Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Electoral College Map (7/16/20)

Update for July 16.

A day after a relatively heavy polling release day, there was just one new state-level poll released on Thursday. That was a survey from early last week out of Arizona. And unlike a day ago, it did little to change the extant state of the race overall. Still, a poll out of a battleground state is a poll out of a battleground state. Let's dig in.

Polling Quick Hits:
The new poll out of the Grand Canyon state from OH Predictive Insights has Biden up 49-44, which paints a marginally different picture of the race than the last survey the firm had in the field in May. Then, Biden was up seven and at 50 percent. But while the narrowing of the margin may be greeted as some positive news by the Trump campaign, overall, the poll fits well into the range established in Arizona polling since June. In polls since the calendar changed from May to June, the former vice president has maintained an average margin over Trump of a little more than three points. This poll runs ahead of that and where the FHQ average now has the race. Here, Biden leads by a shade more than three points (3.2 points to be exact). In other words, despite the narrowing of the margin poll-over-poll at OH Predictive, this survey is more in line with recent polling in Arizona.

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 CD2-1
(269 | 289)
(273 | 269)
(302 | 265)
(308 | 236)
(319 | 230)
(334 | 219)
(352 | 204)
ME CD1-1
NE CD1-1
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 Pennsylvania (Biden's toss up states up to the Keystone state), 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 New Hampshire
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state for the former vice president. But because the line between New Hampshire and Pennsylvania creates an Electoral College tie (269-269), Pennsylvania is the tipping point state for Trump. It is where the president surpasses 270 electoral votes. Collectively, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are the tipping point states.

Arizona also held steady on the Electoral College Spectrum above, lodged between North Carolina on the Trump side of the order and (still underpolled) Nevada on the Biden side. All continue to be on the Biden side of the partisan line, bolstering his cushion of toss up states beyond the tipping point states. Yes, that is still states. New Hampshire and Pennsylvania positioned where they are in the order would lead to an Electoral College tie if the major party candidates split them. But again, Biden leads in both and an additional five states past that up to the partisan line separating the Biden and Trump coalitions of states.

The Watch List below like the Spectrum above stays unchanged from Wednesday. Most of the states straddle lines further away from the partisan line and thus are no immediate threat to changing the overall electoral vote tally. Georgia and Ohio are the states to watch on that front. Both are within a fraction of a point of the partisan line and thus of hopping over and altering the electoral vote totals.

But it will take more polling data to trigger that sort of change.

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
Potential Switch
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
from Toss Up Trump
to Lean Trump
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
Nebraska CD1
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD2
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
New Hampshire
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
from Toss Up Biden
to Toss Up Trump
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
South Carolina
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
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:
The Electoral College Map (7/15/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/14/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/13/20)

Follow FHQ on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

No comments: