Former United States Vice President Joe Biden has continued to outpace Donald Trump in head-to-head polling of the nationwide popular vote. But new state-level polling by The New York Times and Siena College shows that Biden now leads in enough states to give him a comfortable victory in the Electoral College as well.
The New York Times poll was released on November 4, about one year prior to the 2020 presidential election date.
In the poll’s findings, Biden now leads Trump — albeit by narrow margins — in five crucial “swing” states that were all won by Trump in the 2016 election. Those states are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and Arizona. Biden won all five in the poll of likely voters, though his margin is no more than two points in any of those states.
In 2016, Trump won the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania by a combined total of fewer than 80,000 votes, out of approximately 134 million votes cast in that election.
But the combined 46 Electoral College votes from those three states gave Trump his victory, despite losing the popular vote by almost 2.9 million.
However, according to calculations posted via Twitter by political consultant Steve Schale, Biden will defeat Trump in the Electoral College by 312 votes to 225, if the results shown by the New York Times/Siena College poll accurately predict the final results. That would constitute a larger margin of victory that Trump won over Clinton four years earlier.
In 2016, Trump won the Electoral College with 304 Electoral College votes, to 227 for Clinton, becoming the fifth person to win the presidency in the Electoral College, without winning more “popular” votes than his opponent.
But as Schale calculates, the New York Times poll results show no other Democrat currently able to defeat Trump in the Electoral College, where 270 votes are required to achieve a majority.
“Next highest Dem gets to 256,” Schale wrote. The “next highest Dem” is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who according to the Times poll, would beat Trump in Michigan — but lose in the other four key swing states.
The third-place Democrat, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, loses to Trump in all five swing states, according to the Times poll results.
According to Times polling expert Nate Cohn, the survey of voters across all five swing states showed Biden beating Trump in the popular vote there as well among registered voters, though by only one point, 46-45. Sanders polled evenly with Trump. Warren came up short, with 44 percent in the five swing states, to 46 percent for Trump.
In 2016, Trump won the popular vote in the five swing states by two points over Clinton, 48-46.
In Schales’ calculations, Nevada and its six Electoral College votes would be won by Trump. But Cohn later responded, saying that polling shows Nevada leaning toward Biden. The average of all Nevada polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, currently shows Biden leading the state by two percentage points.
Adding Nevada’s Electoral College votes to Biden’s total would give the Democrat a total of 318, to 219 for Trump.