It’s been a tough few weeks for President Trump.
His performance in the first presidential debate was broad; Trump and several members of his inner circle have signed COVID-19; and then the president said he would withdraw from the next debate after the Debate Commission said it wanted the candidates to appear from distant locations, citing safety concerns following Trump’s diagnosis.
This has cast doubt on the fate of the remaining debates as the campaigns and the Commission struggle to figure out how to go about it.
Given all of this, President Trump̵
Here are the steps we took in this month’s card:
Wisconsin: Toss Up -> Lean D.
Arizona: Toss Up -> Lean D.
2nd Congressional District of Nebraska: Toss Up -> Lean D.
Iowa: Lean R -> Toss Up
1st Congressional District of Nebraska: Probably R -> Lean R.
Missouri: Probably R -> Lean R.
Alaska: Probably R -> Lean R.
That puts Biden – at the moment – above the 270-vote threshold required to win the majority of the 538 available votes, and Trump has to climb uphill to win re-election. The election takes less than a month – and millions of votes have already been cast.
To put Biden’s leadership in context, it wouldn’t be enough to win even if Trump wins all of the remaining throwing conditions. The president should be making profits over the next three weeks in states that are now leaning towards Biden. Of course, Trump was able to do this against Hillary Clinton in 2016, especially in the upper Midwest.
We’ll be updating our map in a couple of weeks before the elections – and things could very well shift and tighten up by then, as they did in 2016.
According to national and statewide polls, Biden continues to lead the former Vice President outperforming white voters, suburban voters, independents and seniors. All the groups that Trump won in 2016.
Biden shows strength in the Midwest and also eats on Trump’s fringes in traditionally red states. Biden is unlikely to win places like Alaska, Missouri, Montana, and South Carolina, but if he’s more competitive there than Hillary Clinton in 2016, he’s on track to get Clinton’s vote and 3 million more than Trump surpass.
It should be noted, however, that Trump stays within striking distance, especially in the Sun Belt states.
Additionally, Democrats are concerned about mail-in voting, not because of fraud, but because of the high disqualification rate of mail-in ballots due to technical issues like not signing in the right place. Democratic voters are far more distant than Republicans saying they are voting more by mail than in person because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Below is a closer look at what we changed and what we haven’t changed and why.
What we changed
Throw up to Lean D.
Wisconsin: Surveys have shown that Biden is consistently leaning towards Biden this cycle. We had declined to move it to Lean D because Wisconsin’s high percentage of non-college whites was a heavily pro-Trump group. Biden’s lead remained constant, however, increasing by an average of 7 points and over 50%.
Arizona: This is a closer race than Wisconsin, with Biden gaining 4 points on average. It’s about to stay in the Toss Up category, but here are a few points why we moved it: (1) Trump hasn’t led here since early March, and (2) if you look at the polls, Biden is consistently better than Clinton in Maricopa County, where two-thirds of the state’s votes come, and even ahead of Clinton’s margins in Pima County, the traditionally democratic area in which Tucson is located. Additionally, Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly has a bigger lead in his race against incumbent GOP Senator Martha McSally, which could also improve Biden’s chances.
Nebraska-2: Despite its Republican leanings and the Democratic vote of the US House of Representatives near or behind the incumbent GOP, this district in the Omaha region continued to favor Biden.
Lean R to throw up
Iowa: This is a state that should favor Trump as it was the last time he won it and its significant non-college white population. However, polls have shown that Biden comes out on top in some recent polls.
Probably R to Lean R.
Nebraska-1: This borough borders the 2nd congressional district and includes the university town of Lincoln and some suburbs of Omaha. It should be a district easily going to Trump, but polls have shown the race there is within 5 points.
Missouri: This used to be a traditional battlefield state but has declined over the last two election cycles. In 2008, Republican John McCain beat Barack Obama there with just 3,700 of nearly 3 million votes. The key here is if Biden continues to outperform whites. As a result, the margins in red states and in red counties in swing states are narrowing.
Alaska: The tightening edges in such places are signs of a possible wave. We’ll see if this stays that way for the next several weeks, but right now, Biden is closer to the poll average in Alaska than Trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin or Nevada. Trump cut out his work for him.
What we haven’t moved, but watch closely
Texas: While the polls show a race within the margin of error, Trump came near or above 50% and was the leader in the polls. The Biden campaign is designed to keep things interesting and spend $ 6 million on ads in the state. Let’s see if they shift the numbers and where things are in a couple of weeks. But given Texas’s voting history and the GOP’s national political power, it’s still leaning towards Trump for now.
South Carolina, Kansas, Montana: All of these are traditionally red states, which Trump won in 2016 with clear double-digit profit margins. However, according to surveys, each of them is within 10 points in the race between Trump and Biden. All of this indicates a rising sea level for Biden. Will it stay that way?
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio: All of this remains toss-ups. The southeastern sun belt states were expected to be very competitive, but Ohio was viewed as consistently Republican. That says a lot about the landscape and Trump’s struggles in the Midwest.
Florida looked like it was leaning towards Biden at some point this summer, but without Florida there is almost no path to re-election for Trump. So his campaign doubled down there and the race tightened, although some polls this week showed that Biden is building a lead again.
To learn more about our methodology as well as different scenarios for possible pathways to 270 for each candidate, Click here.