Swing-State Odds: Trump Gains Ground, Favored in Florida
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President Donald Trump was able to flip six states in the 2016 election that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 — Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio. For most of the summer Joe Biden had a substantial advantage in the swing states, only to see them tighten. But after Thursday's debate in which neither candidate likely gained any ground, and with about a week and a half before Election Day, Biden seems to have an edge in most key battleground states -- with one notable exception.
Florida, as always a close race, saw odds flip back to Trump again this week. The GOP is at -121 with Democrats at -110 in the Sunshine State, where the lead has changed hands a few times in recent weeks. Last week, Biden was a -150 favorite in Florida.
Trump’s push in the Midwest had gained traction in August, but between his performance in the first debate and his COVID-19 diagnosis, the incumbent lost a lot of ground. He hit the campaign trail again after spending several days out of circulation following his COVID-19 diagnosis and Trump gained a slight bit of ground in national polling, though he still trails by about 10 points depending on the poll.
Biden remains comfortably favored in most key states, though Trump has clawed back some ground. Biden's lead in Michigan went from -455 to -250 in the past 10 days, his Wisconsin edge has fallen from -335 to -240 and in Pennsylvania, the state where Biden was born, his odds changed from -305 to -230. Still, if the former Vice President's odds match the final vote, those states should be enough to beat Trump in the Electoral College.
North Carolina flipped from Trump to Biden in recent weeks and, though again the odds got tighter, the Democrats are still favored there, at -121 while the GOP stands at -110. Trump also the odds favorite in Iowa, Ohio, Georgia and Texas.
2020 Swing States Favoring Democrats
|North Carolina*||Democrats (-121)||Republicans (-110)|
|Arizona*||Democrats (-139)||Republicans (+105)|
|Pennsylvania*||Democrats (-230)||Republicans (+165)|
|Wisconsin*||Democrats (-240)||Republicans (+175)|
|Michigan*||Democrats (-250)||Republicans (+180)|
|Minnesota||Democrats (-305)||Republicans (+225)|
|Nevada||Democrats (-305)||Republicans (+225)|
|New Hampshire||Democrats (-455)||Republicans (+300)|
|Maine||Democrats (-1250)||Republicans (+650)|
|Virginia||Democrats (-1430)||Republicans (+700)|
|Colorado||Democrats (-1667)||Republicans (+700)|
2020 Swing States Favoring Republicans
|Florida*||Republicans (-121)||Democrats (+175)|
|Georgia*||Republicans (-177)||Democrats (+130)|
|Iowa*||Republicans (-210)||Democrats (+150)|
|Ohio*||Republicans (-240)||Democrats (+115)|
|Texas*||Republicans (-400)||Democrats (+260)|
Odds updated Oct. 23
Biden Up in 11 Swing States
Of the 16 key swing states for 2020, Biden is favored in 11 of them. Trump is favored in five, and he’ll need to flip at least three in order to win a second term. If the odds hold in terms of actual vote, Biden would win the Electoral College 305-233 (depending on how congressional districts ME-2 and NE-2 vote).
Winning Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida might not be enough for Trump, either. That would get him to 267 electoral votes. Add in potentially one electoral vote from Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and he is still an electoral vote short (assuming Biden were to win Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, he would win 270-268 in this scenario).
If there is a tie or neither candidate reaches 270 because of potential court challenges, the election would be sent to the House of Representatives, where each state’s delegation receives one vote. Only the top three candidates receiving electoral votes may be considered, and a candidate must receive 26 votes. The House continues to vote until it elects a president. Currently, the delegations are 26 Republican, 22 Democratic and two tied, making the results of House races in several states critical.
Some of the tightening was expected as the campaign enters the final weeks, though the odds still run contrary to most post-convention polls. Remember, though, that odds can tighten because of money coming on one side and may not reflect the true state of the race.
CHECK OUT: Complete Odds In Key 2020 Senate Races
Latest Swing-State Developments
Keystone State Might Be Key
There’s no mystery why Biden had his town hall in Pennsylvania last week. He’s from Scranton and he must win the state in November for a reasonable path to the White House.
Biden had surged as high as -560 in the state, but the gap has tightened and he is now -230 there. Trump won the state by 44,000 votes in 2016. A Muhlenberg College poll this week has Biden ahead by seven points, 51-44.
Pennsylvania has also been targeted by a series of lawsuits, including over mail-in voting, satellite election offices and drop boxes. Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to make it more difficult to vote amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling was seen as a big win for Biden. It allowed for more ballot drop boxes, extended the deadline for absentee ballots (which must be counted if received within three days of the election) and booted the Green Party candidate off the ballot.
A Michigan court also ruled recently that the mass mailing of absentee ballots was allowed, and that ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 must be counted as long as they arrive before the vote is certified. Election results do not need to be certified until 14 days after the election.
CHECK OUT: Daily Presidential Odds Tracker
Wisconsin Front & Center
Biden has -240 odds to take Wisconsin, a state Trump won by just under 23,000 votes in 2016.
A Morning Consult poll released on Sept. 1 showed Biden with a 52% to 43% lead among likely voters with a sampling stretching from Aug. 21-30.
Protests gripped the Milwaukee suburb of Kenosha after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back seven times by police responding to a domestic disturbance call on Aug. 23. A police officer tried to prevent Blake from getting into his vehicle and was pulling on Blake’s shirt when he fired seven times into his back.
The president has been pushing law and order in his bid to get reelected. He appeared to defend a teenage supporter of his who has been charged with fatally shooting two men and wounding a third amid the demonstrations.
Trump suggested 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who said he traveled to Kenosha to protect businesses, was acting in self-defense, an argument also made by the teen's attorney. A widely-viewed video showing protesters trying to tackle Rittenhouse (and the teen firing on them) was reportedly taken after Rittenhouse had allegedly already shot a protester.
Biden has also spoken out on the violence, denouncing the looters and those traveling to Kenosha (and other cities) and further stoking tensions. Both candidates addressed racial issues in Thursday's final presidential debate. Trump called himself the "least racist person in this room," a soundbite which led to an incredulous reaction from Biden and a lot more on social media Thursday night.
"I'm the least racist person in this room," Pres. Trump says.— ABC News (@ABC) October 23, 2020
"Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history," Joe Biden sarcastically responds. https://t.co/zkoTdi6727 #Debates2020 pic.twitter.com/MI1KhQtJqT
The initial polls and odds after Thursday's debate showed little movement 11 days before Election Day ends the voting.
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Top image via USA Today