Politics Everything you need to know about election polls in 2020
Biden's big lead: A field guide to the swing-state polls
A close look at the polls in 13 battlegrounds details Biden's advantage in the Midwest and his drive to break new ground in the Sun Belt.A wave of swing-state surveys this week confirmed Biden’s advantage in many of the Electoral College battlegrounds, including posting double-digit leads in some polls in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
- With less than two weeks until Election Day, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has about a 10 percentage point lead over President Donald Trump in an average of national polls.
- National polling in 2016 was about as accurate as any presidential election since 1968, even if Trump's upset victory shocked millions of Americans.
- Business Insider answered some of the most common polling-related questions for the 2020 election.
After a hotly contested presidential race in November 2016 that shocked the nation, people from around the globe are clamoring for a glimpse of what may happen in 2020.
How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results
More Americans are voting by mail this election than usual, due to the pandemic. But processing those ballots takes more time. Here's how it works in battleground states. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds.
It's easy to get confused by political polls and surveys due to their intricacies, averages, and varying methodologies, so Business Insider answered some of the most common polling-related questions of the 2020 election:
What do the polls say?
In the race for president, Biden is currently leading Trump by about 10 percentage points in an average of national polls from. an election forecasting company, predicts that Biden has an 86.7% chance of winning the election.
If Biden wins in November, it will likely be because of his robust leads in a handful of critical swing states, which include— a state that Trump won in 2016 by less than one percentage point and holds 20 electoral votes. Biden leads Trump by an average of in state polls, according to FiveThirtyEight, and predicts Biden has a 74% chance of winning the Keystone State given that lead.
2020 Election: See Insider's comprehensive guide to the presidential and top congressional races
In addition to the presidential election, there are hundreds of pivotal congressional races that will shape the balance of power in Washington.The race for the presidency between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is zeroing in on a number of battleground states key in both candidates' quests to win. They'll be battling for the popular vote, but the real election decider is the electoral college.
While he still leads in many swing states, Biden's edge in Florida, a key swing state, is razor sharp. Florida possesses 29 electoral votes — the second most of any state — and was won by Trump in 2016 by justor nearly 113,000 votes. In an average of Florida polls, Biden currently leads Trump by and he has a 62.7% chance of winning in the Sunshine State.
Could the polls be wrong?
Yes. There is a very good chance that the polls are "wrong" and will not have precisely predicted the final election results. The biggest question on election night will be just "how wrong" the polls were.
Incorrect polling is one of the most common critiques of the 2016 presidential election, but in truth, the polls were not off by much. Trump, for example, outperformed the national polls in 2016 by only aboutIn fact, the polls were about as accurate as they've been in any presidential election since 1968, , founder of FiveThirtyEight.
The Top 5 Reasons to Believe 2020 Won’t Be a 2016 Sequel
Many Democrats are worried that pollsters are making the same mistakes they did four years ago, but this election is different.Based on the sample size of my life, every Democrat feels this way. Yes, they’ll preface, the polls look all right for Biden. But four years ago, they looked good for Hillary Clinton too. And so, they fear, the horror film of 2016 is about to get its sequel.
While the polls were slightly off in 2016, the effects were magnified as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's lead in swing states was incredibly slim. Just a, Clinton and Trump were in a deadlock in North Carolina and Florida. As November 3 approaches, Biden currently holds close to and leads in those states and is in a better position than Clinton was.
According to polling, which states are closest?
According to, the nine closest races are in Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Of these, Biden is currently leading in all but Ohio and Texas.
With less than two weeks until Election Day, polling in swing states are as follows:
- An average of recent estimate that Trump is leading in the Lone Star State by just 0.5 percentage points. If Biden can flip Texas Democratic for the , he is all but guaranteed an electoral college victory.
- Biden is ahead in the polls by an in North Carolina, a state that Trump desperately his chances of reelection. A large proportion of the results in North Carolina will be known on the , as the state is on the east coast, whose voting centers are among the first to close. Additionally, absentee ballots in North Carolina are which allows them to be counted more quickly.
- Ohio continues to be a difficult state for Democrats to win over post-Obama, and Trump is currently leading in the state by an in the polls, though estimates his lead may be as low as 0.6 points.
- In Georgia, Biden currently leads in the polls by about 1-1.2 percentage points, according to both and . The state has not voted for a Democratic nominee since President .
- Iowa is polling similarly to Georgia and an average of polls estimates Biden in the lead by over Trump in the Hawkeye State. Trump previously beat Clinton in the state by 9.5 percentage points in 2016.
- Biden is currently leading in Arizona by an average of about 3.5 percentage points in the polls. Trump won the state in 2016 by 3.5 points — the same margin he currently trails by.
- Trump currently trails Biden by an in Florida, but the race may be even closer as estimates Biden up by just 1.5 percentage points.
- In Pennsylvania, Biden leads Trump by an average of in a state that Trump won by just in 2016. The state is for Biden.
- Lastly, Biden holds an average lead of 6.6 percentage points in the polls in Wisconsin, according to . Trump won the state in 2016 by less than one percentage point of the final vote.
To win the election, a candidate must receive at least 270 electoral votes. The tipping-point state is the state which would provide the winner with the 270th electoral vote needed to win the election and is based on the victor's.
Millions of Americans are voting for the first time this year, and it's not just young people
This year's election is seeing a surge in first-time voters. And it's not just young people.Last week, the Indiana resident voted for the first time.
FiveThirtyEight also predicts that the statesin the presidential election are Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia.
Which polls should I trust?
For the highest levels of accuracy, it's best to look to independent polls conducted by third parties that use a random sample. FiveThirtyEight has a helpful tool thatand grades each pollster on its and historical accuracy.
Politicians and campaigns traditionally love to cite internal polls, but these polls should be approached with a. If an internal poll "leaks," it could be done intentionally and purposefully.
With internal polls, campaigns are able to choose which questions are asked, the wording of the questions, and the order. Additionally, campaigns often neglect to release the polling methodology or the polls in their entirety. Without knowing these specifics, internal polls should not be given too much weight.Expanded Coverage Module: insider-voter-guide
How to watch election night 2020: the definitive hour-by-hour guide .
Election Day is nearly here, and in a matter of hours we’ll find out whether this is the end of the campaign — or just the beginning of a protracted fight over who won. At 7 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time, which applies to all times mentioned here), we’ll start to see returns from Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Georgia. Trump won all four of these states in 2016 and needs to win them again in 2020. The good news for viewers is that we should see relatively quick results in these key states, all of which are allowed to start processing (i.e., opening envelopes, validating signatures or even counting) their early votes and mail ballots before Election Day.