Swing States Sliding Toward Biden

If there’s any year presidential polls won’t be trusted, it’s 2020. A month’s worth of news is typically packed into a few days, new numbers flood in by the hour, and people are still skeptical because of 2016. But if you’re inclined to trust pollsters, who have accounted for past errors and all kinds of other factors this time around, there’s a loud and clear message at the center of the numbers:

Joe Biden’s in pretty good shape.

About a month ago, we wrote about Biden losing ground in several key swing states. That was before RBG’s death and ensuing SCOTUS fight, the first presidential debate, and President Donald Trump (as well as, like, half the White House) contracting coronavirus. Those factors were all a boon for Biden, who piggybacked off Trump’s dismal debate performance and COVID-19 diagnosis into solid national polling leads. Even Rasmussen, a generally Republican-sympathetic poll that had Trump’s approval rating above 50 percent just a few months ago, had Biden leading the president by 12 points.

Other swing state polls show the shift toward Biden, too. A New York Times/Siena poll had Biden pulling ahead in Ohio, 45-44, after trailing for almost the entirety of the cycle. G. Elliot Morris, who forecasts the election for The Economist, said that in his model Trump has no path to win the election without winning Ohio. (Morris’ model also gives Biden a roughly 9-in-10 chance of winning the Electoral College.) Trump’s also in hot water among seniors, one of his key demographics. Both CNN/SRS and NBC/Wall Street Journal polls have Biden leading Trump by more than 20 points among seniors, a group Trump won by 7 points in 2016.

What does all this functionally mean? Until Election Day (or week, or month), functionally nothing. They’re simply an indication that Biden is doing well and Trump can’t get out of his own way. As he crept back up in key states, his comedy of errors slid him back down again. Turns out it’s really hard to successfully run for reelection while fundamentally altering American life, destroying the economy, and encouraging the spread of a deadly virus before catching it yourself. Trump owns all the crises we now face, and the polls are showing it. At least for the moment.

Below, we’ve gathered Real Clear Politics’ current polling averages in swing states and compared them to the same numbers from about month ago.

Swing States

Arizona
2016 Result: Trump +3.5
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Biden +5.0
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Biden +3.5
Electoral Votes: 11

Florida
2016 Result: Trump +1.2
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Biden +3.3
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Biden +2.7
Electoral Votes: 29

Michigan
2016 Result: Trump +0.3
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Biden +2.6
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Biden +7.2
Electoral Votes: 16

North Carolina
2016 Result: Trump +3.7
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Biden +0.6
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Biden +3.3
Electoral Votes: 15

Pennsylvania
2016 Result: Trump +0.7
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Biden +4.2
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Biden +7.0
Electoral Votes: 20

Wisconsin
2016 Result: Trump +0.7
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Biden +4.0
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Biden +6.3
Electoral Votes: 10

Lean Republican States

Georgia
2016 Result: Trump +5.1
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Trump +1.3
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Biden +0.6
Electoral Votes: 16

Texas
2016 Result: Trump +9.0
2020 Polling, Sept. 3: Trump +3.5
2020 Polling, Oct. 14: Trump +4.4
Electoral Votes: 38

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