State-Level Forecasts for the 2020 US Presidential Election: Tough Victory Ahead for Biden

State-Level Forecasts for the 2020 US Presidential Election: Tough Victory Ahead for Biden

by Bruno Jérôme, Véronique Jérôme, Philippe Mongrain, and Richard Nadeau

The Electoral College makes the geographical dimension of presidential elections in the United States particularly salient for the forecasting community. The State-by-State Political Economy Model (2SPE Model) acknowledges the fact that the outcome of American presidential elections is decided by virtue of an electoral college in which the balance of power is determined by the results in locked states, battleground states, and swing states. The proposed model draws on data from the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia since the 1980 presidential election. It is based on the state of the economy, the approval rating of the incumbent president, and regional partisan patterns. The 2SPE Model produces vote share forecasts for the two major party candidates in every state which can then be used to make a projection of the Electoral College result. For the 2020 election, our forecast suggests that Donald Trump will be defeated by Joe Biden. The model gives 308 electoral votes for the Democratic candidate against 230 electoral votes for the incumbent president. Our vote share forecasts at the state level were also converted into a national vote forecast: Biden is projected to win 51.69 percent of the national two-party vote.


The editorial team at PS: Political Science & Politics is pleased to release of the 2020 Presidential Election Forecasting symposium. This year, due to the amazing work done by Ruth Dassonneville and Charles Tien, we have 12 forecasts and three critical reviews. We hope teachers, journalists, and the general public will read, reflect, and comment.  For the latest updates, follow PS on Twitter.

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