The 2020 Presidential election nowcast based on State polling: Trump support deteriorating even in red States

The 2020 Presidential election nowcast based on State polling: Trump support deteriorating even in red States

For the past four weeks I have posted a projection of the Electoral College vote based solely on State rather than national polls (since after all that is how the College operates) that have been reported in the last 30 days.

Here’s how it works:
– States where the race is closer than 3% are shown as toss-ups.
– States where the range is between 3% to 5% are light colors.
– States where the range is between 5% and 10% are medium colors.
– States where the candidate is leading by 10% plus are dark colors.

Before I proceed further, let me emphasize that polls are *not* forecasts, only nowcasts. They tell us the likely result if the election were held today. Since voters, campaigns, and decision-makers respond to the polling, it is inherently fluid. The only true “forecasts” are those which make us of leading indicators, which forecast where the data will be in a few months. One model, based on the Q1 Index of Leading Indicators, already forecasts a bad Trump loss. Another model, based on real disposable personal income through Q2, will be locked in when June’s data is reported in two weeks. Tomorrow or Tuesday I will look at the status of the short leading indicators, which will give a forecast “locked in” through Q3.

With that said, here is the updated map through July 19:

In the past two weeks, 6 red States have been downgraded to “lean” or toss-up for Trump, and two Congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska have flipped to Biden. Only Iowa has moved from toss-up to lean Trump. As of now, only 10 States, none of which has more than 9 Electoral votes, are “solid” Trump. In several of them – the Dakotas, Idaho, West Virginia, and Wyoming – there has not been any new State polling in months, so there could well be more Electoral votes and GOP Senators at risk who we simply don’t know about.


As has been the case for the past three weeks, if Biden simply wins the States in which he leads by 5% or more in the polling, he would win the Electoral College, without even winning a single “toss-up” or “lean Biden” State as shown on the map.

The only thing not working against Trump right now is that his (dis)-approval rating, as has been the case for four years, is slowly drifting back to its “natural” level:

This is probably because he has been more “competent” at appealing to his base, by demonizing Black Lives Matter and provoking police confrontations in Portland.

To reiterate what I said last week, Trump has about 6 weeks to turn around the pandemic. If Labor Day comes and goes and the pandemic is still raging anywhere near as bad as it is now, Trump is going to lose the popular vote, and lose it badly, making an electoral college victory virtually impossible. The odds of him pulling off that miracle are slim, to say the least.

I would very much like to see more State polling in the red States because there are GOP Senators who should be targeted that we don’t even know are vulnerable as of this point.