Chances are Biden will still be ahead come November and that he’ll win a comfortable, not blowout win.
Still, it’s worth emphasizing that with more than four months to go there’s an incredibly wide range of results that are within the margin of error.
Biden could win the largest landslide for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 – or he could lose to President Donald Trump.
For Biden to score a huge win, very little needs to change. Biden is ahead by 10 points in an average of live interview polls nationally. The largest Democratic win in the last 56 years was Bill Clinton’s 9-point win in 1996.
More impressively, Biden isn’t that far from taking more than 400 electoral votes. Let’s assume Biden wins all the electoral votes Hillary Clinton did four years ago (232), as polls indicate. One or more recent polls put him up as well in Arizona (11 electoral votes), Florida (29 electoral votes), Georgia (16 electoral votes), Michigan (16 electoral votes), North Carolina (15 electoral votes), Ohio (18 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and Wisconsin (10 electoral votes).
If Biden wins all of these states, he gets to just south of 370 electoral votes.
Add on Iowa (6 electoral votes) and Texas (38 electoral votes), where Biden was down just a point in two high quality polls released in June, and he gets more than 400 electoral votes. That would beat Clinton’s 379 electoral votes in 1996 as the largest since Johnson’s 486 electoral vote win in 1964.
Indeed, forecast models based on a slew of indicators (such as one put together by University of Alabama student Jack Kersting) have Biden earning more than 400 electoral votes within its 95% confidence interval.
Yet, models such as these also have Biden getting only about 200 electoral votes as a plausible scenario too.
Remember, it was only a few months ago when Biden’s lead in the live telephone national polls was 6 points. That would put Trump within the range where he could win an electoral college victory with a small polling error, even if he lost the national vote. In fact, in many of the 2016 Trump states where Biden currently leads, there were polls that favored Trump just a few months ago.
In our fast moving news cycles, one could imagine a new unforeseen crisis arising. Likewise, a topic currently dominating the news (e.g. the protests) may fall to the background. Either of these could cause the presidential race to tighten up.
Moreover, history tells us that it’s also quite conceivable that Biden loses. Harry Truman in 1948 was facing a similar deficit in the national polls that Trump is facing now. He’d win by nearly 5 points nationally and carry the electoral college in a tight contest. More recently, Clinton was in a distant third place at this point in 1992 to Republican George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot. Clinton took the popular vote by 6 points and scored 370 electoral votes.
If we have any movement in the national polls like those two cycles, Trump would almost certainly win.
Now, the best bet is we won’t end up at either extreme discussed here. Biden, given his large lead nationally and Trump’s struggling approval ratings, is the clear favorite. The most likely scenario is he’ll end up somewhere in the low to mid-300s in terms of electoral votes.
Still, there are a lot of states with a lot of electoral votes where the polling has dramatically shifted the last few months. Biden may win all of them or none of them. There are a lot of potential scenarios on the table.