US Election Nowcast – 17th October 2020

Current Nowcast

344 (-6)194 (+6)
Changes from last Nowcast
Probability Trump Victory0.02%
Probability Trump 250+ EC Votes0.62%
Probability Trump 240+ EC Votes1.94%
Probability Tie0%
Trump Modal EC Vote (EC Vote value with highest prob)188 – 8.3% likely
Trump Median EC Vote (Centre of Probability Distribution)194 – 3.0% likely
Type of StateEC VotesStates
Safe Biden199
Safe Biden – Swing State59Virginia (13)
Arizona (11)
Minnesota (10)
Wisconsin (10)
New Hampshire (4)
Nebraska 2 (1)
Strong Biden73Pennsylvania (20)
Georgia (16)
Michigan (16)
North Carolina (15)
Nevada (6)
Soft Biden29Florida (29)
Soft Trump
Strong Trump76Texas (38)
Ohio (18)
Missouri (10)
Iowa (6)
Alaska (3)
Maine 2 (1)
Safe Trump – Swing State35
Alabama (9)
South Carolina (9)
Louisiana (8)
Kansas (6)
Montana (3)
Safe Trump77
Based on Criteria Below

Some small improvements for Trump over the past few days. Better polling has moved a number of key states out of the “Safe” category for Biden, but Tump still needs a large increase in support to be a serious challenge for re-election.

StateStatusProb Biden WinCommentary
AlabamaSafe Trump2.8%No new polling
AlaskaStrong Trump
(Safe Trump)
24.9%One new inconclusive poll with very low figures for both candidates
ArizonaSafe Biden
(Strong Biden)
99.9%Clearly back in the Biden camp
FloridaSoft Biden61.1%Trump continues to improve his position here
GeorgiaStrong Biden
(Strong Trump)
83.7%No new polling
IowaStrong Trump
(Soft Trump)
10.2%Trump has strengthened his position here
KansasSafe Trump0.3%No new polling
LouisianaSafe Trump0.6%No change on last week’s forecast. This is Safe Trump.
Maine 2Soft Trump
(Strong Trump)
35.1%New polling shows improved position for Biden
MichiganStrong Biden
(Safe Biden)
93.8%Continued evidence of slight improvements for Trump
MinnesotaSafe Biden99.9%No new polling
MissouriStrong Trump5.4%No new polling
NevadaStrong Biden
(Safe Biden)
77.4%Some improvement for Trump
North CarolinaStrong Biden86.2%Continued evidence in recent polling that Trump might be improving here. Biden hasn’t lost a poll here since 25 September, but isn’t safe yet.
Strong Trump
(Soft Trump)
15.2%Strengthened position for Trump
PennsylvaniaStrong Biden
(Safe Biden)
93.9%Continued small improvements for Trump
South CarolinaSafe Trump0%Still polling consistently well for Trump.
TexasStrong Trump19.5%No new polling
VirginiaSafe Biden99.9%Continued strong polling for Biden
WisconsinSafe Biden99.3%As in other key states, some small evidence of improvements for Trump but nothing that should yet worry 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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