Election 2020 What States are In Play?


I was mocked on Twitter today for saying "Georgia was in play". Is it?

What States are In Play?

The above map from Nate Silver's Winding Path to Victory.

Here are Nate Silver's Odds on 9 states.

2020 election States in Play 2020-09-28

In Play Discussion

Georgia, Iowa, and even Texas are more "In Play" for Biden than Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are for Trump.

In fact, if we define "In Play" as a 25% or better chance, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are not even "In Play" for Trump.

You can dispute the percentages and make reasonable claims like "Biden is unlikely to win Georgia" and I would agree. But it is far less likely that Trump wins Wisconsin than Biden wins Iowa or Georgia.

Odds of Winning

Silver has Trump's odds of winning at 22%. I think that is about right based on the polls. 

Moreover, Trump can take none of those states for granted. He will have to spend money defending Iowa and Georgia, even Texas when his campaign is trailing badly in financing.

Spotlight Florida

Florida Polls 2020-09-28

The big news for Trump supporters was the A+ rated ABC News Washington Post Poll that gave Trump a 4 point lead in Florida.

Four more recent polls took away that gain, albeit by mediocre pollsters.

And although Trump gained (yet still trails in Florida), he lost his lead outright in Ohio. That's even worse for him.

Spotlight Ohio

Ohio Polls 2020-09-28

There is no realistic way for Trump to win without Ohio, Florida, and Texas. 

Yet, the three most recent polls have Ohio tilting to Biden by 1 to 5 percentage points. 

Fox News is a highly regarded pollster as is Quinnipiac University. 

Biased Pollsters?

It is ironic that Fox News, a clear Trump supporter, has Trump getting kicked in Ohio with the Washington Post giving Trump a lead in Florida.

I have commented on this before. Except for sponsored polls, the pollsters want to be right. 

Trump fans attacking the Washington Post over bias now suddenly believe a Washington Post poll. 

Two Wildcards

  1. The Debates
  2. Trump Taxes

Biden could easily get rattled or confused in the debates. And Trump will try very hard to rattle Biden.

The debates are the best, if not only shot Trump has outside of mail-in vote shenanigans if the race is undecided election evening. 

Tax  Bombshell

The New York Times dropped an enormous bombshell today regarding Trump taxes.  

For discussion, please see my take, Trump Says Taxes are "Fake News": He Has an Easy Way to Prove It.

Much of the very lengthy report regards tax avoidance, a legal tactic. But several details were criminal in nature, if accurate. 

Three Points

  1. Avoidance is not a concern, legally.
  2. However, the public may see paying no taxes differently, even if legal.
  3. The big news is illegal writeoffs and illegal payments to family, not avoidance. Trump could easily wind up in jail.

Undecided votes might easily make a decision based on taxes.

The NYT had so many details that the odds of a Biden landslide win just rose. Even a Biden win in Georgia or Texas would not be much of a surprise following that report.

Related Posts

  1. Senate Surprises: What to Look Out For in the Election
  2. An Easy Way to Solve the Mail-In Vote Dilemma

Got Popcorn?

Trump desperately needs momentum.

The debate Tuesday evening may rate not five stars, but rather 5 bowls of popcorn and mud.


Comments (42)
No. 1-10

Texas won't flip blue...I don't think Georgia or Florida will either, but that's a WAG, not a poll.

Frankly, Nate Silver needs to show me he's figured out how to get it right, before I begin to trust his odds-making again.

Not sure about the others. but Texas is all about the gerrymandering. It works, and it's been upheld in the courts....so I see it working for some time to come.

It's possible that Trump might be so hated now that people who don't ordinarily vote will actually show up....if that happens I say Biden gets it in a landslide. In such a scenario, all the states you mentioned could flip.

I'm out at the lake, putting things to bed after a long weekend. Lots of giant Trump banners and such out here on Lake LBJ, turned toward the lake so you have to look at them.

More irony there, but Trump voters wouldn't get that..


When conservative media and Trump's campaign brags about being ahead of Biden in Texas you know they got problems


The more votes that go to 3rd party candidates in traditionally red states, the more likely Biden is to flip those states. This happen to Gore in 2000 and Clinton in 2016. Those lost 3rd party votes are the difference sometimes between being President or going in the woods for a walk whenever you want.


Personally, I would think that the pandemic will still play a factor in the upcoming election. In spite of all of Trump’s efforts to downplay the virus, and pretend it is almost over, the numbers are going to keep getting worse in the US leading up to the election.

The world hit a million deaths today, and the US is well over 200k deaths. Over 20% of the world’s deaths with only 4% of the world’s population.


Nothing is bringing us back we are already there: Our society is collapsing Oh you are just a pessimist !!No I see it happening around me The Unsettling Normalcy of Societal Collapse

Indi Samarajiva lived through the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka that killed an estimated 80,000-100,000 people over 30 years. He cautions that societal collapse can feel quite normal for many people — but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There.
I lived through the end of a civil war. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens.
This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner.
If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down. https://gen.medium.com/i-lived-through-collapse-america-is-already-there-ba1e4b54c5fc


I'm putting my bet on Styxhexenhammer 666 being the closest of the Presidential election predictions. He beat Nate Silver's predictions hands down as well as all the others. Might actually watch the elections on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, just to see all the flashing red and blue lights that triggers epileptic seizures and such. Ron Paul or Godzilla for President!


Popcorn? The debates are going to be SAD to watch, if you understand that these two insane, power-lusting clowns are the best this culture could come up with. Instead I look forward to Jorgensen's interview.


The Times article on his taxes was very damaging. Not becaus Trump voters will sudenly read it and drop him, but becaue it takes him off message yet again at a time he needs to build momentum and go after Biden so now he's wasting a week's news cycle attacking the NY Times as fake news. With 36 days till the election that's time Trump does not have.


Interesting post Mish, which as usual I mostly agree with.

But, Biden was not my first choice, remember that this campaign season started more than a year ago now and we all thought JEEZ how are we going to get through more than a year of election year politics with more than 22 democrats having run at one point or another. My main fear back then was there were so many dems running that it would carve up support for the left and make beating the right impossible. Sort of like how Sanders in truth cost Clinton just enough votes to make sure she lost in the electoral college.

But here is what I think a month from the election; Trump has not had ANY competition at all and yet at best he retains only the loyalty of his base of about 40-50 million die hard Trump supporters. All the rest of his voters in 2016 were swing voters and a lot of those he has lost now.

It is often said here and in general that more than 94% of voters at this point have their minds firmly made up, so all ads and debates and such are just aimed at those who have NOT made their minds up. My view is minds CAN be changed, my original favorite out of the whole enormous field of candidates was Beto. But I changed my mind instantly when after a police shooting crisis he attended a progressive meeting about BLM and had stated he was now in favor of reparations for African Americans, something I strenuously oppose for a lot of reasons. It was crossing a red line I will just not cross with him. Ditto my second choice Eric Swalwell, of my home state California. Young, smart, handsome, the future I thought, liberal, educated, a good choice till he swallowed the far left progressive reparations trash hook line and sinker as well. So I did really like Pete Buttigieg, but I did not support his candidacy for president because to think the US electorate is mature enough to overlook his being a gay man is simply asking/pretending too much.

I just did not support another candidate other than to remain opposed to anyone so far left they call themselves progressives. I figured a real front runner would eventually emerge and he did even if I do not really want it to be Biden. I am sorry I just feel he is too old. Otherwise, I have no problem with him. But given Trump's age that factor is actually neutralized, but it still made me pay close attention to his choice for VP. And I do not like Harris at all. Still, again given who they are running against I have zero choice in the matter, I would vote for a ham sandwich before I would vote for Trump.

There are things that can change people's minds, I doubt the debates will change any minds unless one or the other candidate just utterly blows it on stage. And that is possible, the base for each will not care about a poor performance in any particular debate, but the few undecided left can decide based upon what they see.

Trump's real problem is that Biden's lead is as good as outside the margin of the total number of undecided voters remaining. If you take the 5% or so undecided and add on the 3.5% or so margin of error of polls, and every single one goes to Trump it still gives him a loss to Biden. Not to say that could not result in a second term because it could be like HRC's win in the popular vote but loss in electoral.

Personally I think it is going to be a straightforward landslide.

But just to show why I am so confident just look at South Carolina. Had you said 12, or 6, or even 2 months ago that SC would vote to oust Lindsey Graham for a young black male political novice I would have bet you the pink slip to my BMW as well as my equity in my home that you would be in care at a mental health facility before the election, why you might as well claim a democrat would oust Moscow Mitch in KY, or that the democrat Jones would win reelection in Alabama.

Yet, Harrison is maintaining his lead in the polls in SC, that minor blip in the polls was not a one off. And in fact he has a huge lead in campaign contributions. That says a lot.

Here is a polling company's analysis of their poll there that is fresh and breaks down why they think SC will go dem for Harrison. https://jaimeharrison.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Harrison-Sept-polling-memo-d2-1.pdf

So on election night que sara sara for presidential politics, my take is the only chance Trump has is to rig it, to cheat. Or, to contest it, cheating either pre/post or both sides of the vote.

When it comes to popcorn, mine will be saved for the senate races because in a way the control of the senate is more important than who is in the Oval Office. Even though I really have faith Americans will do the right thing by Trump and put him in the worst federal prison they can find. With the caveat that Sing Sing state prison will do also.

Control of the senate by democrats along with the house means Trump can win in 2020 and still go to prison in 2020. Because without his bootlicking senate majority under the whip and heel of Moscow Mitch Trump is just as toast as if Biden gets a 20 million vote landslide.


Just saw this "consensus" electoral college map at 270 to win and they say it is a map of 9 organizations* (so far) and not based upon current polling data.

According to their map Biden right now has 273 EC electors and that is without FL, GA, AZ, OH, or NC which are all too close to call. So Trump could get all those and still lose. But we know he will not get all those.

*Full-time Analysts
Sabato's Crystal Ball
The Cook Political Report
Inside Elections
Statistical Models
The Economist
Prediction Markets
Media Analysis

They also have another map that is based on current polling: https://www.270towin.com/maps/biden-trump-polling-map

This one has Biden even further ahead at 275 EC votes and shows NC, FL, OH, AZ, GA, as well as NH, AR, IA, and TX as also in play too close to call.

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