2020 Election Series: The Anatomy of a Swing State – October 7th
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Bottom Line: We’re now under a month away from Election Day. Each cycle I analyze states that were decided by ten points or less in the previous presidential election cycle. These represent potential swing states that are in play for both parties heading into each cycle. It’s a fluid number which reflects changes in the electorate overtime. In 2016 there were 16 states decided by fewer than ten points. President Trump won 30 states in 2016 including nine of the sixteen swing states which proved key to his victory. Notably, President Trump doesn’t have to retain all those states to win reelection. His margin of victory, with 306 electoral votes, was 36 more than what’s needed to win.
Here’s the current averaged polling in the swing states compared to where President Trump was polling on the same date in 2016. This provides an apples-to-apples temperature check of how President Trump is trending compared to exactly four years ago. Polls can’t be taken at face value without adjusting for samples. As a result, I’m not interested in which candidate polls suggest are leading in a particular state but rather where Trump is tracking compared to four years ago.
Polling averages October 6th, 2016 compared to October 6th, 2020:
- Arizona: Trump -4
- Florida: Flat
- Georgia: Trump -5
- Iowa: Trump -5
- Michigan: Trump +1
- North Carolina: Trump +1
- Ohio: Trump -3
- Pennsylvania: Trump -1
- Wisconsin: Flat
Over the past week President Trump’s pacing:
- Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania & Wisconsin
- Florida, Iowa
The bottom line is that the past week has generally been a good one for President Trump in swing states. In fact, the improvement in his trend has actually flipped Wisconsin back into his corner this week as he’s pacing exactly where he was four years ago in route to winning the state. Out of the nine swing states won by President Trump four years ago he’s currently pacing well enough to carry seven of the nine – with Arizona and Pennsylvania narrowly in Biden’s column. Speaking of Biden...
Here's Biden’s current pacing compared Hillary Clinton four years ago today:
- Colorado – Biden +6
- Maine – Biden +12
- Minnesota – Biden +5
- Nevada – Biden +4
- New Hampshire – Biden +3
- New Mexico - Biden +4
- Virginia - Biden +4
- New Hampshire
- Maine, Virginia
- Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico
As was the case with the Trump states, there wasn’t a static trend across all states carried by Hillary Clinton four years ago either. Notably, the only change in outcome this week is favorable for Biden. The one state he improved in over the past week, New Hampshire, is the one state President Trump was pacing towards a potential pickup previously. As a result, Biden is currently pacing towards retaining all of the states Clinton carried four years ago along with pickups in Pennsylvania and Arizona. The net-net of all of this currently suggests... a 275 to 263 advantage for President Trump. For the second consecutive week Trump is pacing well enough to carry the Electoral College if the election were held today. To be continued...