Latest news

Nov. 3, 2020

Our 2020 forecasts — presidential, Senate, House — are all now officially frozen, meaning we won’t be ingesting any new polls or updating the odds in any race. Instead, follow along on our Election Day Live blog as we track results in real-time. At the end of a loooooong campaign, here’s where we stand: Joe Biden is favored to beat President Trump (though Trump still has a 1-in-10 chance); Democrats have a 3-in-4 shot at taking back the Senate; and the House will most likely remain under Democratic control (Democrats might even expand their majority by a few seats). The big picture is clear: The overall electoral environment favors Democrats, which is one reason they have decent odds of controlling the presidency, Senate and House (a 72 percent chance, according to our forecast). Of course, there’s always the chance of a polling error, which tends to be correlated from state to state when it happens. Trump needs a bigger-than-normal error in his favor, but the real possibility that polls are underestimating Trump’s support is why he still has a path to win reelection. A 10 percent chance of winning is not a zero percent chance. In fact, that is roughly the same odds that it’s raining in downtown Los Angeles. And it does rain there. (Downtown L.A. has about 36 rainy days per year, or about a 1-in-10 shot of a rainy day.)

  • According to our final presidential forecast, Pennsylvania is the most likely tipping-point state, and a lot of Biden’s chances in the Electoral College hinge on what happens in the Keystone State. He leads Trump there by about 5 points in our polling average, but it’s not as large a margin as Biden might like. Last week, we gamed out what would happen if Biden lost Pennsylvania but won other Midwestern states like Wisconsin. (TL;DR there’s no clear Plan B for Biden.) Want to run through your own hypothetical scenarios? You now can with our interactive forecast that lets you explore the ways each candidate could win. We’re hoping to use this tool ourselves on election night to better understand Biden and Trump’s paths to victory, especially if the outstanding vote takes a while to be counted.
  • Unless Trump or Biden has a really good night on Nov. 3, it’s pretty unlikely, though, that either of them will hit the 270 electoral votes needed to win by the end of the night. That doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that we won’t have a pretty good idea of who won. It’s all going to come down to how close some of the key battleground races are and whether a representative share of the vote can be reported, which won’t always be possible given the challenges of the pandemic. We’re tracking when we expect results in every state.

2020 Election Coverage

To put all these numbers in context, check out our coverage and subscribe to the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast!


We simulate the election 40,000 times to see who wins most often. The sample of 100 outcomes below gives you a good idea of the range of scenarios our model thinks is possible.

Trump win
Biden win

No Electoral College majority, House decides election
Don’t count the underdog out! Upset wins are surprising but not impossible.

Every outcome in our simulations

All possible Electoral College outcomes for each candidate, with higher bars showing outcomes that appeared more often in our 40,000 simulations

More bars to the right of the 270 line means more simulations where that candidate wins. Some of the bars represent really weird outcomes, but you never know!

The winding path to victory

States that are forecasted to vote for one candidate by a big margin are at the ends of the path, while tighter races are in the middle. Bigger segments mean more Electoral College votes. Trace the path from either end to see which state could put one candidate over the top.

Maine and Nebraska’s congressional districts are shown separately because those states split their Electoral College votes, allotting some to the statewide winner and some to the winner of each district.
We call this the 🐍 snake 🐍 chart! This makes it easy to see why some states are hotly contested and others mostly get ignored.

How the forecast has changed

The forecast updates at least once a day and whenever we get a new poll. Click the buttons to see the ways each candidate’s outlook has changed over time.

As the election gets closer — and as we get swamped with new polls 😬 — the forecast will get less uncertain.

Weird and not-so-weird possibilities

The chances that these situations will crop up

Who’s ahead in national polls?

Our model relies mainly on state polls, which it combines with demographic, economic and other data to forecast what will happen on Election Day. If you want to see a snapshot of what voters are thinking right now — with no fancy modeling — check out the national polls.

Want more stuff like this? See how the race is shaping up in individual states, or watch our Election Updates on YouTube.
Congrats, you made it to the bottom! If you’re looking for the nitty-gritty of how our forecast works, check out the methodology.