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Model Forecast

The FiveThirtyEight Model shows Biden has a 71% chance of winning the election.

My seat-of-the-pants forecast was 70%, nearly the same. 

The FiveThirtyEight (538) model ran 40,000 simulation. 

I ran zero simulations. Instead I looked at polls in swing states and concluded Trump's path to victory was very narrow.

40,000 Simulations

Every Outcome in Our Simulations

Winding Path to Victory

The Winding Path to Victory

That is precisely how I see things at the moment. Trump has moved up in recent North Carolina polls. 

Biden's running mate pick of Kamala Harris may swing North Carolina, Ohioa, and Georgia into the Trump column. 

It could cost Biden the election, but by a 7-3 margin, likely not.

On July 1, 538 had Biden an 80% but his model was only released today.

Can You Trust the Polls?

Hillary Clinton led in the polls in 2016, right? Yes. But Clinton had only a small advantage in most surveys — Trump’s win was well within the range of normal polling error.

As elections analyst Geoffrey Skelley wrote last week, Biden’s lead over Trump has already topped Clinton’s post-convention peak. Biden also enjoys more overall support than Clinton. In other words, there’s a genuine difference between Biden’s position now and Clinton’s four years ago.

10 Key States Biden vs Trump 538 Odds

  1. Arizona: Biden 55 Trump 45
  2. Florida: Biden 64 Trump 35
  3. Georgia: Biden 34 Trump 66
  4. Iowa: Biden 32 Trump 68
  5. Michigan: Biden 81 Trump 19
  6. Minnesota: Biden 72 Trump 28
  7. North Carolina: Biden 49 Trump 51
  8. Ohio: Biden 45 Trump 55
  9. Pennsylvania: Biden 73 Trump 27
  10. Wisconsin: Biden 70 Trump 30

Trump's Problem

  • Trump desperately needs to hold Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio. North Carolina is nearly a 50-50 shot. 
  • Trump also needs to win Arizona, Florida, and either Wisconsin or Minnesota (or some other similar upset). 

That is not impossible but it is unlikely. 

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Minnesota Shift

Minnesota Shift

Arizona Shift

Arizona Shift

Florida Shift

Florida Shift

I believe Harris subtracts from Biden's chances especially in states like Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Georgia, and Arizona, perhaps even Florida.

Not a 2016 Replay

For many months, I have commented this is not a replay of 2016. Trump was never well liked, but many people in both parties despised Hillary.

Trump won in 2016 for five reasons.

  1. People hated Hillary more than Trump
  2. Trump was an unknown risk that swing voters were willing to take a chance on
  3. Hillary ran a very poor campaign
  4. A fantastic campaign slogan: Make America Great Again
  5. At the last minute, Comey rescued trump with an attack on Hillary and her email server.

Points 1-4 got Trump into the ballpark. It still took Point 5 to cross the finish line.

Despite all of those things Trump barely won as measured by tiny margins of victory in several critical swing states.

Understanding Political Polls 

If you believe the GOP is seriously underweighted in the polls, you are mistaken.

For details, please see Understanding Political Polls: Is the GOP Underweighted?

What About Enthusiasm?

Another misconception is that Trump supporters are more enthusiastic than Biden supporters. 

If you take negative enthusiasm into account Trump is on the Short End of the Enthusiasm Gap.

Polls will likely narrow, just not by enough.