As October ends, Biden holding a lead in four battleground states

Photo courtesy of @joebiden

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 11 points in Wisconsin, six points in both Arizona and Pennsylvania, and three points in Florida — all states that Trump carried in 2016 — in the final four New York Times/Siena College polls of likely voters before Election Day.

“Wisconsin appears out of reach for Trump and likely to return to the Democratic side of the ledger. Arizona and Pennsylvania each give Biden a solid but not solidified six-point lead. And Florida is, well, Florida. Leaning to Biden by three points, the Sunshine State is once again headed to a photo finish,” said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute.



In Arizona, Biden leads Trump 49 – 43 percent. This is relatively unchanged from Siena’s September and early October polling in Arizona.

“In his bid to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Arizona since 1996, Biden is holding a six-point lead over Trump, down slightly from eight points a month ago, heading into the final days of the campaign, even as three-quarters of Arizonians have already voted,” Levy said.

“Biden has a 54-38 percent lead with those who have already voted — which includes 85 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans — while Trump holds a 58-31 percent lead among the nearly one-quarter still planning to vote, including 30 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents,” Levy said. “Trump leads by eight points with men, and Biden leads by 18 points with women. White voters continue to back Trump by seven points, not enough to offset Biden’s 40-point lead with Latino voters, expected to comprise about one-fifth of the electorate.

“Trump carried Arizona by about three points in 2016. He has a lot of ground to make up but at the moment it looks as if Biden has a good chance to shift the Grand Canyon State’s 11 Electoral College votes into the Democratic column,” Levy said.



As expected, all eyes will be on Florida Tuesday night. There, Biden currently leads Trump 47 – 44, compared to an October 5 poll that showed Biden leading 47 – 42 percent.

“In what appears to be part of a now routine quadrennial occurrence, Florida looks like it will once again be about as tight as size 12 feet in size 10 shoes,” Levy said. “Biden has a narrow three-point edge, down from five points a month ago, owing to his continuing lead among independents, now 10 points.

“Biden has a nine-point lead with women, while Trump edges Biden with men by two points,” Levy said. “There has been little movement in two key Florida demographic groups. Voters 65 and older tilt toward Biden by two points – now and a month ago. And Latinos favor Biden by 22 points, little changed from his 24-point lead last month,” Levy said.

“Among the two-thirds of Floridians who’ve voted, they favor Biden 55-39 percent. While 82 percent of Democrats have voted already, only 63 percent of Republicans have. Among those yet to vote, Trump leads 56-30 percent,” Levy said. “In 2000, the late Tim Russert famously said about that election, ‘Florida, Florida, Florida.’ Well, we might just be saying the same thing come Tuesday night. The good news is Florida is quick in reporting both its early and election day results.”



In Pennsylvania, Trump seems to be tightening the race a little. As of October 31, Biden is leading Trump 49 – 43 percent. On October 3, Biden led Trump 49 – 42 and on September 28, Biden led Trump 49 – 40 percent.

“Despite everything in the last month, all the money and campaigning, virtually nothing has changed in the race between Trump and Biden in Pennsylvania,” Levy said. “Both candidates have the support of nine in ten voters from their party and Biden continues to lead among independents, currently by 12 points. Men tilt to Trump by three points and women favor Biden by 14 points.

“Biden continues to have overwhelming, 71-19 percent, support from non-white voters and white voters are closely divided. Whites with a college degree favor Biden by 22 points, while those without a degree favor Trump by 17 points,” Levy said. “Biden has a 51-point lead with city voters, a 14-point lead with key suburban voters, and Trump has a two-to-one, 61-32 percent lead in the rural areas of the Keystone State.

“Among the one-third of Pennsylvanians – including more than half of Democrats – who’ve already voted, they favor Biden 79-16 percent. But among the two-thirds yet to vote – including 85 percent of Republicans – Trump has a 57-34 percent lead,” Levy said. “In a state with a big reward of 20 Electoral College votes that Trump carried by less than one point in 2016, Biden seems to have the advantage.



While the other three battleground states all show Trump slightly closing Biden’s lead, in Wisconsin, Biden appears to be pulling away from Trump.

The latest Siena poll shows Biden leading Trump 52 – 41, which is a wider lead than the 51-41 percent lead on October 12 and the 48 – 43 percent lead on September 12.

“Biden continues to have the support of 97 percent of Democrats while Trump brought home a few stragglers and now has the support of 94 percent of Republicans. Independents, however, continue to move away from Trump and to Biden, providing Biden with an 11-point lead in Wisconsin heading into Election Day. Biden led among independents by 14 points in September, 18 points three weeks ago, and now leads Trump among independents two-to-one, 59-29 percent,” Levy said.

“Trump previously held a seven-point lead with men and now Biden edges him there, 47-45 percent. Biden’s lead with women fell a few points but still stands at 19 points,” Levy said. “While Biden runs close with Trump among whites without a college degree, trailing by two points, he holds a commanding 62-35 percent lead with college educated white voters and a 67-21 percent lead with non-white voters.

“Among the 58 percent of voters who’ve already cast their ballot – including three-quarters of Democrats and half that number of Republicans – Biden holds a commanding 68-26 percent lead. However, Trump holds a nearly as large 61-31 percent lead among those who have not yet voted,” Levy said. “Trump won the Badger State by less than a point four years ago but it appears that this year, Wisconsin is swinging very heavily back in the direction of the Democrats.”


Methodology and margins of error

This New York Times/Siena College survey of Arizona was conducted October 26-30, 2020 by telephone calls in English and Spanish to 1,252 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3.0 percentage points.

This New York Times/Siena College survey of Florida was conducted October 27-31, 2020 by telephone calls in English and Spanish to 1,451 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

This New York Times/Siena College survey of Pennsylvania was conducted October 26-31, 2020 by telephone calls in English to 1,862 likely voters, with a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

This New York Times/Siena College survey of Wisconsin was conducted October 26-30, 2020 by telephone calls in English to 1,253 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.