Friday, July 31, 2020

The Electoral College Map (7/31/20)

Update for July 31.


After a work week that saw polling releases reach a brisk pace, Friday added just one new survey to the mix here at FHQ. And although all of those polls triggered a number of changes to the projections here, the week ends as it began: with Biden projected to hit 270 electoral votes on just his Strong and Lean states. Beyond that, the former vice president can currently count four toss up states as insulation between him and President Trump as July comes to a close.


Polling Quick Hits:
Minnesota (Biden 52, Trump 42):
One of the changes earlier in the week was Minnesota shifting from a Strong to a Lean Biden state based on a tighter than average survey from Trafalgar Group that had Trump at his peak in the Land of 10,000 Lakes polling in 2020. And if that survey was more toward the president than has been typical then Public Policy Polling's first foray into Minnesota during calendar 2020 is more toward the other end of the spectrum. It finds Biden near his highwater mark support in the polling of the state and running a couple of points ahead of his FHQ average share of support. Trump, on the other hand, came in right on his average share of support. Regardless, Minnesota is state that narrowly went for Clinton in 2016, but finds Biden north of 50 percent in his average given the polling to this point in the race.


NOTE: A description of the methodology behind the graduated weighted average of 2020 state-level polling that FHQ uses for these projections can be found here.


The Electoral College Spectrum1
HI-42
(7)
NJ-14
(173)
WI-10
NE CD2-1
(253)
AK-3
(125)
TN-11
(56)
MA-11
(18)
OR-7
(180)
PA-203
(273 | 285)
MO-10
(122)
NE-2
(45)
CA-55
(73)
DE-3
(183)
FL-29
(302 | 265)
SC-9
(112)
AL-9
(43)
VT-3
(76)
CO-9
(192)
NV-6
(308 | 236)
MT-3
(103)
ID-4
(34)
NY-29
(105)
NM-5
(197)
AZ-11
(319 | 230)
UT-6
(100)
ND-3
(30)
WA-12
(117)
ME-2
(199)
NC-15
(334 | 219)
LA-8
NE CD1-1
(94)
KY-8
(27)
MD-10
(127)
VA-13
(212)
OH-18
(204)
MS-6
(85)
SD-3
(19)
IL-20
(147)
MN-10
(222)
GA-16
(186)
IN-11
(79)
OK-7
(16)
RI-4
ME CD1-1
(152)
MI-16
(238)
TX-38
(170)
AR-6
(68)
WV-5
(9)
CT-7
(159)
NH-4
(242)
IA-6
ME CD2-1
(132)
KS-6
(62)
WY-3
NE CD3-1
(4)
1 Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.

2 The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he or she won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, Trump won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (Biden's toss up states plus the Pennsylvania), he would have 285 electoral votes. Trump's numbers are only totaled through the states he would need in order to get to 270. In those cases, Biden's number is on the left and Trumps's is on the right in bold italics.


To keep the figure to 50 cells, Washington, DC and its three electoral votes are included in the beginning total on the Democratic side of the spectrum. The District has historically been the most Democratic state in the Electoral College.

3 Pennsylvania
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state.

This latest Minnesota survey did little to dislodge the state from its position as the Lean Biden state closest to the Strong/Lean line on the Biden side of the Electoral College Spectrum above. But it also is did not nudge it much closer to being added to the Watch List below. Minnesota remains worth tracking because of how close it was four years ago on election day, but there are other more competitive states and number of other underpolled states that deserve some updated data more than Minnesota.

Speaking of underpolled, another week has passed without anything new out Nevada.

--
There were also no new polls from Nevada today.

Days since the last Nevada poll was in the field: 92.

--
NOTE: Distinctions are made between states based on how much they favor one candidate or another. States with a margin greater than 10 percent between Biden and Trump are "Strong" states. Those with a margin of 5 to 10 percent "Lean" toward one of the two (presumptive) nominees. Finally, states with a spread in the graduated weighted averages of both the candidates' shares of polling support less than 5 percent are "Toss Up" states. The darker a state is shaded in any of the figures here, the more strongly it is aligned with one of the candidates. Not all states along or near the boundaries between categories are close to pushing over into a neighboring group. Those most likely to switch -- those within a percentage point of the various lines of demarcation -- are included on the Watch List below.

The Watch List1
State
Potential Switch
Florida
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
Georgia
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Indiana
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Louisiana
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Mississippi
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Missouri
from Toss Up Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD1
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD2
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
Ohio
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Pennsylvania
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
Utah
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
Virginia
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
Wisconsin
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
1 Graduated weighted average margin within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

--
Methodological Note: In past years, FHQ has tried some different ways of dealing with states with no polls or just one poll in the early rounds of these projections. It does help that the least polled states are often the least competitive. The only shortcoming is that those states may be a little off in the order in the Spectrum. In earlier cycles, a simple average of the state's three previous cycles has been used. But in 2016, FHQ strayed from that and constructed an average swing from 2012 to 2016 that was applied to states. That method, however, did little to prevent anomalies like the Kansas poll that had Clinton ahead from biasing the averages. In 2016, the early average swing in the aggregate was  too small to make much difference anyway. For 2020, FHQ has utilized an average swing among states that were around a little polled state in the rank ordering on election day in 2016. If there is just one poll in Delaware in 2020, for example, then maybe it is reasonable to account for what the comparatively greater amount of polling tells us about the changes in Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico. Or perhaps the polling in Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina so far tells us a bit about what may be happening in Alaska where no public polling has been released. That will hopefully work a bit better than the overall average that may end up a bit more muted.


--
Related posts:
Draft Resolution Would Largely Extend 2020 Democratic Nomination Rules to 2024

The Electoral College Map (7/29/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/28/20)



Follow FHQ on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Electoral College Map (7/30/20)

Update for July 30.


Changes (July 30)
StateBeforeAfter
New HampshireToss Up BidenLean Biden
PennsylvaniaToss Up BidenLean Biden
Another day, another slew of polls to consider. Thursday offered another 11 polls from eight states with a couple of backdated New Hampshire(!) polls thrown in for good measure. None of it change the overall tally, but it did push a couple of Biden toss up states into the Lean Biden category. Pennsylvania is no stranger to that change, having flip-flopped back and forth across the Lean/Toss up line frequently in recent days. But New Hampshire has been (unconvincingly) mired in the Biden toss up group of states since the beginning, begging for any update that might bring it in line with states that finished around it in November 2016. Now the update is in, and New Hampshire is a toss up no longer.

Elsewhere...


Polling Quick Hits:
Florida (Biden 50, Trump 46):
Mason-Dixon went into the field in the Sunshine state for the first time this year and found Joe Biden  at the 50 percent mark and up by four. Neither datapoint strays too far from where the majority of Florida polling has been over the last half of July. But Biden was ahead of his FHQ average of support by about a point and a half while Trump overperformed his average by about 2.5 points.


New Hampshire (Biden 53, Trump 40):
While New Hampshire has been a Biden toss up since FHQ began these updates in mid-June, it was lack of polling that kept the Granite state there rather than any new polling. Adding in the May, June and July numbers from the University of New Hampshire colored the state a darker shade of blue. Trump held the same two point advantage in May that he had in February in the UNH poll, but saw that lead vanish under a seeming avalanche of support for Biden over the last two months. [Biden was basically +10 over that time while Trump lost around six points.] The former vice president held commanding 13 point leads in both, and on the weight of those polls, Biden's advantage in the Granite state ballooned enough to push it into Lean Biden territory.


North Carolina (Trump 48, Biden 47):
A week and a half after it was last in the field in the Tar Heel state, Cardinal Point Analytics was back with another survey of the state. The picture looked about the same: Trump narrowly ahead on rosiest end of the spectrum of recent North Carolina polls. That did little to move the state from the consistent lead Biden has had in the FHQ averages (between Biden +1 and 2 points)


Pennsylvania (Biden 50, Trump 41):
The latest Franklin and Marshall survey of Pennsylvania is its first in the state and it looked very similar to the Morning Consult poll of the Keystone state from earlier this week. If the Cardinal Point poll was on the Trump side of the range in North Carolina polling, then the two aforementioned Pennsylvania polls fall on the Biden-favorable end of the range there. And while that is true and Pennsylvania again jumped into the Lean Biden category, it continues to hover around that Lean/Toss Up line about five points out of Trump's reach at the moment.


Redfield & Wilton Strategies (July wave):
The July wave of the Redfield and Wilton Strategies battleground surveys offered a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, Biden maintains leads in all six states, but the former vice president got mixed results compared to the June wave from the firm. On average, he gained 1/6th of a point, but that was distributed in a non-uniform way across the states. Still, the order of the states -- minus Arizona -- is consistent with the established rank ordering of states in the Electoral College Spectrum below. None were outside of the established ranges of polling results either.

North Carolina: Biden +1 (-5) (+4 since June wave)
Florida: Biden +7 (+3)
Pennsylvania: Biden +7 (-3)
Arizona: Biden +8
Wisconsin: Biden +10 (+1)
Michigan: Biden +12 (+1)


NOTE: A description of the methodology behind the graduated weighted average of 2020 state-level polling that FHQ uses for these projections can be found here.


The Electoral College Spectrum1
HI-42
(7)
NJ-14
(173)
WI-10
NE CD2-1
(253)
AK-3
(125)
TN-11
(56)
MA-11
(18)
OR-7
(180)
PA-203
(273 | 285)
MO-10
(122)
NE-2
(45)
CA-55
(73)
DE-3
(183)
FL-29
(302 | 265)
SC-9
(112)
AL-9
(43)
VT-3
(76)
CO-9
(192)
NV-6
(308 | 236)
MT-3
(103)
ID-4
(34)
NY-29
(105)
NM-5
(197)
AZ-11
(319 | 230)
UT-6
(100)
ND-3
(30)
WA-12
(117)
ME-2
(199)
NC-15
(334 | 219)
LA-8
NE CD1-1
(94)
KY-8
(27)
MD-10
(127)
VA-13
(212)
OH-18
(204)
MS-6
(85)
SD-3
(19)
IL-20
(147)
MN-10
(222)
GA-16
(186)
IN-11
(79)
OK-7
(16)
RI-4
ME CD1-1
(152)
MI-16
(238)
TX-38
(170)
AR-6
(68)
WV-5
(9)
CT-7
(159)
NH-4
(242)
IA-6
ME CD2-1
(132)
KS-6
(62)
WY-3
NE CD3-1
(4)
1 Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.

2 The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he or she won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, Trump won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (Biden's toss up states plus the Pennsylvania), he would have 285 electoral votes. Trump's numbers are only totaled through the states he would need in order to get to 270. In those cases, Biden's number is on the left and Trumps's is on the right in bold italics.


To keep the figure to 50 cells, Washington, DC and its three electoral votes are included in the beginning total on the Democratic side of the spectrum. The District has historically been the most Democratic state in the Electoral College.

3 Pennsylvania
 is the state where Biden crosses the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state.

With the shifts in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, there were a few other changes of note. First, Pennsylvania takes over as the sole tipping point state. Trump would have to claw back all four Biden toss ups and Pennsylvania to get to 270. And both Pennsylvania and the next state in the order, Florida, remain tipped about five points toward Biden. That is presents some significant ground to make up. Second, with New Hampshire's move onto Lean Biden turf, Biden again now has 270 electoral votes projected to him from his Strong and Lean states alone. His toss ups at this point are superfluous to the hunt for 270.

But that obscures the fact that Nevada remains a Biden toss up. And like New Hampshire, the Silver state has lack a recent polling update. It also would probably be tilted a bit more toward Biden and at least in the Lean category if it followed the swings in other states that finished around it in 2016.

The Watch List below stayed about the same as a day ago. New Hampshire came off the List and is nestled well within the Lean Biden category at nearly Biden +7.

--
There were also no new polls from Nevada today.

Days since the last Nevada poll was in the field: 91.

--
NOTE: Distinctions are made between states based on how much they favor one candidate or another. States with a margin greater than 10 percent between Biden and Trump are "Strong" states. Those with a margin of 5 to 10 percent "Lean" toward one of the two (presumptive) nominees. Finally, states with a spread in the graduated weighted averages of both the candidates' shares of polling support less than 5 percent are "Toss Up" states. The darker a state is shaded in any of the figures here, the more strongly it is aligned with one of the candidates. Not all states along or near the boundaries between categories are close to pushing over into a neighboring group. Those most likely to switch -- those within a percentage point of the various lines of demarcation -- are included on the Watch List below.

The Watch List1
State
Potential Switch
Florida
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
Georgia
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Indiana
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Louisiana
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Mississippi
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Missouri
from Toss Up Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD1
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD2
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
Ohio
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Pennsylvania
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
Utah
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
Virginia
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
Wisconsin
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
1 Graduated weighted average margin within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

--
Methodological Note: In past years, FHQ has tried some different ways of dealing with states with no polls or just one poll in the early rounds of these projections. It does help that the least polled states are often the least competitive. The only shortcoming is that those states may be a little off in the order in the Spectrum. In earlier cycles, a simple average of the state's three previous cycles has been used. But in 2016, FHQ strayed from that and constructed an average swing from 2012 to 2016 that was applied to states. That method, however, did little to prevent anomalies like the Kansas poll that had Clinton ahead from biasing the averages. In 2016, the early average swing in the aggregate was  too small to make much difference anyway. For 2020, FHQ has utilized an average swing among states that were around a little polled state in the rank ordering on election day in 2016. If there is just one poll in Delaware in 2020, for example, then maybe it is reasonable to account for what the comparatively greater amount of polling tells us about the changes in Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico. Or perhaps the polling in Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina so far tells us a bit about what may be happening in Alaska where no public polling has been released. That will hopefully work a bit better than the overall average that may end up a bit more muted.


--
Recent posts:
Draft Resolution Would Largely Extend 2020 Democratic Nomination Rules to 2024

The Electoral College Map (7/29/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/28/20)


Follow FHQ on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Draft Resolution Would Largely Extend 2020 Democratic Nomination Rules to 2024

The Democratic National Convention is not set to gavel in for another 18 days, but the work of the convention itself is already well underway. The convention Platform Committee met earlier this week, and the convention Rules Committee will hold its first session today at 2pm.

But the work of the 2024 Democratic delegate selection rules will not begin there. In fact, a resolution has already been drafted to be shared with and considered by the 180 delegate member Rules committee.1 However, unlike past cycles, Democrats do not have a laundry list of primary phase grievances to bring into the quadrennial confab. For starters, despite all the hype given the large and diverse field of candidates, neither chaos nor widespread division among party factions took hold in the lead up to and during primary season. It is those divisions that often put the rules of the nomination process in the crosshairs, making them fertile ground for potential convention compromise.

The fallout from the tight 2008 Clinton-Obama battle, for example, produced the Democratic Change Commission that further codified the addition of Nevada and South Carolina to the early primary calendar, reduced the share of superdelegates, and committed to developing best practices for states with caucuses in lieu of primaries.

And obviously, the friction from the 2016 nomination race between Clinton and Sanders led to the compromise in Philadelphia between the two camps that yielded the Unity Reform Commission. Both sides had their quibbles with various aspects of the process and that created a commission with a clear cut agenda to examine the possibilities of opening the process up to an increased number of voters and transitioning more states from caucuses to primaries. It also set a concrete reduction of superdelegates that was later revised by the Rules and Bylaws Committee before it was adopted by the full DNC in August 2018.

But in 2020, that sort of animosity just never materialized among those vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. And now that the virtual national convention to formally nominate Joe Biden is on the horizon, the early signals for what the rules discussion will entail show it. Early reporting indicated that the draft resolution to be considered would include language creating a Build the Party Commission, but that language is not included in the draft made public. Instead, the process of reviewing the 2020 process and creating rules for 2024 would, under the resolution, skip that step and go straight the Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC). That body, as it was after the 2012 cycle, would be tasked with the rules review. Recall that the Unity Reform Commission met throughout 2017 and was required to present a report to the RBC by the beginning of 2018. The RBC then had to take those recommendations and turn them into actionable rules changes by the summer of 2018 in order for them to be adopted by the full DNC with enough lead time for 2020.

If this resolution is ultimately adopted by the convention Rules Committee and then by the full convention, then the RBC would review the 2020 process and draft a report by the end of March 2021. That would give the group ample time to craft 2024 rules ahead of a likely late summer 2022 DNC meeting that would adopt rules for 2024 (if the past model of rules adoption is followed for the next cycle).

But that is the structural piece of the 2024 rules puzzle. There is also a substantive portion embedded in this draft resolution. Again, however, if one is here for the flash of potential reforms, then the substance may be lacking compared to past cycles. Basically, the proposed resolution would carry over much of the 2020 rules to 2024. They would continue the commitment to a more open nomination process; the changes layered into Rule 2 for 2020. Caucuses, through state-level rules changes or necessity given the coronavirus pandemic, were already reduced to the lowest number ever on the Democratic side during the post-reform era.

The resolution would also see the barring of superdelegates from voting on the first ballot at the national convention extended to 2024. No, superdelegates could not overturn the will of voters (through primaries and caucuses) at the convention, but that was never really a threat in 2020. Biden established a large enough lead on and in the weeks after Super Tuesday to eliminate that prospect. However, superdelegates retained the ability to line up behind candidates before and during primary season. And the ones who did overwhelmingly preferred Joe Biden. And while that role was extended to 2020, the number of superdelegates weighing in and endorsing before or during primary season was greatly reduced compared to 2016. But that should not have come as a surprise with the field as large as it was and support as varied as it was. The true comparison, then, would be a competitive cycle with multiple candidates involved and not the sort of one-on-one contest that 2008 or 2016 quickly offered during primary season. In other words, the winnowing of the field was different in 2020. But superdelegates still played a role in determining who stuck around.

Despite that reality, the superdelegates rules change enacted for 2020 will very likely be extended to 2024 and very likely without much controversy. There may be pockets of dissension, but there will not be controversy.

The one new thing added in this draft resolution to the list of items to be carried over to 2024 is the one thing that was universally controversial about the 2020 Democratic nominating process: the chaos in Iowa at the beginning of the primary calendar. That raised anew the Iowa and New Hampshire question, one that has been fought to varying degrees for cycle after cycle in the post-reform era.

Is this the time that that change will finally come to the early calendar? On some level, it seems the perfect time. The strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd's killing over Memorial Day weekend brings into even starker contrast the misalignment of the two earliest states' demography with the membership of the broader Democratic Party. And that is after that was already a complaint of at least one candidate for the 2020 nomination.

That may be. However, those contests only minimally affected the winnowing of the field of candidates and weeded out those that likely should have bowed out earlier in the invisible primary campaign. It was when the calendar brought in more diverse electorates that the true winnowing took shape. It was the more diverse electorate in Nevada that indicated a two person race between Sanders and Biden and an even more diverse electorate in South Carolina (if not the important endorsement of Jim Clyburn) that catapulted Biden into Super Tuesday and the nomination.

Given that timeline, it would seem that the Democratic Party -- and this is excluding the important work the Republican National Committee will do on its own 2024 rules -- has a choice to make. Jettison Iowa and New Hampshire from the early calendar and risk the potential for backlash from those two states or basically ignore them and let Nevada, South Carolina and states immediately on their heels on Super Tuesday continue to do the heavy lifting.

Many will downplay the possibility of backlash from Iowa and New Hampshire. The DNC, after all, can follow its 2008 model, and penalize any states that seek to break the rules on primary and caucus timing. But would the party be willing to do so with a couple of states that are often competitive in the general election? They were with Florida and Michigan in 2008 (and they had more electoral votes at stake). But would that be worth it to potentially negatively affect the relationships between the national party and state parties in Iowa and New Hampshire with a competitive 2024 general election in which those states may be pivotal? That is an open question.

Look, the symbolism of the early calendar change alone is going to exert a degree of pressure on the RNC and DNC to make the above questions almost moot. But that does not mean that they are not worth considering or will not be between now and summer 2022. But those are the trade-offs that are involved in complex party decision making.

And to close on this subject, what happens on the Republican side with respect to Iowa and New Hampshire matters too. If Republicans hold pat, then that adds to the friction between the state parties in those respective states and the national party. That is negative momentum that the DNC in this case would probably want to avoid. And no, that is not the RNC dictating what is occurring on the Democratic side. It is just another variable in the decision-making process cited above. On the other hand, the RNC could take any potential change to the calendar on the Democratic side and run with it. This is more positive or reinforcing momentum. It is not as if the Republicans have not considered calendar changes of their own. But would the RNC willing follow the DNC into that change? That, too, is an open question.

Regardless, those are all questions and considerations for the time after November's election. But the rules discussions for 2024 start now at the conventions.


--
1 Draft resolution text (via HuffPost):
"WHEREAS, following the 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”), under the leadership of Chair Tom Perez, took substantial steps to ensure a more accessible, transparent, and inclusive 2020 Democratic presidential nominating process;

WHEREAS, these reforms, which encouraged many states to move from caucuses to more inclusive primaries, led to an unprecedented level of voter participation in presidential primary contests across the country, allowing more Democratic voters to make their voices heard and increasing voter confidence in our nominating system;

WHEREAS, these reforms helped inspire the largest and most diverse field in our Party’s history to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for President;

WHEREAS, the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC (“RBC”) was instrumental in adopting and implementing the reforms that made the 2020 presidential nominating process the most dynamic and successful in our Party’s history;

WHEREAS, the Democratic Party needs to continue to build off the successes of the 2020 primary reforms in creating the rules of the 2024 primary process and Democratic National Convention;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the RBC must protect and continue the work started in 2017 to make improvements to the 2024 nominating process and Democratic National Convention and build on the successes achieved this cycle. With the purpose and the goals of continuing to further accessibility, transparency, and inclusion in our Party, the RBC shall conduct a comprehensive and structured review of the presidential nominating reforms adopted by the DNC for the 2020 primaries to evaluate where even further reforms are needed, while maintaining the advances that have been made. This review should include considerations of the successes of each of the reforms adopted in 2018 in achieving the DNC’s goals, empowering rank and file Democrats, and strengthening and unifying the Democratic Party in the lead up to the general election. In conducting this review, the RBC should take steps to ensure public and stakeholder engagement in the process, including at least one public hearing and an opportunity to submit comments. This review and accounting should be completed by March 31, 2021."


--
Recent posts:
The Electoral College Map (7/29/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/28/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/27/20)


Follow FHQ on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Electoral College Map (7/29/20)

Update for July 29.


Changes (July 29)
StateBeforeAfter
PennsylvaniaLean BidenToss Up Biden
Following a day with a slew of poll releases, Wednesday was a bit more pedestrian. With 97 days to go until election day, there was a tenth wave of battleground surveys from Change Research, a new poll out of Georgia and a leftover from yesterday updating the race in Washington state.

All of that was enough to once again push Pennsylvania below the Lean/Toss Up line, but there is a cluster of states -- Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- all within a point of that barrier. The back and forth is consequential on some level, but ultimately only drives home the point that each is tipped around five points in Biden's direction.


Polling Quick Hits:
Georgia (Trump 49, Biden 46):
Monmouth released another state-level poll with three different assumptions about turnout in their samples. And like the one in Pennsylvania earlier this month, as the samples moved from registered voters to likely with high turnout to likely voters with an assumed lower turnout, the more Trump favorable the results. The difference in this case is that the range -- from tied to Trump +3 -- was much smaller. That meant the impact of which survey assumption was used had minimal impact on the averages here at FHQ. Georgia would have remained a Trump toss up and still on the Watch List regardless. But using the version with the low turnout assumption -- as was the case with Pennsylvania before -- switched Georgia and Ohio in the rank ordering on the Electoral College Spectrum below. Both, however, continue to be close to each other in a battle for the closest state on the board.


Washington (Biden 62, Trump 28):
It has been more than two months since the last survey was in the field in the Evergreen state, and the picture of the race -- this time from Survey USA -- was largely similar from a 30,000 foot view. Biden leads and big in a state the former vice president will likely carry in the fall. But what separates this survey from the last poll of the state in May is that Biden is at his high water mark there so far while Trump is at his nadir. Biden was running about four points above his FHQ average while Trump was running around four points behind his. That expanded the average margin in Biden's favor in a state that has seen relatively little polling in 2020.


Change Research (July wave #2):
The last couple of days have been about series of polls in multiple states. Yesterday saw battleground waves from Morning Consult and another seven state series from Public Policy Polling. Today brought the latest wave of battleground polling from Change Research. Overall, this series showed a bit of a contraction in Biden's earlier July leads across the six states. On average, the former vice president lost 2.5 points while maintaining leads in all six. Moreover, the range of margins remains quite tight and because of that the order does not exactly match the rank ordering established on the Spectrum below. But the differences are not that large. The key is that Biden is ahead in all six states -- the core of any path to 270 -- but saw his edge wane a bit. But it is a small enough change to be chalked up to variation across surveys.

Arizona: Biden +2 (-4 since first July wave)
Pennsylvania: Biden +2 (-6)
North Carolina: Biden +3 (+2)
Florida: Biden +3 (-4)
Michigan: Biden +4 (-2)
Wisconsin: Biden +5 (-1)


NOTE: A description of the methodology behind the graduated weighted average of 2020 state-level polling that FHQ uses for these projections can be found here.


The Electoral College Spectrum1
HI-42
(7)
NJ-14
(173)
PA-203
(269 | 289)
AK-3
(125)
TN-11
(56)
MA-11
(18)
OR-7
(180)
NH-43
(273 | 269)
MO-10
(122)
NE-2
(45)
CA-55
(73)
DE-3
(183)
FL-29
(302 | 265)
SC-9
(112)
AL-9
(43)
VT-3
(76)
CO-9
(192)
NV-6
(308 | 236)
MT-3
(103)
ID-4
(34)
NY-29
(105)
NM-5
(197)
AZ-11
(319 | 230)
UT-6
(100)
ND-3
(30)
WA-12
(117)
ME-2
(199)
NC-15
(334 | 219)
LA-8
NE CD1-1
(94)
KY-8
(27)
MD-10
(127)
VA-13
(212)
OH-18
(204)
MS-6
(85)
SD-3
(19)
IL-20
(147)
MN-10
(222)
GA-16
(186)
IN-11
(79)
OK-7
(16)
RI-4
ME CD1-1
(152)
MI-16
(238)
TX-38
(170)
AR-6
(68)
WV-5
(9)
CT-7
(159)
WI-10
NE CD2-1
(249)
IA-6
ME CD2-1
(132)
KS-6
(62)
WY-3
NE CD3-1
(4)
1 Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.

2 The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he or she won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, Trump won all the states up to and including Pennsylvania (Biden's toss up states up to the Keystone state), he would have 289 electoral votes. Trump's numbers are only totaled through the states he would need in order to get to 270. In those cases, Biden's number is on the left and Trumps's is on the right in bold italics.


To keep the figure to 50 cells, Washington, DC and its three electoral votes are included in the beginning total on the Democratic side of the spectrum. The District has historically been the most Democratic state in the Electoral College.

3 New Hampshire
 is the state where Biden would cross the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election, the tipping point state for the former vice president. But because the line between New Hampshire and Pennsylvania creates an Electoral College tie (269-269), Pennsylvania is the tipping point state for Trump. It is where the president surpasses 270 electoral votes. Collectively, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are the tipping point states.

Georgia and Ohio swapping spots on the Spectrum was alluded to above, but there were some other subtle changes triggered by the addition of these polls. Washington moved up a couple of cells in the order in the far left column, deep in Biden's coalition of states. And Florida and New Hampshire trade positions as well with the result that New Hampshire and not Florida is now sharing the tipping point state distinction with Pennsylvania again. A candidate would need both New Hampshire and Pennsylvania to crest above 270 if the results on November 3 returned an order like this.

The Watch List below carried over the same 14 state from a day ago, but saw the potential Pennsylvania switch change another possible push into the Lean Biden category. The ones that matter on the list remain Georgia and Ohio. They are the states that could alter the electoral vote tally for the candidates and not just categories within their coalitions.

And yes, Nevada and New Hampshire continue to be states to watch as well.

--
There were also no new polls from Nevada nor New Hampshire today.

Days since the last Nevada poll was in the field: 90.
Days since the last New Hampshire poll was in the field: 43.

--
NOTE: Distinctions are made between states based on how much they favor one candidate or another. States with a margin greater than 10 percent between Biden and Trump are "Strong" states. Those with a margin of 5 to 10 percent "Lean" toward one of the two (presumptive) nominees. Finally, states with a spread in the graduated weighted averages of both the candidates' shares of polling support less than 5 percent are "Toss Up" states. The darker a state is shaded in any of the figures here, the more strongly it is aligned with one of the candidates. Not all states along or near the boundaries between categories are close to pushing over into a neighboring group. Those most likely to switch -- those within a percentage point of the various lines of demarcation -- are included on the Watch List below.

The Watch List1
State
Potential Switch
Florida
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
Georgia
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Indiana
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Louisiana
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Mississippi
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Missouri
from Toss Up Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD1
from Strong Trump
to Lean Trump
Nebraska CD2
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
New Hampshire
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
Ohio
from Toss Up Trump
to Toss Up Biden
Pennsylvania
from Toss Up Biden
to Lean Biden
Utah
from Lean Trump
to Strong Trump
Virginia
from Strong Biden
to Lean Biden
Wisconsin
from Lean Biden
to Toss Up Biden
1 Graduated weighted average margin within a fraction of a point of changing categories.

--
Methodological Note: In past years, FHQ has tried some different ways of dealing with states with no polls or just one poll in the early rounds of these projections. It does help that the least polled states are often the least competitive. The only shortcoming is that those states may be a little off in the order in the Spectrum. In earlier cycles, a simple average of the state's three previous cycles has been used. But in 2016, FHQ strayed from that and constructed an average swing from 2012 to 2016 that was applied to states. That method, however, did little to prevent anomalies like the Kansas poll that had Clinton ahead from biasing the averages. In 2016, the early average swing in the aggregate was  too small to make much difference anyway. For 2020, FHQ has utilized an average swing among states that were around a little polled state in the rank ordering on election day in 2016. If there is just one poll in Delaware in 2020, for example, then maybe it is reasonable to account for what the comparatively greater amount of polling tells us about the changes in Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico. Or perhaps the polling in Iowa, Mississippi and South Carolina so far tells us a bit about what may be happening in Alaska where no public polling has been released. That will hopefully work a bit better than the overall average that may end up a bit more muted.


--
Related posts:
The Electoral College Map (7/28/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/27/20)

The Electoral College Map (7/26/20)


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