With One Week to Go, Here's What the Polls Say

Trump isn't closing the gap as much as he did late in 2016 race
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2020 1:50 PM CDT
With One Week to Go, Here's What the Polls Say
President Trump pumps his fist as he departs after speaking at a campaign rally at Altoona-Blair County Airport, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Martinsburg, Pa.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

With Election Day just a week away, the latest polls convey a familiar message: Joe Biden leads President Trump and remains the favorite to win. That, of course, comes with the by-now standard caveats that Hillary Clinton led Trump in all the polls, too, in 2016. Details:

  • Numbers: The Real Clear Politics average of polls has Biden up nationally by 7.4 points, which Newsweek notes is down from 10.3 points on Oct. 11. The average at FiveThirtyEight.com has Biden up 9.1 points, down from 10.7 on Oct. 19. The latter has a separate forecast giving Biden an 87% chance of victory in a sample of simulations. That still leaves Trump with a "meaningful" chance of victory.

  • A difference: In 2016, Trump steadily shrank Clinton's lead in the polls late in the race, but he's not doing that as well in 2020, writes Jonathan Easley at the Hill. A key point: "All of the factors that pollsters measure to analyze volatility among likely voters—the number of undecideds, those considering third-party candidates and leaners who could still change their minds—are down at this point in 2020 compared to in 2016, keeping the race at a steady level that favors Biden in the home stretch."
  • Big state: Of course, the election will likely come down to a handful of swing states, and none may be bigger than Pennsylvania, writes Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. Trump has virtually no chance (2%) of winning should he lose here, while Biden has a bigger cushion (30%). Biden is currently up by just 5.1 points in the state, and Silver notes that the polls here were off by 4.4 points in 2016. Biden's leads in two other crucial states, Michigan (8 points) and Wisconsin (7 points), are larger. "Yes, Biden and Democrats should be nervous that he has only about a 5-point lead in Pennsylvania," but he could still win should his birth state go to Trump.
  • Another forecast: The "Sabato's Crystal Ball" forecast from the University of Virginia's Center for Politics used two different models for its forecast, "one based on an aggregate level model of the national electoral vote and one based on individual state polling data." But the results are pretty similar: The aggregate model has Biden winning 345-193 in the electoral vote, and the other has him winning 350-188.
  • Gamblers: The PredictIt site has better odds for Trump. The "price" of Biden is at 64 cents, while Trump is at 40 cents. The site sets prices on candidates as if they were commodities, explains the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The site's electoral count is 290-248 in favor of Biden.
(More Election 2020 stories.)

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