Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Electoral College Map (6/20/20)

Update for June 20.

Changes (June 20)
Toss Up Biden
Strong Biden
Ask and ye shall receive, I suppose.

Yesterday a new survey of underpolled New Hampshire was added into the FHQ state polling dataset and today Minnesota got an update to the state of the presidential race as well. For two blue states that finished 2016 with Clinton and Trump basically within a point or less of each other, Minnesota and New Hampshire are -- or have been -- polled entirely to sporadically during 2020. That still basically remains the case. Both are still woefully underpolled and that has been especially true during this April-June period when Biden's advantage in the surveys out there -- both nationally and at the state level -- has widened. The picture seemed somewhat incomplete with both states shaded in toss up light blue while others around them on the Electoral College Spectrum (below) saw the gap between Biden and Trump increase.

That was true when new data was added for New Hampshire a day ago and is even more true for Minnesota today.

Polling quick hits:
Gravis Marketing surveyed the Land of 10,000 Lakes on June 19 and found Biden to have a significant advantage there. When the initial question -- Biden or Trump? -- was augmented by pushed responses from undecideds on a follow up, Biden ended up with a 58-42 advantage. That was not much of a departure from the Mason-Dixon poll of the state in May when Trump pulled in a 44 percent share of support. But Biden's comparative number there shot up nearly ten points between the two polls (admittedly from two different pollsters).

But that 16 point margin grabs one's attention, especially when the only other 2020 poll out of the state showed a far more modest Biden lead. It is reminiscent of the recent polling from nearby Michigan. Yes, the Wolverine state has been polled far more than Minnesota, but both ended 2016 in a dead heat between Clinton and Trump. If margin in Michigan has stretched out from that near tie, then Minnesota likely has as well.

Nonetheless, the gap feels a bit wider than the true margin likely is in Minnesota right now. What would help clear that up? Yeah, you guessed it: some more survey work.

NOTE: A description of the methodology behind the graduated weighted average of 2020 state-level polling that FHQ uses for these projections can be found here.

The Electoral College Spectrum1
NE CD1-1
ME CD1-1
NE CD2-1
ME CD2-1
NE CD3-1
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 Florida (Biden's toss up states up to Florida), he would have 289 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 Trumps's is on the right in bold italics.

To keep the figure to 50 cells, Washington, DC and its three electoral votes are included in the beginning total on the Democratic side of the spectrum. The District has historically been the most Democratic state in the Electoral College.

3 Florida
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state.

What the Gravis survey of Minnesota leaves one with here at FHQ though is this: Minnesota shifts sharply toward Biden in the average, pushing out of toss up territory and all the way in the Strong Biden category. Biden's lead in Minnesota in the FHQ graduated weighted average is just a smidge over 11 points. So it is not an edge that is well into that Strong category, but it is there. That is engouh to shift Minnesota six spots on the Electoral College Spectrum (above), far deeper into the Biden coalition of states.

It was also enough to pull the state off the Watch List (below), but only just barely.

With only one new poll to add into the mix, there are only so many changes that can stem from that. And while there were some across the board in FHQ's graphics in this space, it did little to change the overall picture. Biden maintains a 352-186 lead in the electoral college projection and Florida remains the state at the tipping point in the equation. The thing for Biden now is that he claims six states beyond that tipping point and that is a nice cushion to have now or any time. But it is just June and there is still a campaign to be contested, one that Trump reenters to some extent with a rally in Oklahoma this evening.

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
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
Nebraska CD1
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD2
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
New Hampshire
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
from Toss Up Biden
to Toss Up Trump
South Carolina
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
from Strong Biden
to Lean 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 the thad 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.

No comments: