Showing posts with label NE CD2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NE CD2. Show all posts

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Early Signs: Nebraska Electoral Vote Allocation Likely to Stay the Same

Last week FHQ detailed new legislation in Nebraska that would shift the allocation of electoral college votes from a congressional district method back to the standard winner-take-all method used in 48 other states and Washington, DC.

And this latest effort to switch back to a winner-take-all format for the first time since 1988 looks to go down the same road the previous 16 over the years: nowhere. Martha Stoddard at the Omaha World-Herald reported that LB 76's hearing before the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee found more opposition than support in the comments brought before the panel. 

Only the bill's sponsor, Senator Julie Slama (R-1st, Peru) and Ryan Hamilton, the executive director of the Republican Party in the Cornhusker state, spoke in favor of the move back to a winner-take-all allocation. Slama called the current system "unfair" and that it places undue partisan pressure on lawmakers in the redistricting process. 

Both arguments received pushback from opponents of the bill, including the system's architect, former Senator DiAnna Schimek. Opposition argued that the current system at least potentially makes part of the state -- Omaha -- competitive during a presidential general elections and thus draws some attention to the state.

The bill is not dead, but the signal coming out of the initial hearing was not positive for those seeking a reversion to the winner-take-all system.



Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Nebraska Once Again Considers Returning to a Winner-Take-All Electoral Vote Allocation

A committee hearing scheduled for next week will once again have the Nebraska legislature considering a return to a winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes in future Electoral College meetings. 

LB 76 would revert Nebraska to the same winner-take-all system that it utilized in the Electoral College prior to the 1992 cycle and which all states other than Maine also use. 

But these attempts are nothing new in the Cornhusker state. Ever since that 1991 legislative session ushered in the era of electoral vote allocation by congressional district in Nebraska, some legislator or legislators have introduced legislation to rejoin the majority of states in how they handle the process. Each time, however, those efforts have failed. In 1993. In 1995. And in 1997. Chatter ramped up again in the aftermath of the state's first split of electoral votes in 2008, but nothing came of it. The same was true in 2015-16 before the 2016 presidential election and then again after it during the 2017 session. 

Now though, on the heels of yet another split of the five electoral votes at stake in Nebraska -- with John Biden replicating Barack Obama's 2008 win in the state's second congressional district on the way to the White House -- talk has again escalated around the idea of abandoning the more proportional system. And that talk with continue at the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee hearing next Wednesday. 

--
The allocation method Nebraska utilizes is unique compared to most other states, but given its partisan bent, any split that occurs breaks with the overwhelming partisan sentiment in the state. And those are the ends of the spectrum: maintaining a unique system or preserving electoral votes for the Republican nominee. The former has won out to this point since 1992.

Nebraska may have had difficulty in breaking with that tradition, but other states have had their own issues in trying to move to a more proportional, Nebraska-style allocation method. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all considered that in the time after the 2012 election. All states were Republican-controlled, but all had gone for Obama in 2012. Efforts failed in all three and 2016 quickly proved the folly such a move would have presented. Trump narrowly won all three states and would have had to have split the electoral votes had those post-2012 plans been instituted. Unintended consequences are everywhere. 


--
As a footnote, in recent years (during the 2010s) there have been more, although not more successful, bids to transition Nebraska into the national popular vote pact. There have been at least five (unsuccessful) bills on that front in that time.





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Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Electoral College Map (11/1/20)

Update for November 1.


Well, if Saturday was a break from what have often been quiet weekends on the polling front in the 2020 presidential race, then Sunday was a decibel-filled cacophony. There were new data from 57 polls in 16 states -- plus surveys that covered both congressional districts in Maine and the second in Nebraska -- and it was all concentrated in the 13 states from New Mexico on the left to Texas on the right in the heart of the Electoral College Spectrum order. 

What was unique about this batch of new surveys was that a raft of them came from right-leaning pollsters. And across the states that count -- those six core battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- the margins all decreased, benefiting President Trump. However, there are two sizable caveats to that. First, despite the decreases, the map and projection remained unchanged after the introduction of those polls. That means that none of those battlegrounds changed categories. But second, in drilling down just a smidgen, there was either no movement or movement toward Biden since the last polls in the majority of surveys in those series. 

They may have -- and may yet on Monday -- flood the zone with new polls, but those data from right-leaning pollsters are unlikely to change anything around here before tomorrow. Even Georgia, which has lately been precariously perched on either side of the partisan line has shifted enough into the Biden column at this point, that it, too, is likely locked in there. Again, this has been a steady race, and while these polls may have brought down the average margins some in states where Biden has been ahead throughout, in the end it is but a small sliver of a change.

On to the polls...


Polling Quick Hits:
Arizona
(Trump 50, Biden 48 via AtlasIntel | Biden 48, Trump 46 via Emerson | Biden 49, Trump 43 via Siena/NYT Upshot | Biden 50, Trump 46 via CNN | Biden 50, Trump 47 via Y2 Analytics)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +2.89] 
No previous AtlasIntel poll
Emerson: Biden 53, Trump 47 in August poll
Siena: Biden 49, Trump 41 in early October poll
CNN: Biden 49, Trump 45 in July poll
No previous Y2 Analytics poll

FHQ will start each of these polling vignettes today with the current FHQ average in each state. In Arizona, Biden's (rounded) advantage is 48-45. Of the day's polls in the Grand Canyon state, Emerson, CNN and Y2 Analytics most fall in line with that long established state of affairs in Arizona. It is and has been close, but it has also, more often than not been tipped in the former vice president's direction in individual polls. There is some narrowing across a few of these from their last iterations, but it is not to the level of tightening that the president is going to need to pull out wins in some of these states below. 


Colorado
(Biden 53, Trump 41 via Keating Research)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +12.82] 
Keating: Biden 54, Trump 39 in mid-October poll

Currently, the averages in this former perennial battleground has Biden out to a 53-40 (rounded) lead. Colorado simply has not been close in 2020 and is not still in an update that falls right on the candidates' averages here.


Florida
(Trump 47, Biden 46 via Susquehanna | Biden 48, Trump 47 via Pulse Opinion Research | Biden 47, Trump 44 via Siena/NYT Upshot | Biden 49, Trump 48 via St. Pete Polls | Biden 52, Trump 46 via Emerson | Biden 51, Trump 47 via RMG Research | Trump 50, Biden 48 via ABC/WaPo | Biden 49, Trump 47 via YouGov/CCES)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +2.88] 
Susquehanna: Trump 49, Biden 44 in poll last week
Pulse Opinion Research: Trump 50, Biden 46 in mid-October poll
Siena: Biden 47, Trump 42 in early October poll
St. Pete Polls: Biden 49, Trump 47 in mid-October poll
Emerson: Biden 51, Trump 48 in mid-October poll
RMG Research: Biden 50, Trump 48 in mid-October poll
ABC/WaPo: Trump 51, Biden 47 in September poll
No previous YouGov/CCES poll

In the Sunshine state, Trump lags Biden by a 49-46 (rounded) margin, and most of the eight new polls out of Florida today fit right in that general range. There are some exceptions like Susquehanna, but it remains a steady picture in this case. Like Arizona, it has been close in Florida almost all along. There was a brief five day period in late July when the Sunshine state drifted over into Lean Biden territory, but that moment was fleeting. Yet, the fact remains that as close as Florida has been, it has been consistently tipped toward the former vice president throughout much of 2020. The addition of these polls does not alter that. Even the polls that had Trump ahead -- Susquehanna, RMG and WaPo -- all either saw no shift since the last polls in the series or tightening that benefited Biden. And surveys that moved toward Trump tended to bring them in line with the prevailing average in the state at FHQ.


Georgia
(Trump 48, Biden 46 via Insider Advantage | Biden 49, Trump 49 via Emerson | Biden 48, Trump 47 via YouGov/CCES)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +0.36] 
No previous Insider Advantage poll
Emerson: Trump 48, Biden 47 in mid-October poll
No previous YouGov/CCES poll

In the Peach state, once the average shares of both candidates are rounded, the count comes to a 47-47 tie. And again, the new surveys are largely in line with that. Only the Emerson poll offered a comparison to an earlier poll, and even there, the change was minimal. Georgia is close, the closest state on the board at the moment. 


Iowa
(Trump 49, Biden 48 via Civiqs | Trump 49, Biden 47 via Emerson | Trump 48, Biden 46 via Insider Advantage | Trump 48, Biden 41 via Selzer)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.89] 
Civiqs: Biden 48, Trump 47 in early October poll
Emerson: Trump 48, Biden 48 in mid-October poll
Insider Advantage: Trump 45, Biden 45 in mid-October poll
Selzer: Trump 49, Biden 47 in September poll

Speaking of the closest states on the board, Iowa also fits that bill with Trump maintaining a narrow 47-46 (rounded) edge in the FHQ averages. Again, as in Georgia above, most of the new polls today are consistent with that established average. However, the one that stands out is the one that is often called he gold standard of polling in the Hawkeye state. And in that Selzer poll, the president stayed in the upper 40s like the last survey in September but Biden trailed off, dropping in to the low 40s. What is different from that last poll to the latest update is that five percent of the respondents refused to say who they were supporting in the new one. That was a segment of the electorate that was not accounted for in the previous poll. The crosstabs on that subsample of around 40 respondents in that poll would have been interesting to look at; not necessarily representative, but interesting. 


Maine
(Biden 54, Trump 43 via Emerson
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +13.40] 

Maine CD1
(Biden 58, Trump 39 via Emerson
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +22.92] 

Maine CD2
(Biden 50, Trump 47 via Emerson
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +1.88] 
No previous Emerson poll

FHQ will keep the focus in Maine on the second congressional district where the competition is. There has been no previous Emerson poll of the Pine Tree state, so there is no natural comparison, but Biden's lead in the averages there has stabilized around 47-45 (rounded). That is behind this poll of the district, yet not exactly inconsistent with it. Although there have been just 14 surveys in the field in ME CD2, 11 of them have favored the former vice president. Like the rest of those other toss ups close to the partisan line on the Biden side, the second is and has been close throughout, but consistently tilted toward the Democratic nominee. 


Michigan
(Biden 53, Trump 45 via Ipsos | Biden 49, Trump 47 via Insider Advantage | Biden 52, Trump 46 via Emerson | Biden 53, Trump 41 via CNN | Biden 52, Trump 45 via Mitchell Research | Biden 48, Trump 41 via EPIC-MRA)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.31] 
Ipsos: Biden 53, Trump 43 in poll last week
No previous Insider Advantage poll
Emerson: Biden 54, Trump 43 in early October poll
CNN: Biden 52, Trump 40 in July poll
Mitchell: Biden 52, Trump 42 in poll last week
EPIC-MRA: Biden 48, Trump 39 in mid-October poll
 
Here is the deal in the Great Lakes state: Biden is already averaging over a 50 percent share of support there. Despite the fact that each of these polls today -- those with a predecessor in the series anyway -- show some narrowing, it is almost all on the Trump side of the equation. The former vice president is still stable and at or over the majority mark in each of these updates. The president may or may not close the gap some on election day, but if Biden is over 50 percent, it will not matter. 


Minnesota
(Biden 54, Trump 39 via St. Cloud State
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +8.52] 
No previous St. Cloud State poll

This St. Cloud State survey of the North Star state may be on the high side of the range for Biden and low side for Trump, but it remains in line with the 51-42 (rounded) average the race is currently at under the FHQ methodology. And as was said in Saturday's update, other than the Survey USA series, the majority of pollsters have generally found a race with Biden over 50 percent and Trump stuck in the low 40s, the latter of which is in the range of the president's overall job approval numbers nationally. 


Nebraska CD2
(Biden 50, Trump 48 via Emerson)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +6.69] 
No previous Emerson poll

The difference between this latest poll and the FHQ averages for NE CD2 are fairly stark. As of now, Biden holds a 51-44 (rounded) lead that looks a lot like the early polls out of the district over the summer. But that discrepancy likely has more to do with the general lack of polling activity in the Omaha area this year. The big polling issue on the state level in 2016 was that there were not a lot of polls in the field in the days before the election. Now, the swing is much less likely to be as large this time around -- there are fewer undecideds after all -- but the same sort of thing could be happening Nebraska's second as election day nears and partisans/partisan leaners come home. Regardless, Biden has been at or over 50 percent in all but one of the (yes, just) six public polls conducted in the district in 2020.


Nevada
(Biden 49, Trump 47 via Emerson)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +4.34] 
No previous Emerson poll
 
Nevada is another jurisdiction where polling has been lacking all year, but where Biden has trailed only once. This Emerson poll hits the vice president's average FHQ share but has Trump running about three points ahead of his average share of support. That tighter margin may be partisans coming home to the president, Biden struggling with Latinos in the state and/or signs of the vaunted Harry Reid turnout machine faltering in the midst of a global pandemic. But the Silver state is another state where it is striking how close the Democratic nominee is to 50 percent. He is not there in this case, but Biden is approaching it in a way that neither Clinton nor Trump did four years ago. 


New Mexico
(Biden 54, Trump 42 via Research & Polling Inc.)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +10.64] 
Research & Polling: Biden 54, Trump 39 in September poll

In the Land of Enchantment, the FHQ averages have the race for the state's five electoral votes at 53-42 (rounded) in favor of the former vice president. This poll is evidence of the race coming in line with that more than it is about Trump gaining ground. This may have been a flip opportunity -- or a state that was eyed as one by the president's campaign operation -- but that has not panned out in any of the New Mexico polling in 2020.  


North Carolina
(Trump 50, Biden 48 via AtlasIntel | Trump 48, Biden 44 via Insider Advantage | Biden 47, Trump 47 via Emerson | Biden 51, Trump 45 via CNN | Trump 49, Biden 47 via Trafalgar Group | Biden 49, Trump 45 via YouGov/CCES)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +1.77] 
No previous AtlasIntel poll
No previous Insider Advantage poll
Emerson: Biden 49, Trump 49 in mid-October poll
CNN: Biden 49, Trump 46 in September poll
Trafalgar: Trump 49, Biden 46 in poll last week
No previous YouGov/CCES poll

Only half of the polls out today in North Carolina had a previous survey to which to compare, and two of those had Trump uncharacteristically ahead in a state where Biden has carried a narrow but consistent lead in the FHQ averages for much of the year. Currently, Biden is up 48-46 (rounded) and most of the surveys today are consistent with that. Some, like the CNN poll have Biden running toward the top end of this range while others like AtlasIntel have the president outperforming his average. The margin may have inched down a tick, but it remains tipped in Biden's direction in the Tar Heel state. 


Ohio
(Trump 49, Biden 48 via Civiqs | Biden 50, Trump 49 via Emerson)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.95] 
Civiqs: Trump 50, Biden 47 in mid-October poll
Emerson: Trump 51, Biden 49 in May poll

One could make a mountain out of a molehill and suggest that the gap narrowed in both Buckeye state polls released today, but the truth is that both maintain an established status quo Trump lead in Ohio. With election day in sight, the president's 47-46 (rounded) advantage in the FHQ averages of Ohio are reflected in both surveys. But the key is less about who leads than how much Ohio has swung toward the Democrats since 2016. The shift there is in line with the seven point average swing across the whole country in 2020 polls. That Ohio is close at all is the story here. Whether Biden can flip it or Trump narrowly defend it is mostly immaterial to the quest for 270 electoral votes (especially in the winning Biden scenarios). 


Pennsylvania
(Biden 52, Trump 46 via Ipsos | Trump 49, Biden 47 via Insider Advantage | Biden 49, Trump 43 via Siena/NYT Upshot | Biden 52, Trump 47 via Emerson | Trump 50, Biden 49 via AtlasIntel | Biden 51, Trump 44 via ABC/WaPo | Biden 52, Trump 44 via YouGov/CCES)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +5.28] 
Ipsos: Biden 51, Trump 44 in poll last week
Insider Advantage: Trump 48, Biden 46 in poll last week
Siena: Biden 49, Trump 42 in early October poll
Emerson: Biden 51, Trump 47 in early October poll
No previous AtlasIntel poll
ABC/WaPo: Biden 54, Trump 45 in September poll
No previous YouGov/CCES poll

There is a prevailing take home that has emerged in the most frequently surveyed state in the 2020 presidential race. The first point on the checklist is always to ask whether Biden is around 50 percent and if Trump is in the mid-40s. This batch of polls checks that box for the most part. Those that do not, like the Emerson survey show no real movement poll-to-poll from the last update, have Biden over the majority mark (ABC/WaPo) or have the president ahead in a state where polls have shown that less than a tenth of the time. But that 50-44 (rounded) edge the former vice president has had has been among the most consistent realities of this race for months. That consistency has kept the Keystone state firmly lodged in the tipping point position well inside Biden's coalition of states.


Texas
(Trump 50, Biden 49 via Emerson | Trump 50, Biden 45 via Gravis Marketing | Trump 49, Biden 47 via YouGov/CCES)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +1.45] 
Emerson: Trump 52, Biden 48 in May poll
Gravis: Trump 46, Biden 44 in July poll
No previous YouGov/CCES poll

Like Iowa and Ohio, Texas has been a state that has swung toward the Democrats since 2016, but shifted in a manner that is in line with the average change across the country. That has made the Lone Star state look much more competitive in 2020, but it continues to be basically the North Carolina of the Trump side of the partisan line. The president has led throughout, but has maintained a narrow -- and at this point 48-46 (rounded) -- edge in the FHQ averages. The newly added surveys do little to disrupt that general outlook in Texas. 


Utah
(Trump 51, Biden 44 via Y2 Analytics)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +13.44] 
Y2 Analytics: Trump 50, Biden 40 in early October poll

Look, this is among the rosiest polls a Democrat will likely ever get in the Beehive state. But then, the Y2 Analytics series of polls this year in Utah, has been that way for Joe Biden. But the fact remains that no Democrat has cleared 40 percent in Utah since Johnson carried the state in 1964. Obama came closest in 2008 with 35 percent there, but this series polls stands out in a state where the FHQ average has settled in at 52-39 (rounded) with Trump out in front.


Wisconsin
(Biden 51, Trump 47 via Civiqs | Biden 53, Trump 45 via Ipsos | Biden 51, Trump 49 via AtlasIntel | Biden 53, Trump 45 via Emerson | Biden 49, Trump 46 via Susquehanna | Biden 52, Trump 41 via Siena/NYT Upshot | Trump 52, Biden 44 via CNN)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +6.39] 
Civiqs: Biden 53, Trump 45 in mid-October poll
Ipsos: Biden 53, Trump 44 in poll last week
No previous AtlasIntel poll
Emerson: Biden 52, Trump 45 in September poll
Susquehanna: Biden 46, Trump 45 in mid-October poll
Siena: Trump 51, Biden 41 in mid-October poll
CNN: Biden 52, Trump 42 in September poll

There just is not that much different from one poll to the latest in this group of new surveys out of the Badger state. And two of the three polls that find a greater than one point change increase the former vice president's advantage there. But the bigger thing in Wisconsin is that Biden's average FHQ share has now, as in Michigan, surpassed the 50 percent threshold, a point he passes in six of the seven new polls today. Trump does not need Wisconsin, but with Biden north of 50 percent at FHQ in both Michigan and Wisconsin now, the president's margin for error is quite low. Without those two, Trump absolutely has to run the table through the Biden toss ups and claim the one remaining blue wall state he flipped (and where Biden is barely below 50 percent at FHQ), Pennsylvania. 



NOTE: 


The Electoral College Spectrum1
DC-3
VT-3
(6)2
NJ-14
(156)
NE CD2-1
WI-10
(253)
AK-3
(125)
TN-11
(60)
MA-11
(17)
OR-7
(163)
PA-203
(273 | 285)
MO-10
(122)
KY-8
(49)
MD-10
(27)
IL-20
(183)
NV-6
(279 | 265)
SC -9
(112)
SD-3
(41)
HI-4
(31)
ME-2
(185)
AZ-11
(290 | 259)
MT-3
NE CD1-1
(103)
AL-9
(38)
NY-29
(60)
CO-9
(194)
FL-29
(319 | 248)
KS-6
(99)
ID-4
(29)
CA-55
(115)
VA-13
(207)
ME CD2-1
NC-15
(335 | 219)
IN-11
(93)
AR-6
(25)
DE-3
(118)
NH-4
(211)
GA-16
(351 | 203)
NE-2
(82)
OK-7
(19)
WA-12
(130)
NM-5
(216)
IA-6
(187)
UT-6
(80)
ND-3
(12)
CT-7
ME CD1-1
(138)
MN-10
(226)
OH-18
(181)
MS-6
(74)
WV-5
(9)
RI-4
(142)
MI-16
(242)
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.

57 new polls from 16 states and another poll out of the second district in Nebraska led to the following changes:
  • Nebraska CD2 moves into the middle column at the very top, a once cell shift toward the partisan line.
  • Arizona and Florida traded spots on the Electoral College Spectrum with the Sunshine state moving closer the partisan line. 
  • Speaking of the partisan line, Maine CD2 moved away from it and to the other side of North Carolina in the order. 
  • Wisconsin saw Joe Biden's share of support push across the 50 percent barrier there. 

2 days to go.


Where things stood at FHQ two days before election day (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
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.


--
Recent posts:




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Friday, October 9, 2020

The Electoral College Map (10/9/20)

Update for October 9.


The end of another work week is here and with it is yet another opportunity to take stock of where the race for the White House currently stands. Time is ticking down toward November 3, millions have already voted across the country and President Trump did little this week to right his ship in the wake of the combined effects of his widely panned debate performance and his positive Covid test last week. In a broad sense, the status quo was maintained with Biden continuing to hold down a projected 335-203 advantage in the electoral vote tally. Under the surface, however, there was some evidence this week that the trajectory of momentum in the contest was toward the former vice president. No, it has not meant any changes in the tally, but states important to the president successfully defending his 2016 victory -- especially Florida and Pennsylvania -- began to see their margins begin to expand after a period in which both had largely leveled off (while still giving Biden the edge). That is not to say that other state-level polls did not show movement toward Biden, but the results elsewhere were a little more mixed. 

But with 25 days until voting concludes on November 3, Trump has painted himself into a corner without any clear way out. 

On to the day's polls...


Polling Quick Hits:
Arizona
(Trump 48, Biden 44)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.12]
Arizona is a good example of those mixed results cited above. Of course, using a typically right-leaning Trafalgar Group survey as evidence of that may be unfair in this comparison. What was a one point lead in early August has expanded to four for Trump in the Grand Canyon state. But this poll has Biden at a level of support that has not been at or lower than since a June Redfield and Wilton poll. Trump, on the other hand, is at the top of his range. This survey, then does not exactly fit neatly in with other recent polls in Arizona where Biden has continued to lead pulling in a steady stream of polls with margins putting him up two to four points with some mid-single digit margins mixed in here and there. 


Colorado
(Biden 50, Trump 40)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +12.77]
This is the first time Survey USA has been in the field to gauge presidential preference in the Centennial state in calendar 2020. And the once-battleground again looked less so in yet another Colorado poll. No, there have not been as many surveys in 2020 as in past cycles, but they have told a similar story over time.  With rare exception, Biden has been at or over 50 percent while Trump has been stuck around 40 percent all along. This poll was right on target on Trump's established share of support in the FHQ graduated weighted averages, but had Biden running a couple of points behind his. Nevertheless, the former vice president looks poised to comfortably claim Colorado's nine electoral votes on or after November 3. 


Florida
(Trump 46, Biden 43)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.44]
Over in the Sunshine state, Insider Advantage conducted a poll that had all the markings of the sporadic past surveys that have had Biden as low as 43 percent. Those polls, like the Kaiser poll in September or the Zogby Analytics survey from July, have tended to have an astronomical number of undecideds and respondents supporting minor party candidates. And while the Insider Advantage survey fits that description, if differs from polls of that ilk because it has Trump in the mid-40s. Past polls where Biden has been in the low 40s in Florida have also found Trump there as well. Both candidates were nearly equivalently affected by undecided/other. But that is not the case with this latest survey. It accurately captures Trump's share of support (relative to the FHQ averages), but finds Biden five points below his.


Georgia
(Trump 48, Biden 46)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.15]
The last University of Georgia survey of the Peach state was a 47-47 tie that matched the rounded averages for both candidates. Trump inching up a point at Biden's expense in the time since then is a status quo outcome. At the very most, it is weak evidence of movement toward Trump. Instead, it is more likely further fodder for the argument that Georgia is close -- very close -- but ever so slightly tipped in favor of the president. 


Michigan
(Biden 54, Trump 43)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.17]
Meanwhile, in Michigan, Emerson was in the field for the first time in calendar 2020 and found Biden up by a hefty 11 points. Double digit Biden advantages have not been non-existent but they have been fewer and farther between since the former vice president's polling surge across the country in June and July. And those polls have often been lost (especially in the Great Lakes state, the most frequently polled state of the year) amid a sea of mid- to upper single digit Biden-favorable margins. There is not evidence yet that the tide is turning on that front. This Emerson poll could be a sign of that, but it stands alone for the time being with Biden more than four points out ahead of his FHQ average share of support and Trump right on his. The more important thing at this point is probably that Biden's average share continues to track upward toward 50 percent. 


Nebraska CD2
(Biden 53, Trump 42)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.72]
Recently, FHQ argued that Michigan and the Omaha area second district in Nebraska were tracking closely with one another in their swings since 2016. And coincidentally enough, the new FM3 Research survey of the 2nd shows the same 11 point advantage that the Emerson poll above had Biden ahead in the Great Lakes state. But while double digit Biden leads have occasioned the data in Michigan, this is first such poll result in the Nebraska district. It has Biden at his high water mark in polling of the Omaha area while Trump is toward the lower end of his (limited) range. Unlike in Michigan, however, the former vice president has already topped 50 percent in his average share of support in the Nebraska's second. 


New Hampshire
(Biden 53, Trump 41)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +10.64]
Honestly, FHQ was a bit leery of New Hampshire shifting into the Strong Biden category on the weight of the four waves of Survey Monkey polls being added last weekend. But the latest St. Anselm update in the Granite state backs up that move. Since the college pollsters last survey in August, Biden has gained a couple of points while Trump has trailed off by two of his own. But while Biden's gain puts him in line with his current average level of support at FHQ, it runs a little below where Trump has settled in there. Yet, a state that Clinton narrowly carried four years ago is looking more comfortably blue in 2020.


New Jersey
(Biden 53, Trump 38)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +18.93]
New Jersey has not been surveyed all that frequently in calendar 2020, but it is one of those blue states that still favors Biden but on a level roughly equivalent to Hillary Clinton in 2016. To the extent there has been any shift there in the time since is all on Trump. And the president lags more than four points behind his 2016 pace. However, in the new Fairleigh Dickinson poll, it is the former vice president who fell behind his average share of support at FHQ as Trump is modestly above his. Interestingly though, this poll very closely mirrors the survey the university pollster conducted (but among registered instead of likely voters) in the Garden state in February. Biden is exactly where he was then and Trump added a bit of support (three points). It is not enough to bring the president in range in the state in which he once owned an Atlantic City casino, but it does have him toward the top of his range while Biden is near his nadir and still up 15.


Texas
(Biden 50, Trump 49 via Public Policy Polling | Trump 50, Biden 45 via YouGov)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +1.68]
For the second consecutive day, Texas had two polls released that told differing stories. Public Policy Polling continues to find the race for the Lone Star state's 38 electoral votes within a point. That is now four PPP surveys in a row dating back to August that paint that picture. Consistency is also a feature of YouGov's surveys alongside the University of Texas. But rather than a one point advantage one way or the other, YouGov/UT have had Trump up four to five points. This is the first update since June, but all four polls the pairing has conducted have had Trump approaching or at 50 percent and Biden in the mid-40s. The FHQ averages would seem to indicate that PPP is closer on the margin, but that it has both candidates running out in front of their average shares. But YouGov/UT have been good at charting out Biden's support relative to the averages while finding Trump ahead of his share of support. Texas is close, but is really a lot like the North Carolina of the Trump coalition of states at this point. The average margins in the two Sun Belt states are now converging on one another. 


Redfield and Wilton Strategies (first October wave of battleground polls)

North Carolina: Biden +5 (Biden +2, Trump -1 since last September wave[Current FHQ margin: Biden +1.65]
Florida: Biden +5 (Biden +1, Trump +1)
Arizona: Biden +6 (Biden +2, Trump -1)
Pennsylvania: Biden +7 (Biden -1, Trump -2) [Current FHQ margin: Biden +5.51]
Michigan: Biden +8 (Biden -1, Trump +/-0)
Wisconsin: Biden +10 (Biden +3, Trump -2) [Current FHQ margin: Biden +6.19]

In concluding, FHQ will not linger too long on yet another wave of polls in the six core battlegrounds from Redfield and Wilton Strategies. Again, the movement is pretty subtle from the last wave to now. But Biden is now up by five or more points in all six states. And Trump needs at least North Carolina, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania -- in that order -- to get to 270 electoral votes. That the president needs to make up seven points in 25 days through the R&W lens is quite a steep climb. The order of the six generally holds up in this new set with one exception. Wisconsin is way off on the high end rather than Michigan. These are Biden favorable numbers across the board in a wave that was in the field after both the first debate and the president's Covid diagnosis. But the former vice president did not create more distance between himself and the president in all six states. Rather, that was the case in only four of the six with Wisconsin swinging the most. 


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
DC-3
VT-3
(6)2
IL-20
(162)
WI-10
(253)
SC-9
(125)
TN-11
(60)
MA-11
(17)
OR-7
(169)
PA-203
(273 | 285)
MO-10
(116)
KY-8
(49)
MD-10
(27)
NJ-14
(183)
NV-6
(279 | 265)
AK-3
(116)
AL-9
(41)
CA-55
(82)
ME-2
(185)
FL-29
(308 | 259)
KS-6
(103)
SD-3
(32)
NY-29
(111)
CO-9
(194)
AZ-11
(319 | 230)
NE CD1-1
MT-3
(97)
ID-4
(29)
HI-4
(115)
VA-13
(207)
NC-15
ME CD2-1
(335 | 219)
NE-2
(93)
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.

It has been a busy polling week on the state level, and Friday did not break that trend. Still, another poll-heavy day did little to disrupt what has become commonplace around FHQ. The map stayed stuck on Biden 335-203 with no states changing categories. And no states emerged to add themselves to the Watch List of possibilities for such category shifts. But there were a couple of minor changes on the Electoral College Spectrum. Nebraska's second congressional district continued to share the same cell with Michigan, but moved past the Great Lakes state deeper into the order on the Biden side of the partisan line. New Jersey, on the other hand, moved in the opposite direction, swapping spots with Oregon and moving closer to the partisan line separating both candidates' coalitions of states. No, the Garden state is not in any danger of moving out of that middle Democratic column, but it did move down a slot. 

But with 25 days to go, this remains a pretty steady race with some uneven evidence of things shifting in Biden's direction in the state-level polling. 



Where things stood at FHQ on October 9 (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
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.


--
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