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Biden Seen As Big Winner in Election 2020 Forecast

October 27, 2020 by Dan McCue
President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Joe Biden has about an 86% chance of winning next week’s presidential election and could come away with 344-350 electoral college votes, according to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a publication of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

The forecast was developed by Alan Abramowitz, a senior columnist at the publication who is the Alben W. Barkley professor of Political Science at Emory University.

It is the final prediction Abramowitz will issue prior to the election.

In making it, he explains that models for forecasting presidential elections fall into two broad categories.

“Many political science models, including my own ‘time for change’ model, use election fundamentals such as the state of the economy and the incumbent president’s approval rating to predict either the popular or the electoral vote,” Abramowitz wrote.

The second type of forecast political junkies and campaigns rely on — think Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website — uses polling data, past election results and other data to predict the outcome in each state and then combines the result to predict the national electoral vote.

Abramowitz’s assessment is based on both of these methods.

In August, the professor used the first model, based on President Trump’s net approval rating in late June (-15) to predict that Biden would receive 319 electoral votes to 219 for Trump and that gave Biden a 71% chance of winning the electoral vote.

The new assessment is based on a net approval rating for Trump of -12 in the most recent Gallup poll.

Based on this information, Abramowitz now predicts Biden will receive 344 electoral votes to 194 for Trump. This now gives Biden an 86% chance of winning the electoral vote.

Abramowitz then went on to use the second forecasting model, relying on the most recent state polling average compiled by 270towin.com.

The professor assigned a ranking that classified states as safe for Biden or Trump if the margin is 10 points or more, favoring Biden or Trump if the margin is between 5 and 10 points and leaning toward Biden or Trump if the margin is under 5 points.

Based on these metrics, Abramowitz said Biden will likely win 350 electoral votes to 188 for Trump.

“It is striking that this prediction is almost identical to the one based on the conditional forecasting model originally presented in early August,” he wrote. “It is worth noting that the prediction from the conditional forecasting model is also almost identical to the most recent forecast available from Nate Silver’s far more complex FiveThirtyEight model.”

As of Monday, the FiveThirtyEight forecast had Joe Biden receiving 342 electoral votes to 196 for Donald Trump and gives Biden an 86% chance of winning the electoral vote.

A “consensus” election map published by 270towin on Friday had Biden at 290 electoral college votes, with five states still classified as toss-ups: North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ohio and Iowa.

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