Trump has a 10% chance of victory against Biden, top polling expert says

All eyes on key states like Pennsylvania, which may determine the fate of the US presidential election

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 02 November 2020 20:51
Biden V Trump: US election opinion polls

Nationwide polling and survey data leading up to Election Day has provided consistently optimistic news for Joe Biden — but one of the top campaign analysts in the country said Donald Trump still has a path to victory in his bid for re-election.

Nate Silver, founder of the election polling site FiveThiryEight, said the president has about a 10 percent chance of winning, and that his victory “would come down to Pennsylvania” — one of the most crucial battleground states in the 2020 election — during an interview with ABC’s This Week.

Speaking on the Sunday before the election, Mr Silver compared recent polls in Pennsylvania to others that showed Mr Biden with a stronger lead: “Pennsylvania has not bumped up to a 7- or 8-point Biden lead like we see in Michigan and Wisconsin. It's 5 points. It's not a big early voting state, so a lot of votes have not yet been cast in Pennsylvania.”

“Among the votes that were sent in by mail, there are some provisions about a naked ballot, a security envelope. That could make things more complicated. You could have the courts involved,” he added. “You have some protests, looting in Philadelphia. There's lots of stuff going on."

Should Mr Trump win in Pennsylvania, Mr Biden would then become the “underdog,” according to Mr Silver, who suggested the former vice president would then need to pick up another state the president won in 2016, like Arizona or North Carolina.

Other analysts have also noted how Mr Biden appeared to have more viable paths to the 270 electoral votes required to secure the White House, while Mr Trump’s path to victory seemed to narrow to several key states that helped him win in 2016.

Recent polls have shown Mr Trump trailing Mr Biden in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, both of which he won in 2016. He was behind Mr Biden by about five percent according the latest polls from Pennsylvania.

The final FiveThirtyEight analysis in 2016 gave Mr Trump a 29 percent chance of victory against Hillary Clinton, who was considered the most likely victor of the previous election in the weeks leading up to the vote.

But Mr Biden has enjoyed higher polling averages in every tipping point state compared to the former Democratic nominee, including in Pennsylvania, where a win could put him on the path to the White House.

“Maybe a lot of little things add up and Biden loses Pennsylvania by half a point, and then he doesn't quite pull off Arizona or North Carolina. He does have other options,” Mr Silver said. “But still, without Pennsylvania, then Biden becomes an underdog."

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