What the latest US polls are showing

If trends are significant the latest averages of quality US Presidential and Senate race polls are shifting – and not in the direction The Australian’s Greg Sheridan has forecast.

Looking at the latest FiveThirtyEight (538) average of polls over the last month or so there had been a very gradual move away from Biden towards Trump with the average Biden lead dropping from more than 7% down to as low as 6.5 and then steady for a while at 6.6%. This now seems to be in reverse with the Biden lead now inching up each day to 6.8%.

A move of 0.3% is insignificant in any election – even as an average of dozens of polls with a total sample size of tens of thousands – let alone one in which voting is voluntary and voter suppression rife. However, the 538 average of State polls tells another story resulting in a 538 estimate that Biden would win 332 Electoral College votes and Trump 206.

In states where Trump is leading there are some very surprising results. He’s only 0.8% ahead in Texas confirming the beliefs that Texas, for demographic reasons and the evidence of recent State votes, is becoming more Democrat friendly. In Georgia Trump is up by 1%; Ohio 1.25%; and, Iowa 1.8%.

In other States Biden is up by 4.5% in Arizona; 2.7% in Florida; Michigan 7.6%; North Carolina 1.2%, Pennsylvania 4.8% and Wisconsin 6.4%.

The latest 538 probability estimate is a 77% likelihood that Biden will win and a 23% likelihood that Trump will. But what about Clinton Trump you might ask? It was similar with 538 estimating in 2016 a 71.3% probability of a Clinton in and 28.6% for Trump.

The 5+% difference may be insignificant given that voter suppression and problems with postal voting are going to be much worse even if Biden doesn’t carry as much baggage as Clinton did.

On the other hand Biden is outraising Trump at present by around $100 million on the last fund-raising reports. Money has also been gushing in since RBG died. Trump, of course, says he will spend his own money if necessary but we are not exactly sure how much he is has; and, what his net worth, as opposed to his boasts, actually is.

And he has always been reluctant to spend his own money when he can get it from others and then stiff them.

As Mike Bloomberg said, during the Democrat debates (his only winning moment) when Elizabeth Warren claimed “Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” “Who’s the other one?”

There are also few major banks which would risk lending him big lumps of money because most of them have been burnt already let alone wanting to risk the public backlash when it became known they had.

The Economist Presidential probability methodology is different to that of 535 but currently it is giving Biden an 86% chance of winning the Electoral College and a 97% chance of winning the popular vote. Its current estimate of Electoral College votes is 334 to Biden and 204 to Trump – pretty much line ball with 538.

Greg Sheridan puts a lot of faith in betting odds – as do many of us even if not as much faith as in Bayesian probability calculations – and points to the odds having been even back when Sheridan wrote after the conventions. According to the latest Biden is in odds on territory while you can get better than evens on Trump.

With some shrewd betting on any slight variations on these you could end up slightly in front whoever wins – or at least ensure you lost nothing other than your hopes.

But, just remember, it ain’t over until the fat candidate cries and calls fraud.