monmouth)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.73]
If Biden hitting 50 percent in a couple of Florida polls was a red flag, then the former vice president leading or tied in four new polls in the Hawkeye state is another for the Trump reelection effort. The president needs both states to get to 270, but with Iowa now back on the Watch List (below), a state that he won by nine in 2016 is now close to tied. And more importantly, that swing is indicative of the shift toward the Democrats in 2020 polling from election day four years ago. Emerson and Insider Advantage are new to Iowa and in the Siena poll Biden maintained the three point edge he had in the September. The focus, then, will be on the noisier Monmouth series. A race knotted at 47-47 in August shifted in Trump's direction in September (49-46, Trump) and has swung back hard in Biden's direction in October. And all of these use the low turnout model that the university pollster utilizes. Typically that has favored the president, but in this case the low turnout version was actually better for Biden than the high turnout model. The bottom line in Iowa is that if it is among the most competitive states on election day, then the Democratic nominee is likely within range of 270 electoral votes (if not more).


Kansas
(Trump 54, Biden 42 via Public Policy Polling | Trump 56, Biden 39 via co/efficient)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +9.13]
The Sunflower state has shown signs in some 2020 polling of being closer than usual. And while that is consistent with a swing toward the Democrats, the shift in Kansas at FHQ has been nearly 11 points since to this point, an above average swing from four years ago. Nevertheless, the two polls out there today find the president with double digit leads. PPP has conducted three polls in Kansas and had Trump in the 50s each time and Biden lagging in the lower 40s. But the co/efficient survey is simultaneously Trump's peak and Biden's nadir in Kansas polling this year. Trump will win Kansas in November, but the question is whether it continues to show an above average Democratic shift or snaps back into a place in the range like these two surveys today.


Michigan
(Biden 52, Trump 44)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.19]
The Ipsos Michigan poll is hardly different from the firm's survey there a week ago. Biden is up a point and that is it. Again, polling in the Great Lakes state is settling into a space where the margins more often than not end up in the 6-9 point range in Biden's favor. And this survey nudges the former vice president a little closer to the 50 percent in the averages. 


Minnesota
(Biden 53, Trump 43)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +8.37]
The first Civiqs poll of Minnesota in 2020 finds the Democratic nominee out to a double digit lead. That is not uncommon in polling of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but this poll does have Biden toward the top of his range (and above his FHQ average share of support) while the president is relatively static in the lower 40s where he has been in most Minnesota surveys. And that is not a winning position in a state the president had held out some hope of flipping this year after a narrow Clinton win there in 2016.


Nevada
(Biden 52, Trump 43)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +4.09]
Civiqs was also in the field in Nevada. Here, too, it was the pollster's first go of it in the Silver state. And like the Minnesota survey above, the Nevada poll has Biden running out in front of his FHQ average at the top of his range in polling there this cycle. Meanwhile, the president came in around where he has been in Nevada polling all year. This is another oft-discussed flip opportunity for the president's campaign, but an average share around 44 percent at FHQ is not going to do it without some current Biden supporters coming over (or staying at home and/or not returning their mail ballots). There just are not enough undecideds to make up the difference in the Silver state. 


New Jersey
(Biden 56, Trump 34)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +19.33]
Look, New Jersey is not going to be anything other than solidly blue next month, and the consistency of the DKC Analytics series of polls has spoken to that all year. Biden has been in the 50s and Trump in the 30s across the four polls of the series. But this is the widest margin in any of those surveys and is in line with the FHQ averages in the Garden state. The more interesting thing in New Jersey continues to be that Biden has not improved on Clinton's showing the state. All of the shift, then, is on the Trump side, and the president has dropped what is now approaching five points.


New Mexico
(Biden 54, Trump 41)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +10.45]
New Mexico is the rare state in 2020 where both major party candidates are running ahead of their parties' performance in 2016. That would be a silver lining for the Trump campaign if not for the fact that Biden has to this point run more than four points ahead of Clinton's pace in the Land of Enchantment while the president has only improved on his showing there by a couple of points. And the new GBAO survey of New Mexicans did little to alter that general picture of Biden over 50 percent and Trump trailing in the low 40s. Like a couple of other states above, New Mexico has also been talked about at a potential opportunity for the president. Most polls there, however, do not reflect that.


North Carolina
(Biden 49, Trump 47)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +1.81]
Ipsos has now conducted four polls in the Tar Heel state in 2020 and this latest is the first to show the race as anything other than tied between Biden and Trump. And the change brings Ipsos in line with the overall FHQ averages in North Carolina. As it stands now at FHQ with more than 100 polls in the state, Biden holds a 48-46 (rounded) lead. It is a narrow but consistently advantage of the ilk of those in both Arizona and Florida.


Pennsylvania
(Biden 53, Trump 43 via CNN | Biden 51, Trump 43 via Quinnipiac | Biden 49, Trump 42 via Suffolk)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +5.43]
If it was not for Iowa, the Pennsylvania would have had the most poll releases on the day. And technically the Keystone state has four polls too counting the Change Research survey below. Minus that poll, which is the closest the president has been in the commonwealth in any non-Trafalgar poll in a while, the picture looks quite grim for the president. Biden is hovering around 50 percent in each and Trump is mired in the low 40s. And all of those polls are more in line with the FHQ averages in the Pennsylvania (Biden 50-44, rounded), than the Change survey. This was the initial poll for both CNN and Suffolk in Pennsylvania, but the Quinnipiac survey actually showed some narrowing from the earlier October survey the university pollster released. However, this latest poll is more in line with the August Q-poll that also had Biden up eight. 

 
Texas
(Biden 47, Trump 47)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +1.58]
Other than a rare September blip when President Trump was up five points, the series of Texas polls from Quinnipiac has found a race within one point. And that includes today's survey with Biden and Trump tied. In fact, of the nine polls in the field in whole or in part in October, seven of them have had the race within two points one way or the other. But as FHQ mentioned in yesterday's update, Texas is a lot like North Carolina but on the Trump side of the partisan line. Although, in the case of Texas that means a tight race in most (recent) polls with a smattering of surveys with Trump out in front by more than five. The Lone Star state is close, but like several of those blue states above -- Arizona, Florida and North Carolina -- is consistently tipped in one direction. Contrary to those states, Texas is tipped in the president's favor. 


Wisconsin
(Biden 46, Trump 45 via Susquehanna | Biden 50, Trump 45 via Latino Decisions)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +6.13]
One of these new Wisconsins polls more closely resembles the FHQ averages and it is not the Susquehanna survey. But it was the Susquehanna poll that has a point of comparison in its September poll of the Badger state. A two point Biden advantage then (48-46) has been replaced with a marginally tighter race but with both candidates worse off than they were at the end of September. In the new poll, Trump is still toward the top of his range while Biden is on the lower end of his in recent Wisconsin polling. But this is another battleground state where the president is just barely scratching into the mid-40s in most polls.



Pennsylvania: 
Biden 49, Trump 47 (Biden -1, Trump +1 since early October wave)

North Carolina: 
Biden 50, Trump 47 (Biden +1, Trump +/-0)

Florida: 
Biden 50, Trump 45 (Biden +/-0, Trump -1)

Arizona: 
Biden 51, Trump 45 (Biden +/-0, Trump +/-0)

Michigan: 
Biden 51, Trump 44 (Biden +/-0, Trump +1)

Wisconsin: 
Biden 52, Trump 44 (Biden +1, Trump +/-0)

FHQ will be brief here since there is no real marked change in this Change Research wave relative to the last earlier this month. But what is striking about this set is that Biden is at or over 50 percent in five of the  six core battlegrounds. That was true in the last wave, but then it was North Carolina that was the the lone state where the former vice president fell short of 50 percent. The other item of note here is the order of the states. Arizona and Florida are close enough at FHQ that one could see the two swapping spots, but Pennsylvania as the closest state of the bunch is a new wrinkle that does not match the established FHQ order. Furthermore, Wisconsin is fairly consistently closer than Michigan but it the Badger state is not here. 



The Electoral College Spectrum1
DC-3
VT-3
(6)2
IL-20
(162)
WI-10
(253)
MO-10
(125)
TN-11
(60)
MA-11
(17)
OR-7
(169)
PA-203
(273 | 285)
AK-3
(115)
KY-8
(49)
MD-10
(27)
NJ-14
(183)
NV-6
(279 | 265)
SC -9
(112)
AL-9
(41)
HI-4
(31)
ME-2
(185)
FL-29
(308 | 259)
NE CD1-1
MT-3
(103)
SD-3
(32)
CA-55
(86)
CO-9
(194)
AZ-11
(319 | 230)
NE-2
(99)
ID-4
(29)
NYI-29
(115)
VA-13
(207)
NC-15
ME CD2-1
(335 | 219)
KS-6
(97)
AR-6
(25)
DE-3
(118)
NH-4
(211)
GA-16
(203)
IN-11
(91)
OK-7
(19)
WA-12
(130)
NM-5
(216)
OH-18
(187)
UT-6
(80)
ND-3
(12)
ME CD1-1
CT-7
(138)
MN-10
(226)
IA-6
(169)
MS-6
(74)
WV-5
(9)
RI-4
(142)
NE CD2-1
MI-16
(243)
TX-38
(163)
LA-8
(68)
WY-3
NE CD3-1
(4)
1 Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.

2 The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he or she won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, Trump won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (Biden's toss up states plus the Pennsylvania), he would have 285 electoral votes. Trump's numbers are only totaled through the states he would need in order to get to 270. In those cases, Biden's number is on the left and Trump's is on the right in bold italics.

3 Pennsylvania
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state. The tipping point cell is shaded in yellow to denote that and the font color is adjusted to attempt to reflect the category in which the state is.

Despite the flood of new polling data, the overarching story here at FHQ remains the same. No states changed sides nor did any change shades. That said, Kansas, on the weight of two polls with wider than typical margins, moved to the very edge of the Lean Trump group of states in the order on the Spectrum. The Sunflower state is now on the Watch List within a point of shifting up into the Strong Trump category. Kansas was joined on the Watch List by Iowa and Nevada. The former is now within a point of pushing across the partisan line into Biden territory and the latter is closer to returning to the Lean Biden category. 

Yet, Kansas is the only bright spot on the day for the president. Everywhere else, including almost every state that matters to his quest for 270 electoral votes, either held steady or inched further away from him. And at a time with just 13 days until the voting phase of this election concludes, it is another lost day for Trump through the lens of the polls. 

13 days to go.


Where things stood at FHQ on October 21 (or close to it) in...
2016
2012
2008


--
NOTE: Distinctions are made between states based on how much they favor one candidate or another. States with a margin greater than 10 percent between Biden and Trump are "Strong" states. Those with a margin of 5 to 10 percent "Lean" toward one of the two (presumptive) nominees. Finally, states with a spread in the graduated weighted averages of both the candidates' shares of polling support less than 5 percent are "Toss Up" states. The darker a state is shaded in any of the figures here, the more strongly it is aligned with one of the candidates. Not all states along or near the boundaries between categories are close to pushing over into a neighboring group. Those most likely to switch -- those within a percentage point of the various lines of demarcation -- are included on the Watch List below.

The Watch List1
State
Potential Switch
Georgia
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Iowa
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Kansas
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
Nevada
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
New Hampshire
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
New Mexico
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
Ohio
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Pennsylvania
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
1 Graduated weighted average margin within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

--
Methodological Note: In past years, FHQ has tried some different ways of dealing with states with no polls or just one poll in the early rounds of these projections. It does help that the least polled states are often the least competitive. The only shortcoming is that those states may be a little off in the order in the Spectrum. In earlier cycles, a simple average of the state's three previous cycles has been used. But in 2016, FHQ strayed from that and constructed an average swing from 2012 to 2016 that was applied to states. That method, however, did little to prevent anomalies like the Kansas poll that had Clinton ahead from biasing the averages. In 2016, the early average swing in the aggregate was  too small to make much difference anyway. For 2020, FHQ has utilized an average swing among states that were around a little polled state in the rank ordering on election day in 2016. If there is just one poll in Delaware in 2020, for example, then maybe it is reasonable to account for what the comparatively greater amount of polling tells us about the changes in Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico. Or perhaps the polling in Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina so far tells us a bit about what may be happening in Alaska where no public polling has been released. That will hopefully work a bit better than the overall average that may end up a bit more muted.


--
Related posts:




Follow FHQ on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or subscribe by Email.