US Election Nowcast – 20th October 2020

Current Nowcast

350 (+6)188 (-6)
Changes from last Nowcast
Probability Trump Victory0.07%
Probability Trump 250+ EC Votes0.87%
Probability Trump 240+ EC Votes2.43%
Probability Tie0.01%
50% Confidence Interval Trump EC Votes170 – 211
Trump Modal EC Vote (EC Vote value with highest prob)188 – 5.7% likely
Trump Median EC Vote (Centre of Probability Distribution)188 – 5.7% likely
Type of StateEC VotesStates
Safe Biden199
Safe Biden – Swing State49Virginia (13)
Arizona (11)
Minnesota (10)
New Hampshire (4)
Nebraska 2 (1)
Strong Biden83Pennsylvania (20)
Georgia (16)
Michigan (16)
North Carolina (15)
Wisconsin (10)
Nevada (6)
Soft Biden29Florida (29)
Soft Trump38Texas (38)
Strong Trump38Ohio (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

Although our central point Nowcast has fallen back to 188 EC votes, Trump’s chances of winning in our latest Nowcast have risen slightly. There is slightly more uncertainty in a number of States and this is leading to a wider spread on likely (and not so likely) outcomes.

A number of key States (for example Texas) are woefully under-polled at the moment and we expect to see lots of new data over the next few days to flesh out the position here.

Still not looking as good for Trump as at this point four years ago, but we continue to see signs that the race might yet be tightening.

StateStatusProb Biden WinCommentary
AlabamaSafe Trump0%All polling points to Trump certainty
AlaskaStrong Trump20.3%No new polling
ArizonaSafe Biden100%Clearly back in the Biden camp
FloridaSoft Biden61.1%Trump continues to improve his position here
GeorgiaStrong Biden71.2%Clear signs of Trump recovering support
IowaStrong Trump
(Soft Trump)
10.2%Trump has strengthened his position here
KansasSafe Trump0.3%No new polling
LouisianaSafe Trump0.6%No new polling
Maine 2Soft Trump35.1%No new polling
MichiganStrong Biden93.5%Continued evidence of slight improvements for Trump
MinnesotaSafe Biden99.9%No new polling
MissouriSafe Trump
(Strong Trump)
0%New polling shows clear Trump lead
MontanaSafe Trump4.3%No new polling
Nebraska 2Safe Biden98.9%No new polling
NevadaStrong Biden77.4%No new polling
North CarolinaStrong Biden86.2%No new polling
OhioStrong Trump15.2%No new polling
PennsylvaniaStrong Biden92.2%Continued small improvements for Trump
South CarolinaSafe Trump0%No new polling
TexasSoft Trump
(Strong Trump)
42.1%Texas is remarkably under-polled for such a crucial State. One new poll indicates that the race here is getting tighter and tighter.
VirginiaSafe Biden100%Continued strong polling for Biden
WisconsinStrong Biden94.6%After the recent wobbles for Biden, better results from more recent polling

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 / Soft?

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 (3.7% 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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