Biden tops 270 in POLITICO's Election Forecast
Joe Biden has received 270 votes for the first time since POLITICO's election forecast debut late last year.
In addition to a double-digit national lead, Biden has built a steady advantage in the three Great Lakes states that brought Donald Trump over the top in 2016: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Our recent presidential race ratings have now favored Biden in enough states - including Wisconsin, which we've moved from Toss-up to Lean Democratic - to win the presidency.
To win re-election, Trump would now have to sweep all five throwing states and withdraw a “lean democratic” state like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.
It's a long way, but not impossible. Republicans are confident that the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court hearings starting this week will postpone the election in their favor.
However, there are numerous signs of a possible democratic wave.
Biden's national advantage grows as election day approaches. Millions of Americans vote every week, and ballot statistics show Democratic voters are highly motivated. And, fueled by seemingly unlimited financial resources and Trump's vulnerability at the helm, the Democrats are now actively fighting Senate races in once-unthinkable states like Alaska and South Carolina. The party could even replenish its house majority, which includes more than two dozen seats that Trump held four years ago.
The GOP's best hope for a bright spot on Election Day is to keep the Senate. Despite the Democrats' national dynamism, both parties are in a knife fight for control of the chamber. The recent North Carolina Democrat Cal Cunningham sex scandal has endangered a crucial race that had turned to him.
POLITICO's election forecast is based on extensive annual reporting: conversations with dozen of strategists, pollsters and campaigns, as well as an analysis of public and private survey data and other data sources.
President: Lean Democratic
Although the President's race has stayed in the same category since our last reviews, Biden's chances have improved. This update will include a total of 11 votes in its column: the crucial swing state of Wisconsin (10 votes) and the only electoral vote of Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, based on Omaha. Both switch from "Toss Up" to "Lean Democratic".
No state has exemplified the polarization of the country in the last 10 years as Wisconsin. Back to Scott Walker's victory in the 2010 governor's race with Trump's narrow win in 2016 - when he was the first Republican to carry the state since 1984 - Republicans were on the rise. Tony Evers' loss to Walker in 2018 signaled a modest setback for the Democrats, however, and Biden tops the polls there with 6 points on the RealClearPolitics average and 7 points on the FiveThirtyEight average - at or above 50 percent in both cases -Brand.
Two other Midwestern states that leaned toward Trump move to the Toss Up column: Iowa and Ohio. Poll after poll in each state shows a tight race, and Biden actually has a very tight lead on poll averages in both.
The latest ratings leave Biden with 279 votes in his column, just above the magic number of 270. Trump would have to hold all 179 votes that are currently leaning towards him, drop the 80 votes in the cast column and drop another 10 votes from Biden's side win.
Pennsylvania has emerged as the most likely turning point: Both Trump and Biden are advertising heavily and making frequent visits, looking at the state's 20 electoral votes. But Biden remains the favorite there: He has a lead of 7 points on the public survey averages and is 51 percent.
Despite an outstanding national environment for the Democrats, the party is still in a battle for the Senate.
Even after hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising, the landscape remains pretty static: Democrats are preferred to occupy two seats in Arizona and Colorado. Republicans are likely to shoot down a Democratic incumbent in Alabama.
If Biden wins the presidency, Democrats will still be two seats behind the three they need to flip the chamber. Four seats remain in the Toss Up category: Iowa, Maine, Montana and North Carolina.
Two weeks ago, North Carolina looked like it was moving to the Lean Democratic category: Cal Cunningham led GOP Senator Thom Tillis in almost every poll, and Tillis fought to get over 45 percent of the vote despite his votes achieve tenure.
But Cunningham's sex scandal has called the race into question. The affair was a staple of local news, and Republicans have increased coverage in television commercials.
Even if they lose North Carolina, Democrats still have multiple avenues to majority. Easiest, however, would be victories in Iowa and Maine, where the party's nominees have a slight lead in the polls of GOP incumbents Joni Ernst and Susan Collins. The situation is cloudier in Montana, where Democratic Governor Steve Bullock is hoping to escape Biden and oust GOP Senator Steve Daines.
Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines is working to hold off a challenge from Governor Steve Bullock.
Beyond these states, the Democrats are breaking new ground. In the new ratings, Alaska has joined the list of GOP bastions that have been classified as "Lean Republican" and differ from "Likely Republican". Both parties are now fully involved in Alaska, and Super PACs are taking part in the race between GOP Senator Dan Sullivan and Democrat-backed independent Al Gross.
Senate races in Kansas, South Carolina and Texas are also on the Democratic Objective List. Jaime Harrison's fundraiser - $ 57 million raised in the third quarter of this year alone - is the most extreme example of what is becoming the norm on the Senate map: outstanding fundraising from Democratic candidates.
Nevertheless, these three Red State races remain in the "Lean Republican" category; Although the polls are largely held in Kansas and South Carolina, Trump's perks mean Republican MP Roger Marshall and Senator Lindsey Graham, respectively, are still favored.
Republicans have an additional pickup option in Michigan - where polls have tightened but Democratic Senator Gary Peters is still leading Republican John James. Both parties are active in the state and expect a close race.
House: Probably democratic
The influence of the Democrats on the House is intensifying: currently 220 seats are already tilted in their direction - slightly more than the majority. And there's a good chance they'll win the majority they won in 2018: if they split the 32 "litter" races evenly with the GOP, the Democrats would have 236 seats, one more than at the start of this Congress.
Trump's failure to broaden his base and win back voters in the suburbs is a particular weakness for the Republicans in the House. Two of the three districts moving from Toss Up to Lean Democratic are in once republican suburban strongholds now held by Democratic newbies: Representatives Lizzie Fletcher in the Houston suburbs and Tom Malinowski in northern New Jersey .
Similarly, GOP MP Ann Wagner's St. Louis suburb is changing from Lean Republican to Toss Up, as is Rep. Steve Chabot's seat in Cincinnati.
These aren't the only places Trump pulls down House Republicans. Democratic freshman Jared Golden has a rural Maine district that Trump attended in 2016. However, polls show that Golden is way ahead of Republican Dale Crafts. His race changes from "Toss Up" to "Lean Democratic". In the meantime, the newcomer GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who holds a Trump-friendly, rural seat in southern Minnesota that was switched to Republicans in the medium term in 2018, sees his seat moved from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up" - too ethical suffering due to hawthorn.
Though most of the movement is going the other way, two longtime Democratic Congressmen are in tougher than expected races, though both still preferentially win: Oregon Reps Peter DeFazio and Wisconsin Ron Kind. Both were easily re-elected in 2018, but the Republicans recruited strong candidates for both seats - they borrow one side from Democrats, the GOP candidates are both military veterans - and the races are switching from "probably Democratic" to "slim Democratic". Trump was in Kind's seat when he won Wisconsin in 2016, and he was essentially neck to neck in DeFazio's district.
But those seats are the exception: of the 14 rating changes in this update, 12 are toward Democrats.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the combination of electoral college votes that Trump would need to win re-election.
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