Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Electoral College Map (7/30/20)

Update for July 30.

Changes (July 30)
New HampshireToss Up BidenLean Biden
PennsylvaniaToss Up BidenLean Biden
Another day, another slew of polls to consider. Thursday offered another 11 polls from eight states with a couple of backdated New Hampshire(!) polls thrown in for good measure. None of it change the overall tally, but it did push a couple of Biden toss up states into the Lean Biden category. Pennsylvania is no stranger to that change, having flip-flopped back and forth across the Lean/Toss up line frequently in recent days. But New Hampshire has been (unconvincingly) mired in the Biden toss up group of states since the beginning, begging for any update that might bring it in line with states that finished around it in November 2016. Now the update is in, and New Hampshire is a toss up no longer.


Polling Quick Hits:
Florida (Biden 50, Trump 46):
Mason-Dixon went into the field in the Sunshine state for the first time this year and found Joe Biden  at the 50 percent mark and up by four. Neither datapoint strays too far from where the majority of Florida polling has been over the last half of July. But Biden was ahead of his FHQ average of support by about a point and a half while Trump overperformed his average by about 2.5 points.

New Hampshire (Biden 53, Trump 40):
While New Hampshire has been a Biden toss up since FHQ began these updates in mid-June, it was lack of polling that kept the Granite state there rather than any new polling. Adding in the May, June and July numbers from the University of New Hampshire colored the state a darker shade of blue. Trump held the same two point advantage in May that he had in February in the UNH poll, but saw that lead vanish under a seeming avalanche of support for Biden over the last two months. [Biden was basically +10 over that time while Trump lost around six points.] The former vice president held commanding 13 point leads in both, and on the weight of those polls, Biden's advantage in the Granite state ballooned enough to push it into Lean Biden territory.

North Carolina (Trump 48, Biden 47):
A week and a half after it was last in the field in the Tar Heel state, Cardinal Point Analytics was back with another survey of the state. The picture looked about the same: Trump narrowly ahead on rosiest end of the spectrum of recent North Carolina polls. That did little to move the state from the consistent lead Biden has had in the FHQ averages (between Biden +1 and 2 points)

Pennsylvania (Biden 50, Trump 41):
The latest Franklin and Marshall survey of Pennsylvania is its first in the state and it looked very similar to the Morning Consult poll of the Keystone state from earlier this week. If the Cardinal Point poll was on the Trump side of the range in North Carolina polling, then the two aforementioned Pennsylvania polls fall on the Biden-favorable end of the range there. And while that is true and Pennsylvania again jumped into the Lean Biden category, it continues to hover around that Lean/Toss Up line about five points out of Trump's reach at the moment.

Redfield & Wilton Strategies (July wave):
The July wave of the Redfield and Wilton Strategies battleground surveys offered a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, Biden maintains leads in all six states, but the former vice president got mixed results compared to the June wave from the firm. On average, he gained 1/6th of a point, but that was distributed in a non-uniform way across the states. Still, the order of the states -- minus Arizona -- is consistent with the established rank ordering of states in the Electoral College Spectrum below. None were outside of the established ranges of polling results either.

North Carolina: Biden +1 (-5) (+4 since June wave)
Florida: Biden +7 (+3)
Pennsylvania: Biden +7 (-3)
Arizona: Biden +8
Wisconsin: Biden +10 (+1)
Michigan: Biden +12 (+1)

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
(273 | 285)
(302 | 265)
(308 | 236)
(319 | 230)
(334 | 219)
NE CD1-1
ME 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 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 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 Pennsylvania
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state.

With the shifts in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, there were a few other changes of note. First, Pennsylvania takes over as the sole tipping point state. Trump would have to claw back all four Biden toss ups and Pennsylvania to get to 270. And both Pennsylvania and the next state in the order, Florida, remain tipped about five points toward Biden. That is presents some significant ground to make up. Second, with New Hampshire's move onto Lean Biden turf, Biden again now has 270 electoral votes projected to him from his Strong and Lean states alone. His toss ups at this point are superfluous to the hunt for 270.

But that obscures the fact that Nevada remains a Biden toss up. And like New Hampshire, the Silver state has lack a recent polling update. It also would probably be tilted a bit more toward Biden and at least in the Lean category if it followed the swings in other states that finished around it in 2016.

The Watch List below stayed about the same as a day ago. New Hampshire came off the List and is nestled well within the Lean Biden category at nearly Biden +7.

There were also no new polls from Nevada today.

Days since the last Nevada poll was in the field: 91.

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 Trump
to Lean Trump
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
from Toss Up Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD1
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD2
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
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.

Recent posts:
Draft Resolution Would Largely Extend 2020 Democratic Nomination Rules to 2024

The Electoral College Map (7/29/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/28/20)

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