By Jim Ellis
Nov. 30, 2020 — Last week, we covered the cumulative polling community’s 2020 accuracy in the Great Lakes region (scroll down below), and today we look at how their predictions fared in President Trump’s five core states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. If the President had been able to carry all five states, and he has now officially failed in Arizona and Georgia, he would have only needed to win one of the battleground state bordering a Great Lake to secure re-election.
In each place, we take the five publicly released polls conducted closest to the election and analyze whether the cumulative and individual survey research firms came close to the final result or missed beyond the polling margin of error.
Canvassing is not yet complete in Arizona, but it appears Mr. Biden scored a 49.4 to 49.1% victory, a margin of just 10,457 votes. Carrying Arizona was the first conversion step for Mr. Biden to win the national election.
The final five pollsters were the NBC News/Marist College; CNBC/Change Research; Reuters/Ipsos, Emerson College, and Rasmussen Reports. Here, NBC/Marist came the closest, predicting the two candidates landing in virtually a dead heat. All five, however, were within the polling margin of error, though Rasmussen Reports did call the winner wrong, predicting President Trump would carry the state by four percentage points.
Arizona – Biden 0.3 percent
|NBC News/Marist||10/29 – 11/1||717 LV||48||48||Tie|
|CNBC/Change Research||10/29 – 11/1||409 LV||50||47||Biden +3|
|Reuters/Ipsos||10/27 – 11/1||610 LV||49||47||Biden +2|
|Emerson||10/29 – 31||732 LV||48||46||Biden +2|
|Rasmussen Reports||10/27 – 29||800 LV||45||49||Trump +4|
Cumulative polling predictions again projected a close Democratic win during most of the late election cycle only to see, for the fourth consecutive time in a major Florida statewide race, the Republican candidate reversing the trend and clinching a close win. The latest Florida data was much closer to the mark as three of the final five pollsters correctly forecast a win for President Trump.
The Trafalgar Group proved the closest with their Trump +2 final projection. CNBC/Change Research missed by the most, a six-plus point swing from their Biden +3 prediction to a Trump +3.3 final result.
The final five Sunshine State pollsters were: Fox 35/Insider Advantage; the Trafalgar Group; CNBC/Change Research; Susquehanna Polling & Research; and Rasmussen Reports.
Florida – Trump 3.3 percent
|FOX 35/Insider Adv||11/2||400 LV||47||48||Tie||Trump +1|
|Trafalgar Group||10/31 – 11/2||1003 LV||47||49||Tie||Trump +2|
|CNBC/Change Research||10/29 – 11/1||806 LV||51||49||Tie||Biden +3|
|Susquehanna||10/29 – 11/1||400 LV||46||47||Tie||Trump +1|
|Rasmussen Reports||10/29 – 31||800 LV||48||47||Tie||Biden +1|
Just about everyone missed the final count in Georgia, though pollsters throughout the election cycle were clearly forecasting a close Peach State race that certainly ended in such a manner. With the race now certified, Biden won the state, 49.5 to 49.3 percent, a margin of just 12,670 votes.
The only pollster to correctly predict a Biden victory was Public Policy Polling, while the Trafalgar Group, despite being closest in Arizona, was furthest away in Georgia. The five pollsters were: WSB-TV/Landmark Communications; the Trafalgar Group; Insider Advantage; Emerson College; and Public Policy Polling.
Georgia – Biden 0.2 percent
|WSB-TV/Landmark||11/1||500 LV||50||46||Trump +4|
|Trafalgar Group||10/31 – 11/2||1013 LV||50||45||Trump +5|
|Insider Advantage||11/1||500 LV||48||46||Trump +2|
|Emerson||10/29 – 31||749 LV||49||48||Trump +1|
|PPP||10/27 – 28||661 LV||46||48||Biden +2|
North Carolina, being one of the quintessential swing states in the country, again produced a close race in 2020 as President Trump claimed the Tar Heel State with just a 1.3 percentage margin, 49.9 – 48.6 percent. Rasmussen Reports was again closest to the mark, as they were in Pennsylvania. Most of the polling throughout the entire election cycle, however, 57 of 85 published polls with eight ties, forecast Biden as holding a North Carolina lead.
The five final pollsters were: Insider Advantage; CNBC/Change Research; Emerson College; Reuters/Ipsos; and Rasmussen Reports. While RR was the closest, CNBC/Change Research was furthest away.
North Carolina – Trump 1.3 percent
|Insider Advantage||10/30 – 31||450 LV||48||44||Trump +4|
|CNBC/Change Research||10/29 – 11/1||473 LV||47||49||Biden +2|
|Emerson||10/29 – 30||855 LV||47||47||Tie|
|Reuters/Ipsos||10/27 – 11/1||707 LV||48||49||Biden +1|
|Rasmussen Reports||10/28 – 29||800 LV||48||47||Trump +1|
Media report after media report continued along the theme that the Lone Star State of Texas was in play for Biden but, in the end, Texas remained red and voted for President Trump in a 5.5 percentage spread, 52.0 – 46.5 percent, which was the closest major statewide race in nearly two decades.
At the end of the race, the pollsters were detecting a clear move toward President Trump largely because the oil and gas industry issues, so important to the Texas economy, became the focal point of attack throughout most of the campaign.
The University of Houston poll called the race almost exactly correct, while two academic institution pollsters, Emerson College and Quinnipiac University, were furthest away. The five pollsters were: Emerson College; University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Siena College/New York Times; Quinnipiac University; and the University of Houston.
Texas – Trump 5.5 percent
|Emerson||10/29 – 31||763 LV||49||49||Tie|
|UMass Lowell||10/20 – 26||873 LV||48||47||Trump +1|
|Siena College/NYT||10/20 – 25||802 LV||47||43||Trump +4|
|Quinnipiac||10/16 – 19||1145 LV||47||47||Tie|
|University of Houston||10/13 – 20||1000 LV||50||45||Trump +5|
For the second time in two presidential elections, the 2nd Congressional District of Maine bucked the statewide trend and supported President Trump. Biden’s larger margin in the ME-1 CD allowed him to carry the statewide count, which earned him three of Maine’s four electoral votes.
As in the US Senate election in which the polling community missed the final result by the largest margin in the country, so too did they underestimate President Trump’s strength in northern Maine.
All five final pollsters forecast a Joe Biden victory in ME-2, but the end result was a substantial win for President Trump. Each missed well beyond the polling margin of error. The five polling firms were: Change Research; Emerson College; Survey USA; Colby College; and Pan Atlantic Research.
ME-2 – Trump 7.9 percent
|Change Research||10/29 – 11/2||475 LV||47||46||Biden +1|
|Emerson College||10/29 – 31||301 LV||50||47||Biden +3|
|Survey USA||10/23 – 27||509 LV||48||45||Biden +3|
|Colby College||10/21 – 25||453 LV||46||42||Biden +4|
|Pan Atlantic Research||10/2 – 6||300 LV||47||43||Biden +4|