Monday, October 26, 2020

The Electoral College Map (10/26/20)

Update for October 26.


With just eight days left until voting in the presidential election concludes in the 2020 campaign, the new work week -- the last full one of the cycle -- began with a flurry of surveys once again right in the heart of the competitive (and/or targeted) states in the rank ordering. 12 new polls from seven states -- Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin -- highlighted the releases on the day, sending some mixed signals. And although the average margins at FHQ across those seven states moved things both ways -- some benefiting Biden and others Trump -- one often mentioned factor remained the same here as it has in recent weeks: Georgia and Texas remained among the most competitive on the board. That those two states are in that position and not states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (that Trump narrowly flipped in 2016) says much about the state of this race as it draws to a close. As FHQ has said over the last several months, if Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and Texas are the closest states on November 3, then Biden will likely be in good shape in the race to 270 (assuming the established order of states holds up). 

So the day may have sent some mixed messages on a micro-level, on the macro-level, the story remains much the same as it has.

On to the polls... 


Polling Quick Hits:
Florida
(Biden 50, Trump 48)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.24]
The RMG Research update in the Sunshine state was mostly a wash. The firm was last in the field in Florida a couple of weeks ago (Biden, 48-46), and while both candidates gained over that time, the margin stayed the same. Biden continues to lead there, but since the margin was once again below the established FHQ average, it inched downward slightly. Still, this is yet another example of the former vice president topping 50 percent in Florida.


Georgia
(Biden 47, Trump 46)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +0.14]
Things have barely changed in Georgia over the last few days despite a number of new polls. Biden's already small advantage dwindled to +0.14 on Saturday and has stayed there since. There have been changes, but they have happened beyond the one-hundredths place, so they have been extremely small. The latest update to the UGA series of polls maintained that trajectory on Monday, but reversed course from the survey the university pollster released earlier this month. The president held a 48-46 edge in that survey. Yet that change did little to change just how close the Peach state is in the FHQ averages. 


Massachusetts
(Biden 64, Trump 29)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +36.69]
As wild as it might be to think of a Biden +35 from YouGov/UMass in the Bay state lowering the average margin there, it nevertheless did. And again, it was, as in the Florida case above, below the established margin by just a hair. However, the new survey did mark the transition from a registered voter sample in the last poll in August and one with likely voters now. The Democratic nominee's 61-28 lead within the series, then, expanded in that shift (even if the average margin ticked down a notch).


Michigan
(Biden 52, Trump 42)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.12]
The first in the latest round of Rust Belt surveys from YouGov/University of Wisconsin came from Michigan. And it is that first of three polls that showed the same thing: movement toward the former vice president since the last round in September (Biden, 51-45). Most of that movement in the Michigan polls from September to October was away from Trump more than it was toward Biden. But in both polls, the Democratic nominee was above 50 percent, continuing a trend there over the last month or more. 


Pennsylvania
(Biden 51, Trump 44 via Ipsos | Trump 48, Biden 46 via InsiderAdvantage | Biden 52, Trump 44 via YouGov/University of Wisconsin)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +5.37]
YouGov was also in the field in Pennsylvania, and like in Michigan, the Biden lead in the latest poll expanded relative to the last one in September (Biden, 49-45). But in the Keystone state (as opposed to Michigan), it was Biden who gained more than Trump lost over that span. The same general dynamic was true of the update to the Ipsos series in the commonwealth as well. There, too, Biden edged over the 50 percent mark since the last poll a week ago (Biden, 49-45), but the former vice president also gained more during that interim period than Trump lost. However, the third poll out of Pennsylvania on Monday ran counter to the the movement toward Biden in the other two surveys out today. The update from Insider Advantage saw a narrow 46-43 Biden lead from September give way to a narrow Trump advantage now. But just for some context, the last time Trump was ahead in Pennsylvania was a Spry Strategies survey in July. The president has led in just nine of the 121 surveys conducted in Pennsylvania in calendar 2020 and seven of those nine fell between January and May. Biden has been in control in the Pennsylvania polls since his nationwide polling surge in June and July. 


Texas
(Biden 49, Trump 48 via Data for Progress | Trump 47, Biden 43 via Siena/NYT Upshot | Trump 50, Biden 45 via YouGov/Hobby Center)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +1.49]
There was also a trio of new polls in the Lone Star state today. And this was a source of, if not good, then better news for the president. Both the poll from the Democratic-leaning Data for Progress and the one from Siena basically held the line from their immediately prior surveys in their series in Texas. Both candidates saw their support increase in the Data for Progress survey relative to the last one a week ago, but Biden's one point lead remained the same. In the Siena survey, Trump grew his advantage by one as Biden stayed stuck on a 43 percent share of support for a second consecutive month. Finally, YouGov also fielded a new poll in Texas, but it was its first partnered with the Hobby School at the University of Houston. This is the firm's fourth different partner in a Texas poll this year and it is in line with the others that have not involved CBS News. Those polls with CBS have tended to be closer -- within a couple of points -- while the remainder have typically shown a Trump lead of greater than four points fairly consistently. That consistency is good news for the president's chances of holding Texas next month, but it also speaks to a swing toward the Democrats since election day 2016.


Wisconsin
(Biden 53, Trump 44 via Ipsos | Biden 53, Trump 44 via YouGov/University of Wisconsin)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +6.34]
In the Badger state, the pair of new surveys out on Monday told a remarkably similar story. Not only did both polls show a 53-44 Biden advantage, but both witnessed both Biden growth in support and a contraction of Trump's since the last polls in the Ipsos and YouGov series. As Trump continued to be mired in the mid-40s in a state where he won in 2016 with just more than 47 percent, Biden pushed further above 50 percent. But at FHQ, the Democratic nominee rounds up to 50 percent in his average share of support in all three blue wall states -- Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- and with more polls coming in with him north of that mark, he may soon be above it as election day nears. 



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)
SD-3
(41)
HI-4
(31)
ME-2
(185)
FL-29
(308 | 259)
MT-3
NE CD1-1
(103)
AL-9
(38)
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)
IA-6
(187)
UT-6
(80)
ND-3
(12)
ME CD1-1
CT-7
(138)
MN-10
(226)
OH-18
(181)
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.

Even with a bevy of new swing state polls, everything held steady at FHQ to open the new work week. The map, Electoral College Spectrum and Watch List all remained unchanged from a day ago. That means that Pennsylvania, a state where Biden is closing in on 50 percent, continues to hold down the tipping point state designation, nearly five and a half points out of the president's reach. That was a steep climb a month ago. It is even steeper now at this late date. 

8 days to go.


Where things stood at FHQ on October 26 (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:




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Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Electoral College Map (10/25/20)

Update for October 25.


FHQ called last weekend the calm before the storm. And that certainly ended up being at least somewhat prophetic as an avalanche of new polling data was released throughout the last week. But this weekend has been less sedate on the polling release front. Yes, yesterday's update was buoyed by some late Friday polls, but Sunday saw eight new polls out of seven mainly battleground states. The only exception was a rare update in South Dakota. But other than that, the focus of today's releases was either in blue wall states the president flipped in 2016 or in the Sun Belt, where the polling indicates that Joe Biden is potentially making inroads. In four of the states, the margins moved in Biden's direction. But the president importantly had new surveys in Florida and North Carolina that nudged those states toward him. Both remained Biden toss ups however. The Georgia margin did not change and the Peach state is still tilted in the former vice president's direction by the slimmest of margins.

On to the polls... 


Polling Quick Hits:
Florida
(Biden 50, Trump 48)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +3.26]
The YouGov update in the Sunshine state may have bumped the margin there toward Trump, but that did not mean that the president was ahead in either the poll or in the FHQ graduated weighted averages of Florida polls. In this case, it just meant that the margin in the poll favored Biden but by less than his average margin at FHQ. This was the first YouGov survey in the series to include leaners, and while that bolstered both candidates' support, it did not alter the two point advantage Biden had in the last poll in September (or in the baseline with no leaners in this poll). Notably, Florida is another state where the Democratic nominee is closing in on a 50 percent average share of support. And that is borne out in the data. Half of the 28 October Florida surveys have found Biden at or above 50 percent (including this YouGov poll). 


Georgia
(Biden 49, Trump 49)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +0.14]
Across the northern Florida border in Georgia YouGov continued to show a competitive race. Trump's narrow 47-46 edge in the firm's September poll has given way to a tie in October. What is more, leaners were included in this survey as well, but their inclusion did not break the tie in the baseline numbers. But this survey overall is consistent with the 47-47 (rounded) race in the FHQ averages. Yet, Georgia is inching toward Biden. Nine of the 14 October polls have had the former vice president tied or ahead of Trump.


Michigan
(Biden 55, Trump 42)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.09]
In the Great Lakes state Gravis Marketing was back in the field for the first time since July. In those three months Trump remained stationary at 42 percent even as Biden was growing his share of support into the mid-50s. The Democratic nominee has yet to hit 50 percent in his average share of support in Michigan, but this poll is among 20 this month (of 28 total) that has had Biden at or above 50 percent. Biden may be gaining on the majority mark in the FHQ averages, but this 55 percent share is well out in front of the averages at the peak of his recent polling there. 


North Carolina
(Biden 51, Trump 47 via YouGov | Trump 49, Biden 46 via Trafalgar Group)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +1.81]
There were two new surveys in the Tar Heel state that told opposing stories. Often when FHQ discusses such a situation, it is a Trafalgar poll on one side providing that counterpoint. Like the other two YouGov surveys on the day, this update in North Carolina also included leaners. And that transition helped the president more compared to the baseline data without leaners. Those leaners, then, were not what fueled the difference between the 48-46 advantage Biden held in September and now. Instead, it was just movement in the former vice president's direction. The opposite was true in the Trafalgar series in North Carolina. The president gained a point since September, but through the Trafalgar lens, the race for the 15 electoral votes at stake in the Old North state continued to be pretty static. But to provide some context on the Trafalgar polls in North Carolina in general, there have been 25 polls conducted in whole or in part in October and 20 of those have found Biden ahead with three more that had the race tied. That leaves just two polls with Trump in the lead there. Unlike the blue wall states, Biden is not closing in on 50 percent in North Carolina, not at the same pace anyway. Still, 11 of 25 October polls have found Biden at or above 50 percent in North Carolina. 


South Dakota
(Trump 51, Biden 40)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +19.31]
This is the first time Mason-Dixon has been in the field in South Dakota in calendar 2020. In fact, this is the first pollster other than Survey Monkey to gauge presidential preference in the Mount Rushmore state all year. This also happens to be the tightest the race has appeared in any 2020 survey of South Dakota. "Tight" is a relative term in this context. An 11 point Trump lead is hardly evidence that South Dakota is going to slip across the partisan line and turn blue, but it is another data point that suggests a sizable swing from the 2016 election to polling in this cycle. Trump won the state by 30 points four years ago, so even if the average swing across the country is closing in on seven points (toward the Democrats) in that time, a 19 point shift is around triple the average swing. Again, Trump will not lose South Dakota but the potential shift there matters. [Please note that there is also a rather large combined chunk of support for other candidates and undecideds in this poll that affects that potential swing as well.]


Texas
(Biden 48, Trump 45)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +1.39]
On the whole, the UT-Tyler series of surveys in the Lone Star state has indicated a closer race than in 2016, but has mostly favored Trump throughout 2020. But this reversal of the 48-46 Trump advantage in the university pollster's September survey is just the second time a poll in the series has found Biden ahead in Texas. The other was during Biden's peak polling period in June and July. Again, Texas looks a lot like North Carolina but on the Trump side of the partisan line. That is true of the two states' FHQ averages. Both stand at 48-46 (rounded) with Biden ahead in North Carolina and Trump in Texas. The question is whether that will hold. October polling in Texas thus far has been tipped more in Biden's direction. Of the 11 surveys conducted in Texas this month, the Democratic nominee has been tied or had in eight of them. And average margin reflects that. It has tracked downward toward the partisan line, but also toward inclusion on the Watch List below. 


Wisconsin
(Biden 54, Trump 43)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +6.26]
The final Sunday poll release comes from Gravis Marketing out of Wisconsin. Like the firm's Michigan poll above, the one in the Badger state has Biden running more out ahead of his established FHQ average share of support than the president is his. But this is another one where the president barely budged from the low 40s since the last Gravis poll in Wisconsin in July as Biden saw his support push into the mid-50s.  And also like Michigan, October polling in Wisconsin has been Biden-favorable. 15 of the 21 surveys conducted in the state this month have found the former vice president at or above 50 percent. And with fewer than 10 days until the voting phase of this election concludes, that is not a bad spot to be in for Democrats after they lost the state in 2016 for the first time since 1984.



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)
SD-3
(41)
HI-4
(31)
ME-2
(185)
FL-29
(308 | 259)
MT-3
NE CD1-1
(103)
AL-9
(38)
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)
IA-6
(187)
UT-6
(80)
ND-3
(12)
ME CD1-1
CT-7
(138)
MN-10
(226)
OH-18
(181)
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.

As the race for the White House begins its last full week little changed at FHQ. The map looks just as it did a day ago and so, too, does the Watch List below. Texas may be approaching inclusion on the List, but it is not there yet. On the Electoral College Spectrum, none of the battlegrounds yielded their positions in the order. However, South Dakota did trade slots with Alabama, moving one spot closer in the order to the partisan line. 

9 days to go.


Where things stood at FHQ on October 25 (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.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Electoral College Map (10/24/20)

Update for October 24.


On the last day before the countdown to November 3 ticks down below ten days there were more leftover polls from Friday than new weekend poll releases. But those leftovers from Friday were conducted by a variety of pollsters on behalf of the center-right American Action Forum in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio and collectively were a good set of polls for the president. Across those five states, the margins moved in Trump's direction in all of them but Michigan. [The margin in Georgia would have shifted in Biden's direction too if not for the Landmark Communications poll that was also added today.] However, in the two states -- Montana and Pennsylvania -- where there were Saturday poll releases, the margins moved in the former vice president's direction.

On to the polls... 


Polling Quick Hits:
Arizona
(Biden 48, Trump 48)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +2.88]
In Arizona, the margin dipped below Biden +3 for the first time since Arizona and North Carolina were on a trajectory to converge earlier in the summer. That same sort of trend seems more likely to replicate itself now given the recent polling conducted in the Grand Canyon state. Basswood Research in an early October poll found the race knotted at 48 and was virtually unchanged from the firm's August poll that had Trump ahead 48-47. Both polls are a bit more Trump-favorable than other recent surveys, and that is almost all a function of the Trump side of the equation. Biden's position in both polls is consistent with the 48 percent average share of support the former vice president has established there. That consistency contrasts with a Trump share in these surveys that has him running about three points ahead of his average share.


Georgia
(Trump 49, Biden 45 via Landmark Communications | Biden 49, Trump 45 via Opinion Insight)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +0.14]
The two polls out of the Peach state tell different stories. The update in the Landmark Communications series of polls saw Trump's lead expand since the firm's early October poll, but this series has consistently shown the president ahead with one exception in late September. And both candidates have tended to be in the mid-40s with the president pushing close to the upper 40s in most. And given that Georgia is a 47-47 (rounded) tie at FHQ, this poll has Trump toward the top of his range in recent polls while Biden is at the bottom end of his. The Opinion Insight survey is an update to an early September poll that found the race tied at 46. The take away from both of these polls is that both are in line with a predictable range of variation from poll to poll, all operating around a race tied in the mid- to upper 40s. 


Iowa
(Biden 47, Trump 45)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.80]
Opinion Insight was also in the field in the Hawkeye state in both early September and again in early October. Between them, the two Iowa polls represent the largest shift on the day, moving from Trump +7 in September to Biden +2 within the last few weeks. And of the two, the more recent one is more in line with the overall FHQ average in the state. Trump leads 47-46 (rounded) at FHQ and although he trails in the most recent Opinion Insight survey, both candidates ended up well within their ranges of support in recent Iowa polling. Of the 11 polls conducted there in October, Biden has led or been tied in nine of them. Trump still holds the advantage in the Hawkeye state in FHQ's graduated weighted average, but this month the trajectory of change has been in the former vice president's direction.


Michigan
(Biden 51, Trump 42)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +7.01]
The final pair of Opinion Insight polls for American Action Forum was conducted in Michigan, and again, these were the most favorable of the bunch toward the Democratic nominee. But as in Georgia and Iowa, the movement is toward Biden from September to October. Biden's 50-44 advantage in September grew, but the earlier poll was more consistent with where FHQ currently has the race for the Great Lakes state's 16 electoral votes (Biden 50-43) but not not by much. Michigan continues to be a state where polling of late has most often found the race in the Biden +6-9 range.


Montana
(Trump 50, Biden 46)
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +8.15]
This is the first RMG Research survey of Montana in calendar 2020 and it matches the most narrow margin in Treasure state polling all year. But as is typical in those types of polls, the president lags about five points behind his 2016 showing in the state around 50 percent while Biden tends to rise into the mid-40s, above his average share of support (43 percent) at FHQ. 


Ohio
(Trump 48, Biden 47) 
[Current FHQ margin: Trump +0.80]
Over in the Buckeye state, OnMessage Inc. in another pair of polls conducted for American Action Forum also found movement toward Biden from its September poll to the early October survey. The 51-45 lead the president had then has shrunk to a one point advantage for Trump now and is more in line with the 47-46 edge Trump has in the FHQ averages. This is another series where the latest survey has drawn closer to the established average shares of support the candidates hold in Ohio.


Pennsylvania
(Biden 51, Trump 44)
[Current FHQ margin: Biden +5.42]
Finally, in Pennsylvania, Gravis Marketing condutcted a survey that ended up looking exactly like the Muhlenberg poll from yesterday. But that was representative of a shift in Biden's direction since the firm was last in the field in the Keystone state back in July. Then, the race was 48-45, Biden, but that advantage has stretched in the months since then but the president has mainly remained stationary in the mid-40s as the former vice president has pushed up into the low-50s. And that would likely kill the president's chances at reelection. Pennsylvania more than five points away from Trump is and has been a red flag for a while now at FHQ. 



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)
MT-3
NE CD1-1
(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)
IA-6
(187)
UT-6
(80)
ND-3
(12)
ME CD1-1
CT-7
(138)
MN-10
(226)
OH-18
(181)
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 brought a smaller number of polls but few changes as well. Importantly, Iowa and Ohio swapped spots on the Electoral College Spectrum with Iowa shifting closer to the partisan line. The same was true for Montana and Nebraska's first congressional district. Montana pushed past the district in uncompetitive Nebraska and closer to the partisan line. However, neither is in any danger of changing sides. But should a landslide happen FHQ is there to provide context. 

The map and Watch List remained the same as they were a day ago.

10 days to go.


Where things stood at FHQ on October 24 (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.

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.