Eleven Three Twenty: Where the Electoral College Stands 7 Days Out
October 27, 2020
As I’ve mentioned over and over in these columns, we’re not really one week away from election day — we’re now three weeks through election month. For as Michael McDonald of the United States Election Project reported this afternoon, over 68 million Americans already have cast their 2020 ballots. (That’s almost 50% of the total votes cast in 2016!) McDonald originally estimated that almost 85 million votes would be cast by next Tuesday. But I now think it’s possible that almost 100 million votes could be cast BEFORE election day.
With that staggering number in mind, here is where the Electoral College stands as of this afternoon, according to The Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight.com — two of the two most highly respected, non-partisan electoral college/election tracking sites.
The Cook Political Report Map
Although nonpartisan, the Cook Electoral Map is the exact same as that of left-leaning CNN. Currently, former Vice President Joe Biden has an estimated total of 290 votes — 20 more than is required to win the Presidency. With five states and one congressional district considered toss ups (both Maine and Nebraska split their Electoral College votes based on congressional districts) he could add up to 85 more votes to this total.
The numbers on FiveThirtyEight.com’s electoral map are even more favorable for the Biden campaign. Because they use a model that runs 40,000 simulations of each state’s race based on a combination of polling and other factors, they don’t list many states as toss ups (or battleground). Instead, they use the term “slightly favored” to indicate which candidate is favored to win in a close state.
Consequently, their estimates on the current state of the Electoral College has former Vice President Biden at 334 electoral votes, President Trump with 181, and 23 up for grabs. (Please note that the picture says CNN only because their interactive map is so easy to use — these numbers are from FiveThirtyEight, not CNN.) Georgia, Iowa, and Maine’s 2nd Congressional are virtual ties. And President Trump maintains about the same slight advantage in Ohio that former Vice President Biden has in Florida (about 2 points).
As I have said in each of these weekly updates, the current state of the Electoral College is not predictive of how the election will turn out. It does, however, clearly indicate that the President doesn’t have any margin for error between now and next Tuesday evening when official results start pouring in. Conversely, former Vice President Biden has time on his side and multiple paths to the Presidency. Therefore, the President has to make significant inroads in a number of states sooner rather than later. Otherwise, he is destined to be a one-term President.
For those of you wondering why I’m qualified to write about this topic, I have a Ph.D. in Human Communication Studies from the University of Denver — with an emphasis on leadership, power, and persuasion. My dissertation research focused on political communication, specifically Ross Perot’s 1992 Presidential campaign (“A Mythic Analysis of Ross Perot’s 1992 Campaign Infomercials as a Modern American Jeremiad”). And I have worked on — or consulted for — a number of political campaigns, ranging from the mayoral to the Presidential level.