US Election Nowcast – 15th October 2020

Current Nowcast

350 (+10)188 (-10)
Changes from last Nowcast
Probability Trump Victory0%
Probability Trump 250+ EC Votes0.15%
Probability Trump 240+ EC Votes0.99%
Probability Tie0%
Trump Modal EC Vote (EC Vote value with highest prob)188 – 8.3% likely
Trump Median EC Vote (Centre of Probability Distribution)188
Type of StateEC VotesStates
Safe Biden199
Safe Biden – Swing State90Pennsylvania (20)
Michigan (16)
Virginia (13)
Minnesota (10)
Wisconsin (10)
Nevada (6)
New Hampshire (4)
Nebraska 2 (1)
Strong Biden71Florida (29)
Georgia (16)
North Carolina (15)
Arizona (11)
Soft Biden
Soft Trump24Iowa (6)
Ohio (18)
Strong Trump48Texas (38)
Missouri (10)
Safe Trump – Swing State39
Alabama (9)
South Carolina (9)
Louisiana (8)
Kansas (6)
Alaska (3)
Montana (3)
Maine 2 (1)
Safe Trump77
Based on Criteria Below

Trump has fallen back slightly since last week with little sign of the movement he needs to regain the White House in three weeks time.

StateStatusProb Biden WinCommentary
AlabamaSafe Trump2.8%No new polling
AlaskaSafe Trump13.3%No new polling
ArizonaStrong Biden
(Weak Trump)
71.2%Biden has recovered here with four out of the last five polls showing a lead.
FloridaSoft Biden70.9%Continues to be strong for Biden, but Trump has improved his position since last week and led in one poll.
GeorgiaStrong Biden
(Strong Trump)
83.7%Dramatic (and consistent across different firms) polling shows Biden moving strongly into favour.
IowaSoft Trump
(Safe Biden)
37.4%One of the few areas where Trump appears to be increasing support after the wobble of the last few weeks.
KansasSafe Trump0.3%No new polling
LouisianaSafe Trump0.6%No change on last week’s forecast. This is Safe Trump.
Maine 2Strong Trump21.1%No new polling
MichiganSafe Biden99.3%Signs of small increase in Trump support, but still not enough to challenge Biden.
MinnesotaSafe Biden99.9%At the moment Biden is leading by a solid 6-7% of the vote here, with enough regular polling to remove any doubt of his victory.
MissouriStrong Trump
(Safe Trump)
5.4%Right on the edge of Safe / Strong Trump.
NevadaSafe Biden
(Strong Biden)
92.4%Biden continues to show strong leads and we have moved him into the safe category as his probability of victory increases.
North CarolinaStrong Biden92.9%Just the hint in recent polling that Trump might be improving here. Biden hasn’t lost a poll here since 25 September, but isn’t safe yet.
OhioSoft Trump
(Strong Trump)
33.6%Biden starting to challenge here again with the trend definitely in his direction even if he’s currently around 1.5% behind.
PennsylvaniaSafe Biden99.6%Some signs in last few polls of improvements for Trump here, but nothing yet to worry the Democrats
South CarolinaSafe Trump0%Still polling consistently well for Trump.
TexasStrong Trump19.5%Trump’s lead is down to around 2.5%, but that looks strong.
VirginiaSafe Biden98.1%No new polling
WisconsinSafe Biden100%As safe as safe can be for Biden.

Probability of Biden Winning State

Presidential Election Forecast Philosophy

Our US Presidential Election forecast is based on polling in individual states. We run a monte-carlo simulation across the entire country and then calculate the probability of each candidate winning each state or electoral district (in the case of Maine and Nebraska). From this we allocate Electoral College votes State by State giving a final total for each candidate.

Do you allocate whole States / Districts to Candidates?

As we approach Election Day, our Nowcast now moves to a full Monte Carlo simulation of the whole country. From this Nowcast onwards our seat forecast is based on allocating the total EC votes for each State / District to the candidate who “wins” in the simulation. From this we produce a probability distribution of likely outcomes.

What do you mean by Strong / Safe / Weak?

We allocate a State a grade on the following basis

Safe – 95% or greater chance of winning or all State’s EC votes allocated to one candidate in EC allocation

Strong – 70% to 95% chance of winning

Soft – 55% to 70% chance of winning

Tie – Less that 55% chance of winning for either candidate

Sites like FiveThirtyEight have a higher probability of Trump winning. What are you doing wrong?

Nothing! 538 uses a different methodology than we do and they are also producing a forecast of polling day, whereas we issue NowCasts (what the result would be today).

Can you tell me what the probability of a certain event happening is?

Sure. We provide the most interesting probabilites above, but it’s easy to calculate things like how likely Biden is to win Texas, Ohio and Florida (4.8% as of this morning). Leave a comment below if there is a particular probability you want us to share with you.

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