Final polls conducted of voters before Election Day show the 2020 presidential race is tighter than it has been in months, but President Donald Trump may be set to lose key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Tuesday.
The final Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll of Pennsylvania voters this election cycle shows former Vice President Joe Biden maintaining a 5-point lead—49 to 44 percent—over Trump in the contest for the state’s much-vaunted 20 Electoral College votes. In North Carolina, another state Trump in 2016, Biden has a 6-point lead over Trump in the final NBC News/Marist poll of the traditionally red state’s registered voters. Democrats for months have suggested Arizona may be another state to flip blue for Biden Tuesday, but the latest survey there shows Trump with a slim lead.
Biden’s lead over Trump in Pennsylvania according to the Muhlenberg poll is aligned with FiveThirtyEight’s adjusted polling average that shows the former vice president ahead by 5.1-points in the all-important battleground state. The latest RealClearPolitics polling average, however, only shows Biden clinging to a 3.6-point lead over the state Trump won over Clinton by less than one percent, or about 44,000 votes.
Pollsters at several state and national polling groups caution that these final surveys of the 2020 presidential election cycle have wider margins of error, as they look to push back on polls four years ago that showed Hillary Clinton coasting to a victory which did not happen. But Democratic strategists say the Biden campaign appears on top in multiple swing states like Pennsylvania because of his focus on voters who did not cast ballots four years ago.
The margin of error in the Muhlenberg poll is 5.5 points— so technically Biden and Trump are still in a statistical dead heat. The latest The Hill/Harris battleground state tracker poll of Pennsylvania showed Biden leading Trump there by 5 points as well, 51 to 46 percent.
“They’re being very strategic. More strategic than the Clinton campaign was in 2016,” said Donna Brazile, former acting head of the Democratic National Committee, in an interview with The Washington Post Friday. “You have to go back to those states and grab those people — they’re the easy catch.”
The final poll of Arizona voters was released Saturday by the Trafalgar Group, an organization led by Robert Cahaly, one of the few pollsters who accurately predicted Trump’s win four years ago.
The group’s final Arizona poll showing how voters are leaning depicts Trump as leading Biden with 48.9 percent of support versus Biden’s 46.4 points.
If national polling averages were the only measure of the election outcome, Biden would clearly be favored to defeat Trump in three days. The Democratic presidential candidate is leading the national polling average by nearly double digits, with a collective of polls from CNN, The Economist-YouGov, Fox News, SurveyMonkey-Tableau and Quinnipiac University showing the Democratic candidate up by nine points.
But Cahaly told The Wall Street Journal this week he believes mainstream media have once again hit American voters with a deluge of poll numbers favorable to Biden, a phenomenon he referred to as “social desirability bias.” He believes respondents frequently lie to pollsters over the phone, and that Trump is in a strong position to win states like Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, the final NBC News/Marist survey of North Carolina voters shows Biden with a 6-point support advantage over Trump in the final poll of that state’s voters.
Newsweek reached out to both the Biden and Trump campaigns for final reactions Saturday morning to polling numbers.