Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a seemingly prohibitive chance of winning the presidency after gaining a majority of electoral college votes, according to the latest election forecast from The Economist.
Biden is given a 91 percent chance of winning the electoral college in the forecast as of Monday, while President Donald Trump is given a 9 percent chance. The forecast also predicts that the former vice president is all but certain to win a majority of the popular vote, having a 99 percent chance of winning the lion’s share of the national vote.
With 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency, Biden is predicted to win an estimated 347 electoral votes, while 191 are estimated for Trump. The forecast is based on a predictive model that simulates 20,000 plausible election outcomes, with each simulation varying vote shares to account for possible polling errors.
Although the model puts the president at a distinct disadvantage, it does not completely write him off. A range of 116 to 312 electoral votes are predicted for Trump, while 226 to 422 votes are predicted for Biden. Scenarios where neither candidate reaches 270 votes were predicted in fewer than 1 percent of simulations.
#Latest @TheEconomist Forecast:
Chance of winning the electoral college:
Chance of winning the most votes:
Estimated electoral college votes:
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) October 12, 2020
The forecast looks far from favorable for Trump, but supporters of the president may be quick to point out that similar forecasts were made before his surprise 2016 victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Some 2016 forecasts suggested that Trump had almost no chance of winning, with the Princeton Election Consortium predicting that Clinton had a 99 percent chance of winning and The Huffington Post giving her a 98 percent chance.
FiveThirtyEight, which presented a somewhat more favorable outlook for Trump and ultimately gave him a 28.4 percent chance of winning by Election Day 2016, is currently giving the president a 13 percent chance of winning against Biden, nearly identical to the 13.1 percent chance he was given against Clinton on October 12, 2016.
However, Biden is polling better than Clinton was at the same point in the last election. Biden was leading Trump an average of 10.4 percent nationally on Monday, while Clinton was ahead by 6.3 percent at the same point. Clinton’s lead shrunk to an average of 3.9 percent by Election Day, before she ended up winning the national popular vote by 2.1 percent despite losing the electoral college.
State polling also looks more favorable for Biden when compared to Clinton. In Pennsylvania, which the forecast from The Economist deems most likely to be the election’s “tipping-point state,” Biden led by an average of 7.2 percent as of Monday, with the last poll to give Trump an advantage being released in July.
Although Trump was trailing Clinton in Pennsylvania at the same point in 2016 before winning by less than 1 percent, polling indicated a closer race and Trump was ahead in six polls from early September to early October.
Newsweek reached out to the Trump and Biden campaigns for comment.
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