After several weeks of campaigning, the election is finally coming to an end in the United States. Whoever wins this week will have a dramatic effect on the country, for better or for worse.
Having followed the polls for several months, here is my projection of what I think the election result will be when all the votes are finally counted.
Given the state of the polls, Biden’s favourability rating and high turnout across the country, I expect that Joe Biden will be elected president of the United States with 351 electoral votes, compared with Donald Trump’s 187.
I anticipate that Biden will flip the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nebraska’s second congressional district by a somewhat comfortable margin, with close races in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona and Maine’s second congressional district – which I think will ultimately go in his favour.
My prediction happens to be broadly in line with what a six-point national swing to Biden would look like compared with the 2016 presidential election; the only exception being Maine’s second congressional district.
Below is a guide to my decision in the ten key swing states of this election:
Biden has been ahead in Arizona by a margin of around two to three percent since August without much change. Several last minute high ranking pollsters have put the race with a slight Biden lead and, with a Senate race expected to go to the Democrats by a decent margin, I think Arizona is likely to go Democratic in the presidential race too – the first time since 1996.
A state notable for its 2000 re-count, Florida is a notoriously close state to call. Polls early on in the campaign had given Biden a strong lead, but that has ebbed away as election day has approached. Last minute polls vary from a six-point Biden lead to a two-point Trump lead, but the majority favour the Democrat. Given that Clinton lost the state by just over one percent in 2016, I would cautiously call the state as a tilt for Biden. However, this could change depending on how successful Trump’s courting of the Hispanic vote in the state is.
Nationally Biden is leading Trump by around six points more than Clinton eventually did at the last election. Assuming a six point swing against Trump, Georgia would be a state that could fall into Biden’s camp – given Trump’s five-point margin in 2016. Trump had been the narrow favourite in a race expected to be close but Biden has pulled ahead in recent weeks. Polls are split on who the winner will be in the state but, given the state’s changing demographics and how Biden has edged ahead, I forecast the state going to Biden by a narrow margin.
Iowa, a state Obama won twice, was also looking likely to be a close race in the closing weeks of the election campaign. However, a recent A+ poll gave Trump a seven point lead in the state. Although I think it possible that the Democrats will pick up the Senate seat in the state, I think Iowa will remain in Trump’s camp this election.
Having voted Democrat at every election since 1992, Michigan flipped Republican by just over 10,000 votes in 2016. Four years on, the state is seeing a huge spike in coronavirus cases and 8.5 percent unemployment as of September 2020. Alongside a series of polls that give Biden a comfortable lead of between seven to even 13 percent, I am pretty confident in the Democrats ability to flip this state by a likely or even safe margin.
Having backed Romney in 2012 and Trump in 2016, North Carolina looked like it had potential to be another close state this year but could eventually go to the Republicans once more. However, polls in the final few weeks have put Biden at either tied or ahead by two to three percent in the state. With a Senate race likely to be won by the Democratic candidate, I put North Carolina as a tilt for Biden, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump managed to cling on in the state by a wafer-thin margin.
With Trump having maintained a lead of two to three percent in August and September, I had thought Ohio would be likely to back the President once again this year. However, in recent weeks, the polls have tightened with my most recent model giving him just a one percent lead. Recent polls of the state range from a three-point Trump lead to Biden up four. Given Trump’s lead, regardless of how slight, in my model, I am inclined to give this state to Trump by a tilt margin.
Pennsylvania will probably be the most important state in this election, and also the one that will likely keep us waiting the longest with its rules on counting early votes. Back in August, polling averages gave Biden a 5.3 percent lead over Trump. Fast forward to today, it stands at around 4.5 percent. However, the most recent high-quality polls in the last few days give Biden a five to seven-point lead, roughly in line with the national swing to the Democrats. Given that even the smallest lead for Biden is roughly around four percent, I forecast he will flip this crucial state by a lean margin.
After Beto O’Rourke’s narrow defeat in the Texas Senate election in 2018, all eyes were on the Lone Star State for the presidential election. Although the state looks like it will be the closest race there since 1992, I think the dreams of a blue Texas will have to wait until next time. If we assume a national swing of six percent to the Democrats, Trump would still hold the state by two to three-points; roughly in line with polling coming from the state in the last few days. A close race for sure, and on a good day for Biden he may take it, but I think this will be a tilt for Trump.
Another state that Clinton narrowly lost, Wisconsin is in the middle of a huge spike in coronavirus cases and polling in the state looks like it is reverting to its history as a reliably Democratic state. Polls give Biden a comfortable lead from five-points to potentially as high as 17. With that in mind, I feel comfortable predicting that Biden will pick up this state.