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Barack Obama went into 2008 election day with a +7.6 point lead over John McCain. The junior Illinois senator would go on to beat the senior Arizona senator in an electoral landslide of 365 to 173.
In 2020, we could be on the cusp of an equally large—or even larger—Democratic victory.
As of Friday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has a +9.7 point lead over President Donald Trump, according to RealClearPolitics poll average. That’s up from his 6.6 point lead prior to the September 29 presidential debate in Cleveland and Trump’s hospitalization last week.
If Trump doesn’t begin to close the polling gap with Biden, then the president would need an even bigger polling upset to pull out a 2020 victory. Four years ago Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton went into election night polling ahead of Trump in Pennsylvania (+1.9 percentage points), Michigan (+3.4 points), and Wisconsin (+6.5 points). Trump won all three and took White House. Clinton won the popular vote by +2.1 points after leading by +3.2 points in the RealClearPolitics poll average.
This go around, Trump will likely need to win at least six battleground states where Biden is currently leading: Arizona (+2.7 points), Florida (+3.7 points), Iowa (+1.4 points), North Carolina (+1.4 points), Ohio (+0.6 points), and Wisconsin (+5.5 points). If he wins those, Trump can likely afford to lose swing states like Michigan (+6.7 points) and Pennsylvania (+7.1 points), where Biden is currently leading. If Trump wins either of the latter states, he can afford to lose Wisconsin.
While Biden leads RealClearPolitics poll average in Iowa, FiveThirtyElection forecast still gives Trump a slight advantage in the state. FiveThirtyElection gives Biden the edge in the seven other 2016 Trump states where the Democratic nominee is ahead in RealClearPolitics poll averages.
As of Friday, FiveThirtyEight forecast the odds of Biden winning at 85%, while The Economist forecast the Democratic nominee having a 92% chance of winning the electoral college.
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