5 Days Out: Biden Gains in National Polling Averages, But Battleground State Average Narrows


Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With 5 days to go until Election Day, former Vice President Joe Biden has widened his national lead against President Donald Trump for the first time since these updates began, while state surveys remain tight — although a raft of Florida polls cement the state of play there. Here’s what’s happening in the polls today:

The National Picture

It’s important to understand that the FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics polling averages, the leading aggregates of polls, are very different from each other. You can read about those differences here.

As of this writing, the RCP average has Biden up 7.7 points over Trump, more than half a point greater than yesterday’s update, while the FiveThirtyEight average also shows Biden gaining half a point since yesterday’s update at 52 percent to Trump’s 43 percent — the first time the averages have gone Biden’s way since we began tracking them last week.

The movement in Biden’s direction shouldn’t be overstated, but the narrowing trend of the past week was already happening at far too slow a pace for Trump to catch up by Election Day, so any reversal of that trend is a setback — especially with no sign of a 2020 equivalent to the Comey letter in sight.

Battleground States

Biden retains his lead in most of the “Top Battleground” states that RCP tracks: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Arizona, and has retaken a slim 1.3-point lead in hotly-contested Florida.

State polls are a bit of a mixed bag today, with little change to the respective averages, but the Sunshine State is where the action is.

A quartet of new surveys — from Marist, Quinnipiac, Monmouth, and Citizen Data — all show Biden with leads well in excess of the average, although still tenuous at between three and six points. It’s not enough for the Biden campaign to dance a jig, but it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as Biden is campaigning in Broward County today to shore up some support.

Or as 538 polling honcho Nate Silver put it, “Florida’s been gyrating between ‘toss-up’ and ‘lean Biden’ and this last round of polling is putting it more in the latter category.”

Overall, the new battleground numbers did narrow slightly in Trump’s favor on Thursday. The RealClearPolitics average of six battleground states showed a .3 percent gain, pulling him to within 3.5 percent of Biden in that aggregate tally.

Also notable among the state polls, while the average in North Carolina is unchanged since yesterday, the final NY Times/Siena poll of the state shows Biden with a 3-point lead over Trump.

The Senate Picture

RCP’s forecast now shows Democrats with a shot at 54 seats, while FiveThirtyEight has them with a chance at landing on a 56-44 majority — one more seat since our last update. Democrats’ chances of winning control of the Senate have ticked up a few more points to 77 percent.

Check back with us daily for updates on the state of play going into this hotly-contested election, and remember to stay hydrated.

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