Electoral College 2020: Is Biden still on course for victory?

THE board is set for the 2020 US Presidential Election – Joe Biden’s running mate is confirmed, and the conventions will soon be over.

With this in mind, we’re taking the opportunity to update our predictions for key swing states.

Last time, we forecast that Joe Biden was on course for a comfortable victory over Donald Trump.

We still believe that a Biden win is the most likely outcome, but our predictions for certain states have changed nonetheless.

Predictions marked with an asterisk (*) are those that have changed since our previous forecast. You can read it here.

Disclaimer: These are predictions, not endorsements.


Arizona

Arizona has usually defaulted to the red column over the past several elections – however, Biden has managed to hold a consistent polling lead in the Grand Canyon State throughout the election cycle so far. 1996 was the last time the Democrats won this state – and we’re still predicting that Biden will bring it to the blue column for the first time in 24 years.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Colorado

There seems to be very little contention in Colorado. Biden holds a strong lead in the polls. It’s a swing state turning a deeper shade of blue with each passing day. At this point, it would be an upset if Colorado were even close.

2016 Winner: Clinton

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Florida

As noted in our previous round of predictions, Florida is a vital battleground state due to its high yield of electoral college points. With Trump now listing it as his home state, it would be a major humiliation for him to lose it – regardless of the overall outcome of the election.

However, recent polling suggests Trump may be on course for such humiliation. While his lead is not overwhelming, most polls but Biden slightly ahead of Trump. As per usual, this race will likely be close – and it’s more than possible our prediction will flip again before the big day.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden*


Georgia

And here’s where we’re going to make a bold forecast. Usually a solid red state, the polling from Georgia is still heralding a tight race. If Biden maintains his strong showing nationwide, it’s possible we could see an upset akin to Obama taking Indiana in 2008. We’re calling it.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden*


Indiana

Indiana is only included on this list because of Obama’s aforementioned shock victory in the state in 2008. It’s usually a safe red state, and there’s little reason to believe it won’t go to Trump this time round too.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Trump


Iowa

A state that voted for Obama twice but went for Trump in 2016, Iowa is still looking like it could be a close call. Trump is holding a slight lead in most polls over Biden, albeit not a runaway lead. For now, we’ll say that Trump is narrowly on course to hold Iowa, but if his nationwide approval ratings stay low this could change very soon.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Trump


Maine’s 2nd Congressional District

Maine is one of the two states that can see a split in electoral college points, as candidates have a chance to win separate congressional districts. Trump managed this is 2016, taking Maine’s 2nd despite the state voting for Clinton overall. There is a chance he could pull this off again, as polls for this district are close, but at the moment we’re not betting on it. As we noted in our previous round of predictions, before 2016, the last time Maine had split was 1828.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Michigan

It was the shock of election night 2016 when the Blue Wall states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin abandoned the Democrats and sided with Trump. Whether that night made these states competitive in the long run remains to be seen. But we think Biden – who had a strong showing in the rust belt states during the Democratic primaries – is in a far better position than Clinton to win these states. Add how close the contest was in 2016 and we think Biden should win back the three above mentioned states with some ease.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Minnesota

On 2016’s election map, Minnesota was a blue island surrounded by a sea of red, sticking with the Democrats when so many adjacent states flipped to Trump. Given that Biden seems to be on course to win back many of those states – and considering his solid (albeit not spectacular) lead in the polls – we think it will remain blue once again.

2016 Winner: Clinton

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District

Nebraska is the other state where the electoral college vote can split. Obama achieved it in 2008, and, as we noted last time, this district’s elections for the House are often quite close – despite being safe red on a statewide level. This could go either way, but if Biden hold his strong national lead, we’ll predict this district will follow suit.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden*


Nevada

Nevada is typically a close race in presidential elections, and we doubt this year will be any exception. The polling mostly puts Biden in a slim lead. It’s a state that frequently goes with the overall winner (2016 being one of the exceptions) – so if Biden is on course for overall victory, it’s likely he’ll win Nevada.

2016 Winner: Clinton

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


New Hampshire

Last time round, we said that if there’s any state that voted for Clinton in 2016 that might flip red in November, it would be New Hampshire. We stand by that statement. But, given Biden’s steady lead in the polls, we also still maintain that the Democrats are more likely to hold it than not.

2016 Winner: Clinton

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


New Mexico

Much like Colorado, it would be a surprise at this point if New Mexico race were at all contentious – let alone the prospect that Trump might win it. It’s historic status as a swing state keeps it on this list, but the polling suggests that Biden is on course for a comfortable victory here.

2016 Winner: Clinton

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


North Carolina

North Carolina stands a strong chance of being the number one closest contest of the 2020 election. It’s a state that usually tends red, yet it voted for Obama in 2008. The polls are fiendishly close. We’ll apply the same logic we have to several other contests – if Biden is on course to win the popular vote with a fair margin, it’ll push him over the edge in some of the election’s closest states.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Ohio

Similar to Florida, Ohio is frequently deemed a critical contest due to its frequently close races and sizeable offering of electoral college points. The polls are characteristically close this time round too. Trump actually won the state with by a fairly comfortable margin in 2016 – so last time we predicted that he would hold it this time round too. We’re going to stick with the same forecast for now, but watch this space if Biden holds his overall lead.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Trump


Pennsylvania

Much like Michigan, Pennsylvania is one of the rust belt states won by Trump in 2016 that Biden will likely win back in 2020. Biden is leading in the state’s polls, and he has the added advantage that he was born in Pennsylvania (even though he represented Delaware in the Senate).

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Texas

Texas is second only to California in the number of electoral college points it offers – and it is typically one of the most committed red states on the map. Nevertheless, the polls are close. We said before that Texas turning blue is probably at some point in the coming few years. At the moment though, we still think Trump is more likely to keep it.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Trump


Virginia

Virginia’s transition from safe red to safe blue state is looking fairly complete at this point. Biden’s polling lead is strong, and there’s little to suggest that Trump is in with a serious chance of pulling Virginia back towards the Republicans.

2016 Winner: Clinton

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Wisconsin

Wisconsin is final one of the three key rust belt states – along with Michigan and Pennsylvania – that we think Biden will win back from Trump. Again, it’s possible that these states could be more competitive going forward, but for this election we reckon Biden will return them to the blue column.

2016 Winner: Trump

Predicted 2020 Winner: Biden


Our updated predictions suggest Biden is still on course for a solid victory. In fact, we think he’s on course for an even larger victory than originally anticipated. His share of the electoral college has gone from 305 to 351, while Trump’s has dropped from 233 to 187.

However, a lot could change between now and the election, and this is far from our final prediction. Our ultimate forecast and endorsement will be coming closer to election day.

Polling Data: 270 to WinFiveThirtyEightRealClear Politics


Featured Image: Pixabay

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