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28 August 2020updated 31 Aug 2021 2:08pm

US presidential election 2020: is Donald Trump or Joe Biden leading in our poll tracker?


By Ben Walker


With Americans set to cast their ballots today, Joe Biden has a clear lead over Donald Trump in our US election poll tracker.

This page displays our weighted polling averages and compares them to the state of the polls in previous election campaigns.

We calculate these figures from a day-to-day average of weighted and readjusted polls, accounting for sample size, survey date, collection method and historic pollster performance or “house effects”.

Our polling averages form the basis for our presidential election forecasting model, which will shows Biden is the favourite to win.

In the past 20 years, no candidate has come into an election campaign with as big a lead against an incumbent as Joe Biden does against Donald Trump.

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Though that lead has shrunk somewhat, the scale of Biden’s margin against Donald Trump going into the campaign beats that of George W Bush over Al Gore in 2000, and Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008.

Winning the popular vote, however, does not mean you will win the election, as Hillary Clinton found out in 2016.

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Our polling averages are calculated using a combination of polling on voting intention, key issues and candidate competence on these issues, as well as a host of economic data.

The process involves several steps in which we seek to adjust the raw polling figures to account for undecided voters, the over-representation of third parties and historic pollster error.

These adjustments are combined with our economic and issues indices and a final average figure is then calculated, which gives greater weight to more recent polls.

For a fuller explanation of our methodology for both the poll tracker and the forecasting model, see here.

With thanks to Josh Rayman and Georges Corbineau for designing and developing the graphics.