It has been a tough two weeks for President Trump.
His performance in the first presidential debate was largely cut short; Trump and several members of his inner circle contracted COVID-19; and then the president said he would withdraw from the next debate, after the debate commission said it wanted candidates to appear from remote locations, citing security concerns in the wake of Trump’s diagnosis.
This has left the fate of the remaining debates in doubt, as the campaigns and the commission rush to figure out how to proceed.
All things considered, President Trump̵
Here are the moves we made in this month’s map:
Wisconsin: Launch on -> Lean D.
Arizona: Launch on -> Lean D.
2nd Congress District of Nebraska: Launch on -> Lean D.
Iowa: Lean R -> Toss Up
Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District: Probably R -> Magra R
Missouri: Probably R -> Lean R
Alaska: Probably R -> Magra R
This puts Biden – right now – above the 270-vote threshold needed to get a majority of the 538 available, leaving Trump with an uphill climb to win re-election. There are less than a month to go until the elections and millions of votes have already been cast.
To contextualize Biden’s advantage, even if Trump wins all of the remaining launch states, it won’t be enough for him to win. The president would need to make money over the next three weeks in the states that are now approaching Biden. Of course Trump was able to do it against Hillary Clinton in 2016, particularly in the Upper Midwest.
We will update our map a couple of weeks before the election and things may change and tighten between now and then, as they did in 2016.
Fueling Biden’s lead, according to national and state polls, continues to be the former vice president’s outperformance with white voters, suburban voters, independents and senior citizens – all groups Trump won in 2016.
Biden is showing strength in the Midwest and is also devouring Trump’s margins in traditionally red states. Biden is unlikely to win places like Alaska, Missouri, Montana and South Carolina, but being more competitive there than Hillary Clinton in 2016 is putting him on track to surpass Clinton’s total vote and popular vote margin of 3 million. more than Trump.
It should be noted, however, that Trump remains at a considerable distance, especially in the Sun Belt states.
Furthermore, Democrats are concerned about mail-order voting, not fraud, but the high rate of disqualification of mail order cards due to technicalities such as not signing in the correct place. Democratic voters say by far greater margins than Republicans that they are more likely to vote by mail, rather than in person, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Below is a deeper look at what we changed and what we didn’t do and why.
What have we changed
Toss Up to Lean D.
Wisconsin: The polls showed a steady trend towards Biden in this cycle. We were reluctant to move it to Lean D, given the high percentage of whites without a college degree in Wisconsin, a strongly pro-Trump group. But Biden’s lead remained constant, up 7 points on average and over 50%.
Arizona: This is Wisconsin’s closest match with Biden averaging 4 points. It’s just on the verge of staying in the Toss Up category, but here are a couple of points as to why we moved it: (1) Trump hasn’t driven here since the beginning of March and (2) when you look in the polls, Biden is consistently doing better than Clinton did in Maricopa County, where two-thirds of the state’s votes come from, and is even ahead of the Clinton fringes in Pima County, the traditionally Democratic area where Tucson is located. Additionally, Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly has a wider lead in his run against incumbent GOP Senator Martha McSally, which could help Biden’s chances as well.
Nebraska-2: Despite its Republican bent and Democrat in the US House voting run of the district near or behind the GOP incumbent, this Omaha-area district has continued to favor Biden.
Tilt R to launch yourself high
Iowa: This is a state that should favor Trump given that he won him last time and its significant white, non-university population. But polls have shown it head-to-head, with Biden leading in some recent polls.
Probable R for Lean R
Nebraska-1: This district borders the 2nd Convention District, which includes the university city of Lincoln and some suburbs of Omaha. It should be a district that goes easily to Trump, but polls have shown the race to be within 5 points there.
Missouri: This used to be a traditional battlefield state, but it has fallen in the last two election cycles. In 2008, Republican John McCain beat Barack Obama by just 3,700 votes out of nearly 3 million. The key here is whether Biden continues to outperform with whites. This will make the margins tighter in red states and red counties in swing states.
Alaska: The narrowing of margins in these types of places is a sign of a potential wave. We’ll see if that’s the case in the coming weeks, but right now Biden is closer to polling average in Alaska than Trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin or Nevada. Trump has his work cut out for him.
What we have not moved, but we are looking closely
Texas: While polls show a run within the margin of error, Trump has been near or above 50% and leading the poll average. The Biden campaign is trying to make things interesting by spending $ 6 million on ads in the state. So let’s see if the numbers shift and where things stand in a couple of weeks. But given the history of the Texas vote and the GOP’s political power across the state, this still leans on Trump for now.
South Carolina, Kansas, Montana: All of these are traditionally red states that Trump won by significant double-digit margins in 2016. But each of them is within 10 points of the race between Trump and Biden, according to polls. All of this points to a rise in sea level for Biden. Does it remain so?
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio: These all remain Toss Ups. The Southeast Sun Belt states were expected to be very competitive, but Ohio was thought to be consistently Republican. This tells you a lot about Trump’s landscape and struggles in the Midwest.
Florida, at one point this summer, looked like it was leaning towards Biden, but there is hardly any path to re-election for Trump without Florida. So his campaign doubled and the competition tightened, although a couple of polls this week showed that Biden has once again opened a lead.
To learn more about our methodology, as well as different scenarios for potential 270 pathways for each candidate, click here.