These polls taken in isolation wouldn’t be that noteworthy, but they speak to the larger aggregate.
Those extra 38 electoral votes are likely to come from the six closest states Trump won in 2016: Arizona (11 electoral votes), Florida (29 electoral votes), Michigan (16 electoral votes), North Carolina (15 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and Wisconsin (10 electoral votes). You can also add in the one electoral vote from Nebraska’s Second Congressional District, which Trump won by just 2 points in 2016.
(Nebraska, like Maine, gives an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district.)
- Michigan: Biden +8 points
- Wisconsin: Biden +8 points
- Pennsylvania: Biden +7 points
- Nebraska’s 2nd District: Biden +7 points
- North Carolina: Biden +3 points
The key in these poll numbers is that Biden doesn’t actually need Arizona, Florida or North Carolina to win. Just by winning in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and holding the Clinton states, Biden gets to 278 electoral votes.
Obviously, that map doesn’t leave Biden a lot of room for error, but it is good enough.
An examination of the demographic voting patterns in the last few cycles and national polls indicate that Biden’s relative strength in the Great Lakes makes a lot of sense.
The live interview national polls taken since the first debate have Trump winning White voters without a college degree by about 17 points nationally. That may seem like a big lead, but Trump led among that group by 30 points in the final pre-election polls in 2016.
Additionally, Biden’s been doing about 10 points better among White voters overall and nearly 20 points better among White women than Clinton did. All of these trends manifest more greatly in the Great Lakes than Sunbelt.
Importantly, you’ll note that the comparison here controls for the Great Lake poll misses in 2016. We’re focusing on the national polls, which were largely accurate in 2016. Also, we’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison between pre-election polls then and now.
For Trump to win, he’ll probably need to knock down the big blue wall again. If he can’t, Biden’s probably the next president.
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