Election Projections: Little changes with week to go, including Biden still on top

Trump and Biden pins (Dreamstime/TNS)
Trump and Biden pins (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Editor’s note: Polling results are often described as snapshots at a particular moment of time in a campaign. This, however, is more of a doodle, aggregating election projections from various sources, some that rely entirely on polling while others also take into consideration factors such as demographics and voting histories. This feature will be updated on a periodic basis to show you what’s being scribbled in the margins as the 2020 presidential campaign moves from chapter to chapter.

We’re in the final furlongs of the race for the White House, with the election only seven days away, and on the surface, the averages produced by the 15 projection models we’ve been tracking appear to be fairly static. Eight of the models haven’t even updated their numbers in the past week.

Democrat Joe Biden continues to lead the race, as he has ever since we began this exercise eight weeks ago, and his edge grew slightly over the past week.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find some big activity on a couple of models — they just canceled each other out.

President Donald Trump saw a surge of 44 electoral votes on PredictIt Market Probabilities, which acts something like a stock tote board, setting prices on various candidates as if they were commodities. (If you’re stocking your pantry, Trump’s price is now 40 cents. Biden goes for 64 cents.) Despite Trump’s big gain, PredictIt’s electoral count still favors Biden, 290-248.

Biden saw a boost nearly as big as Trump’s PredictIt gain on the Princeton Election Consortium, adding 38 electoral votes. The interesting quirk in the Princeton model, which is based on polling, is that it plays a game of “what if” — as in what would the numbers be if each of the candidates outperformed the state polls Princeton follows by 3%. That’s the amount, it says, “by which polls and results differed in 2016.”

Princeton’s basic model gives Biden 373 electoral votes to 143 for Trump, with 22 still up for grabs (including Georgia’s 16 votes in the Electoral College). If Biden were to do 3% better, his total would grow to 395 votes (including Georgia’s allotment) to 125 for Trump, with 18 remaining in the toss-up category. If Trump were to do 3% better, Biden would still finish with 289 electoral votes (it takes 270 to win), and the president would have 203. Forty-six electoral votes would still be up for grabs.

The bottom line

Democrat Joe Biden: 300 votes this week, 297 votes last week, 299 votes the week before that

Republican Donald Trump: 162 votes this week, 163 votes last week, 161 votes the week before that

Toss-up states: 76 votes this week, 78 votes last week, 78 votes the week before that

Projections as of noon Monday:

270toWin consensus map (last updated Saturday): Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 290: Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

270toWin polling map (updated three times daily): Biden, 279; Trump, 125; Toss-up, 134

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 259; Trump, 125; Toss-up 154
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 279: Trump, 125; Toss-up 134

270toWin polling with no toss-ups (updates three times daily): Biden, 334; Trump, 198

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 357; Trump, Trump, 181
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 375, Trump, 163

Yes, you read that right, the current numbers don’t add up to 538. Even though there aren’t supposed to be any toss-ups, the model could not settle on whether to designate Iowa and its six electoral votes as either Trump turf or Biden country.

CNN (last updated Oct. 7): Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

Cook Political Report (last updated Sept. 29): Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

The Economist (updated twice daily): Biden, 334; Trump, 164; Toss-up, 40

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 319: Trump, 188; Toss-up, 31
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 334; Trump, 164; Toss-up, 40

FiveThirtyEight (updated every two hours): Biden, 334; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 41

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 334; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 41
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 319; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 56

Inside Elections (last updated Oct. 16): Biden, 319; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 56

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 319; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 56
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 319; Trump, 187; Toss-up, 32

Niskanen Center (last updated Sept. 15): Biden, 318; Trump, 123; Toss-up, 97

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 318; Trump, 123; Toss-up, 97
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 318; Trump, 123; Toss-up, 97

NPR (last updated Oct. 9): Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

Politico (last updated Oct. 12): Biden, 279; Trump, 179; Toss-up, 80

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 279; Trump, 179; Toss-up, 80
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 279; Trump, 179; Toss-up, 80

PredictIt (updated every four hours): Biden, 290; Trump, 248

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 334; Trump, 204
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 334; Trump, 204

Princeton Election Consortium: Biden, 373; Trump, 143; Toss-up, 22

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 335; Trump, 181; Toss-up, 22
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 335; Trump, 143; Toss-up, 60

RealClearPolitics (last updated Thursday): Biden, 232; Trump, 125; Toss-up, 181

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 216; Trump, 125; Toss-up, 197
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 226; Trump, 125; Toss-up, 187

Sabato’s Crystal Ball (last updated Oct. 8): Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 290; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 85

U.S. News (last updated Sept. 29): Biden, 290; Trump, 185; Toss-up, 63

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 290; Trump, 185; Toss-up, 63
  • Totals on Oct. 12: Biden, 290; Trump, 185; Toss-up, 63

Two models joined 270toWin’s pundit page last week. We didn’t use them to calculate the averages above — neither did 270toWin’s consensus page — but here they are for information sake:

Decision Desk – Optimus 2020 Presidential Forecast (updated daily): Biden, 323; Trump, 125; Toss-up, 90

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 334; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 41

JHK Forecasts Presidential Election Forecast (updated daily): Biden, 335; Trump, 125; Toss-up, 78

  • Totals on Oct. 19: Biden, 335; Trump, 163; Toss-up, 40

JHK is also the site that offers you the opportunity to run simulations of the election. For the purposes of, let’s call it science, we ran the simulation 20 times. Biden won 18 of them.

The Democrat’s biggest victory was 414 electoral votes to 124 for Trump.

The closest contest was also a Biden win, 293-245.

Trump’s biggest win was 319- 219. His other win was 301-237.

Georgia backed Biden in 65% of the simulations.

Where does Georgia stand

Georgia maintains its battleground status, something verified by two things this week.

One is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll that came out Monday, showing Biden leading Trump, 47% to 46%, well within the margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The second is Biden’s appearance today in Georgia for campaign stops in metro Atlanta and Warm Springs, his first visit to the state since winning the Democratic nomination. In recent history, presidential candidates have treated Georgia like an ATM machine, a place to pick up some cash to spend on campaigns in other states that were more competitive. But Biden’s appearance means both candidates are now looking to Georgia for votes as much as folding money. Trump has held several rallies in the state this campaign season.

Of the 15 models we’re tracking, 10 mark Georgia as up for grabs.

What are the other toss-up states?

On its consensus map, 270toWin lists only five states as up for grabs. In addition to Georgia, they are Florida (29 electoral votes), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15) and Iowa (6). It also still marks one congressional district in Maine, and its one electoral vote, as a toss-up.

Real Clear Politics moved Michigan and its 16 electoral votes out of the land of the undecided and into Biden’s column. Still up for grabs on its model are Georgia and 10 other states — Texas (38), Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (6) and Nevada (6). It also still sees individual congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska as too close to call.

In Other News