In the aftermath of the chaotic first presidential debate earlier this week between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee is maintaining a strong standing in a prominent electoral college forecast. As of Thursday afternoon, FiveThirtyEight gives Biden an 80 percent chance of winning the presidency. Although he’s had a high standing for awhile, it’s the apparent first time that Biden has hit the 80 percent mark in FiveThirtyEight’s forecast.
Broken down into specific electoral vote totals, as of Thursday afternoon, FiveThirtyEight estimates a final total of 335 electoral votes for Biden and just 203 for Trump. (In 2016, for comparison, Trump got 304 electoral votes and Clinton got 227.) The forecast also includes an estimate for final national popular vote totals, and in the numbers, FiveThirtyEight currently estimates a final total of 52.9 percent of the national popular vote for Biden and just 45.8 percent for Trump. Although Clinton also won in the national popular vote in 2016, her lead was significantly smaller than the Biden estimate, which provided Trump with the opportunity to rack up enough individual states to secure a win in the electoral college.
As of Thursday afternoon, FiveThirtyEight’s average of national level polling data has Biden with an impressive 7.9 percent lead. Although the sites seem to sometimes calculate their averages differently, for a rough comparison, Hillary Clinton led Trump by merely 2.7 percent in the RealClearPolitics average of national level polling on October 1, 2016. Thus, Biden seems to be in a significantly stronger poll position than Clinton was. Americans have gotten a chance to see the chaos of the Trump administration for four long years; Trump, through his belligerence and consistent refusal to take crises like the Coronavirus pandemic with the systematic seriousness that they demand, has put American lives on the line.
There’s one noteworthy piece of data that suggests that Democrats may already be on their way to getting Trump out of office. Among ballots that have already been cast for which party affiliation data is available (which has been compiled by University of Florida Professor Michael McDonald), Democrats have a huge lead. States including Florida, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania report affiliation data for their ballots, and among 686,705 across all of those states as of Thursday afternoon, 54.7 percent have been cast by Democrats. Even unaffiliated voters have cast more ballots from that total — 23.2 percent of the Thursday afternoon total came from them. Just 21.4 percent came from the GOP.