Although polls in 2016 weren’t far off the mark – Clinton was expected to win the popular vote by around 3.2 percentage points and she won by 2.9 – those reading the polls today are more savvy as to what they mean. In 2020, it is most important to look at the polls in individual states rather than national polling averages, and a new NPR electoral map allows for just that.
To put the map into perspective, if all the states where Trump has a solid lead go to him in 2020, he’ll have 111 electoral college votes and will need another 159 electoral college votes from swing states. Apply the same to Biden and he has 212 electoral college votes, so he will need 58 electoral college votes from swing states to reach 270.
There are 78 votes up for grabs in states that lean toward Biden and 52 in states that lean toward Trump. 65 votes are in toss-up states. Trump will have to win all of the states where he has a solid lead, all of the states leaning Republican, and an additional 46 electoral college votes in toss-up states. Biden, on the other hand, only needs 58 votes from the states leaning his way today.
In swing states, the chances of either candidate winning have changed rather dramatically over the past three weeks in which a Supreme Court justice and American icon passed away and Trump announced that he and a significant number of White House staff had contracted COVID-19 after holding large, indoor rallies. Wisconsin, Nebraska’s 2nd district, and Arizona have all been considered a toss-up, likely to go either way, but now lean Democrat. Iowa leaned toward Republicans, but has now become a toss-up state. Nebraska’s 1st district, Missouri, and Alaska were all likely to go Trump’s way, now they are less likely to according to polls.
New polls show Trump's support is collapsing nationally. He's trailing not just in battlegrounds but, according to private GOP surveys, he's repelling independents to the point where Biden has drawn closer red states like Montana, Kansas and Missouri. https://t.co/3De2jGYINq
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 10, 2020
Surprisingly, even some of the “lean GOP” states these days are states where Republicans have had a stronghold for years. Texas, who hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1976 following Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, is within the margin of error between Trump and Biden. The same is true of Kansas and Arizona, neither of whom have went blue in any recent election.
Joe Biden's current lead in the RCP average of polls is the biggest general-election lead of any race this century. https://t.co/0w9bHs3Zwb
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 7, 2020