Joe Biden’s lead vanishes in four swing states, according to poll aggregator

In Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio Joe Biden’s lead may have disappeared

Tuesday 03 November 2020 22:22
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Joe Biden’s lead has evaporated in four key swing states, according to a polling average released by RealClearPolitics.

In Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio Donald Trump has seized the lead, the site claimed - although several polling experts said that the results were not credible.

RealClearPolitics still gave Mr Biden a 7.2 per cent lead nationally, with a 0.09 per cent lead in Arizona and Florida, and a 1.2 per cent lead in Pennsylvania.

The biggest collapse of support for the 77-year-old was in Iowa, where as recently as Friday he was ahead according to RealClearPolitics’ average by 1.2 per cent.

Mr Trump now leads Iowa by 2 per cent of the vote; Georgia by 1 per cent; North Carolina by 0.2 per cent; and Ohio by 1.4 per cent. 

Mr Biden previously led polling in all four states, but saw his advantage dwindle in recent days.

Polling experts cautioned, however, that RealClearPolitics’ survey was not giving a balanced view.

Read more: The US 2020 election live

Their average was heavily weighted by polling data from Trafalgar Group - in particular in Georgia and Ohio. 

The Georgia-based polling firm weights its surveys for “social desirability bias,” taking into account the idea that some Trump voters are afraid to be honest with pollsters. 

That methodology has included asking respondents who they believed their neighbours planned to vote for, as well as differences in how the company Trafalgar judges who is most likely to vote. 

The firm was, however, one of the only polling firms to correctly predict Mr Trump would win Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2016.

Trafalgar’s last surveys leading up to this week’s election suggested Mr Trump is leading Mr Biden by 5 per cent of the vote in both Ohio and Georgia, making their polls a strong outlier.

Nate Cohn, the New York Times’ polling expert, described RealClearPolitics as “a small casualty of this election”, and said they were no longer credible.

A second polling expert said they were unabashedly pro-Republican.

“They've been doing this all year. Arbitrary date ranges and arbitrary exclusion of some polls, even within range, which just happen to be unfavorable to the GOP,” he said.

Nate Silver, founder of polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight, agreed.

“Endorse this, even though there are many things I like about RCP,” he said. 

“But also, this became a tricky cycle for polling aggregation at the end. As much or more good polling than ever, but also, a *lot* of spam in the final few weeks of the campaign.”

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