Joe Biden has drawn well ahead of Donald Trump in the latest American polls. This analysis seeks to answer two questions: is Biden’s lead real — and will it last?
Let’s start with what the polls currently say. According to the 538 website — the most sophisticated of the sites that monitor the polls — Biden’s national lead has held steady at around nine per cent for the past fortnight. He also leads by at least six points in four states that Trump won in 2016: Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. These states have a combined total of 75 electoral college votes. If Biden wins them all, and assuming no other states change hands, he would win the presidency with 317 electoral college votes, compared with Trump’s 221.
Biden is currently ahead, though more narrowly, in five further states, with a total of 66 electoral college votes (Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia and Iowa). If he wins all these, then he beats Trump by 383-155. A Biden super-optimist would add Texas, with its 36 electoral college votes, as a possible gain. Trump won by 9 per cent in 2016, but his polling lead is only 0.4 per cent today.
That’s what the polls say: but are they right? Here are some reasons for saying they are wrong.