Trump's Very Narrow Path To Victory

October 10th, 2020 | TC

Very few pollsters were right in 2016, but the one that stands out is Trafalgar Group. As I mentioned in my previous poll analysis, they were the only polling agency to correctly predict that Trump would win Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. This time around, however, even Trafalgar is showing a significant decline in support for Donald Trump in key battlegrounds. This all makes Donald Trump's path to victory more narrow than it was at this time last year. 

The latest polls from Trafalgar show Trump ahead of Joe Biden by 4% in Ohio and Arizona. The latest Trafalgar poll for Michigan shows Trump narrowly beating Biden by 0.7%. In 2016, Trafalgar put Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton by 2%. In the end, Trump beat Clinton in Michigan by only 0.3%. With Trafalgar predicting just a 0.7% lead for Trump in Michigan against Biden, it signifies a severe erosion of support for the president in the state. 

As of now, Michigan could go either way, but for the sake of staying precise to Trafalgar's numbers, we will give it to Trump.

This is an analysis of the polls conducted by Trafalgar Group against the electoral results of the 2016 election. Keeping the map identical to 2016's results and only changing the outcome based on Trafalgar's polling data for 2020, this is the electoral map for 2020:


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The latest polls (more could come following the date this is published) from Trafalgar show Trump losing two states he won in 2016: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Without them, Trump's path to victory is narrow. 

If Trafalgar's numbers hold true, losing Michigan will end Trump's presidency. 

Trump's entire victory without Pennsylvania and Wisconsin hinges on 6 electoral college votes. Those votes could vanish if he loses one single state in the map above. The most likely state to flip, based on Trafalgar's most up-to-date numbers, is Michigan. With a razor thin margin of 0.7% over Biden, Trump's entire presidency could be decided by voters in Michigan. 

In August, Trump's prospects in Michigan were better, putting him ahead of Biden by 1%. According to Trafalgar, his lead in the state is on a downward trajectory. Any day from today, Trafalgar could release new polls that could change all of this. Even so, Biden's leads in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are probably too high for Trump to overcome in a few short weeks. 

Another state with razor thin margins, according to Trafalgar, is North Carolina. Trump only leads Biden there by 1.7%.

Another state with razor thin margins, with a bright side for Trump, is Minnesota. A typically blue state, Trafalgar has Biden only narrowly ahead of Trump by 0.4%. However, that was in August. On a bright note for Trump, the gap was significantly narrowed between July and August, according to Trafalgar's polling. In July, Biden was ahead of Trump in Minnesota by 5%.

According to mainstream polls, Trump's handling of the Coronavirus has hurt his chances in Florida, but prior to Trump contracting the virus, Trafalgar had Trump at 3.1% ahead of Biden in September. As of this date, no new Trafalgar polls from Florida have yet been released. 


Summary

If Trafalgar Group is to be believed, this election is closer than any mainstream polls are predicting. Although Trump's numbers have declined, he is still competitive in states like Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Minnesota. Much like 2016, this race will not be decided nationally. It will be decided on a state-by-state level. If any of what has been stated here is accurate, Michigan could decide America's next president. 

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