But while Trump certainly still has a chance of winning, he’ll need a wider polling miss this year than in 2016 to win a second term in office.
To be clear, I’m not saying Trump can’t win. No analyst worth their grain would say that. It would be silly, however, not to acknowledge what should be obvious: Trump is in a considerably worse position heading into Election Day than he was in 2016.
These include (in order of descending Biden edges): Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa.
If Biden were to win all of these contests, he’d accumulate 357 electoral votes. That’s well more than the 270 necessary for victory.
Of course, many of these leads are on the small side. Only Biden’s advantages in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and Pennsylvania are 5 points or greater. All the others are 4 points or fewer at this hour.
But even if Biden were to win just the states where he led by 5 points or more, he’d still get over the 270 electoral vote mark. That was simply not the case for Clinton in 2016.
More interesting is what happens if you look at the specific state errors that occurred in 2016. The errors were biggest in the Great Lake (Rust Belt) states. They tended to be considerably smaller in the Sun Belt.
Now perhaps you want to argue that being ahead by just 2 points isn’t a lot. But keep in mind, we are talking about Trump needing an additional 2-point error on top of an already large error.
Trump would, in other words, need a large miss to take the White House in 2020. That could happen, though it’s unlikely.
It’s even conceivable that Biden will be underestimated in the polls. Remember, Barack Obama did better in 2012 than the polls suggested he would.
Moreover, Biden’s gains compared with Clinton make a lot of sense when you look at the national polling.
Trump’s not anywhere close to that right now. To get there, he’d, again, need to benefit from a much bigger polling error than four years ago.