US presidential election polls 2020: will Trump win vs Joe Biden? The latest predictions according to opinion polls and bookies’ odds
On November 7, 2016, as millions of Americans went to the polls to vote for their 45th President, Hillary Clinton had reason to be confident.
The first female presidential nominee held a lead in the majority of final polls and liberals across the country prepared to breathe a sigh of relief – Donald Trump looked set to fall one step short of the White House. Except he didn’t.
The divisive property mogul with zero political experience whose campaign had been mired with allegations of sexual misconduct and controversial views on race and immigration, had exceeded expectations, clinching the battleground states of Florida, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Despite losing the popular vote, Trump narrowly won the electoral college vote.
Much of the US, and indeed the world, were left dumbstruck.
What are the polls saying?
Joe Biden, like Clinton, has consistently kept Donald Trump at an arm’s length in the polling stakes.
Crucially this gap has widened as the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, with many accusing the current White House incumbent of mishandling the crisis.
Approval of his management of the pandemic only continues to decline among all Americans.
Crucially Biden appears to be winning over white seniors – who played a crucial role in handing the keys to the White House to Trump - due to his approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first polls following a chaotic leadership debate have yet to filter through. Trump could slide further in the polls after failing to condemn white supremacist groups.
A CNN poll of polls shows Biden holds a 52% to 42% lead over Trump. Forecaster fivethirtyeight meanwhile offers Biden an 89% chance of winning the US election.
Crucially for the Democrats, Biden also holds significant leads in battleground states.
Though Clinton consistently held a lead in polls over Trump, the picture was a lot less clear on a state level, with Trump ultimately clinching the electoral college votes in swing states.
The winner of the election will be decided by an electoral college vote, rather than a popular vote.
This means that each state is worth a certain amount of electoral college votes proportionate to its population, with the winner requiring 270 votes.
The candidates with the most votes in a state get all the electoral college votes, apart for Maine and Nebraska.
Biden leads in polling in Florida (1.7%), Pennsylvania (5.4%), Michigan (7.4%) and Wisconsin (6.8%), while Trump holds slender leads in Ohio (1.8%) and Iowa (0.1%).
What are the bookies saying?
As the campaign heads into the final week WIlliam Hill has the best odds for Joe Biden at 5/9, while Spreadex has the highest odds for Trump at 15/8.
So Joe Biden is set for a comfortable victory?
Democrats would be foolhardy to put their faith in polling following the expectation defying 2016 election.
Though Biden’s lead is significantly larger than that of Hillary Clinton’s going into decision day in 2016, that doesn’t guarantee victory.
In 1988, for instance, Michael Dukakis held a 17 point victory in the aftermath of the DNC but went on to lose the election to George H W Bush.
The electoral college system traditionally favours the Republicans meaning that Biden will need to maintain a strong lead through to November to ensure that he claims victory.
The uncertainty from bookies shows that strong polling on its own isn’t enough for Biden to claim victory, especially when Donald Trump’s involved.
Three months is a long time in a Trump presidency and the bulk of the mud slinging in the election is still to come. With the issue of race at the forefront of the regular American’s mind, Trump will look to whip up fear and resentment among white voters.
That being said Trump does face an uphill struggle. Few can argue that the 45th US president has handled the coronavirus pandemic smoothly, while many swing voters will be fatigued by the president’s weekly gaffes and controversies.
Electoral college votes by state
District Of Columbia 3
New Hampshire 4
New Jersey 14
New Mexico 5
New York 29
North Carolina 15
North Dakota 3
Rhode Island 4
South Carolina 9
South Dakota 3
West Virginia 5