Late numbers are finally trickling in today in NV, which has the smallest number of electoral votes of any state still on the board but remains important in a few scenarios. I’ll give you Jon Ralston’s take on the latest round of ballots and then we’ll do some electoral math. Looks like Trump and his base of working-class whites — and Latinos, to a lesser extent — made a real ballgame of it in Nevada. But they’ll fall just short.
Biden is up by 11.4K right now in NV.
Dems are going to win these mail ballots coming in from Election Day and yesterday — 63K. And they should win them decisively. That leaves 60K provisionals, which have been evenly split.
I see no path left for Trump here.
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2020
Ryan Matsumoto, an analyst at Inside Elections, also now rates Nevada as highly likely to go to Biden. Why does a state with six EVs matter? Because, of the five states left to be called — Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — Biden might actually need those six votes to get over the hump. Right now he has 253 in the bank thanks to his flips of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nebraska’s Second District. He needs 17 more. If he takes Nevada, he needs 11.
Arizona has 11 electoral votes. North Carolina has 15. Georgia has 16. Pennsylvania has 20. In other words, Nevada plus any single state makes Biden the winner. *Without* Nevada, neither AZ, NC, or GA alone could get him over the hump. His best showing among them would be a 269-269 tie if he won Georgia and nothing else.
Nevada officially puts him one state away, anywhere on the map.
But you’ve probably noticed from the math that there’s one scenario in which Biden wins even without Nevada. That’s if he takes Pennsylvania — and right now, Pennsylvania is looking fairly solidly blue. Biden still trails in the official count but there are hundreds of thousands of mail ballots left out there from heavily blue counties that should break overwhelmingly for him. In fact, from tracking the chatter among election nerds this morning, it sounds like Biden has a better chance to take PA than he does Arizona, Georgia, or North Carolina. And if he takes PA, that’s the end. No matter what else happens anywhere. Nate Cohn:
So far, Mr. Biden has been winning absentee votes, 77 percent to 22 percent, according to the Pennsylvania secretary of state. At that pace, he needs only 288,000 more mail votes before taking the lead. By my count, there are about 500,000 mail ballots left. The secretary of state reported a total of 2.6 million absentee ballots cast as of Tuesday, and so far 2.1 million absentee votes have been counted. If Mr. Biden won those 500,000 ballots by the same 77-22 pace, he would end with a lead of about 100,000 votes in the state. That’s a pretty decent cushion.
That estimate may also be conservative. For one, the remaining mail ballots are disproportionately in Democratic counties, so he’ll probably do better than 77-22. Another factor: There are more remaining absentee votes than estimated here; the state tally as of Tuesday does not include mail ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrived afterward (and I’m not entirely sure whether it includes mail ballots placed in Election Day drop boxes, but I’m assuming so out of caution)…
And finally, there are still Election Day ballots left in Philadelphia, as well as provisional ballots — votes cast by people who couldn’t initially be verified as eligible voters when they showed up to cast a ballot, like someone who went to the wrong precinct — that will cushion Mr. Biden.
Biden is actually outperforming Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania’s blue counties this year, another reason why the remaining ballots should be heavily blue:
The 2016 -> 2020 county shift map for Pennsylvania counties with >95% of expected votes reporting shows a lot of blue arrows.
The trends are clear.
— Ryan Matsumoto (@ryanmatsumoto1) November 5, 2020
For all the excitement right now over the *extremely* tight margins in Arizona and Georgia — both of which could be decided by a few thousand votes — Pennsylvania shouldn’t be extremely tight in the end. Biden might win it by a point or two, which would be larger than Trump’s margin there in 2016. And if you’re thinking that would be an abnormally large win for a Rust Belt battleground in 2020, go look at the latest count in Michigan. Biden’s lead is up to 2.7 points as I write this. He barely held on in Wisconsin but Michigan wasn’t much of a cliffhanger once the mail votes were counted.
None of the other states matter if Pennsylvania goes blue. But for what it’s worth, analysts also think Biden might end up just nosing ahead in Georgia as the last ballots are counted:
Trump leads by 13,540 votes
50,401 uncounted ballots in Georgia
Biden must win the remaining ballots about 63% – 37% to close the gap.
I'm beginning to like Biden's chances here.https://t.co/38K3cRq5NR
— Ryan Matsumoto (@ryanmatsumoto1) November 5, 2020
OK this would be a big deal. If the unspecified votes are in Clayton Co., that’s very good for Biden.https://t.co/B9wwI3OjcX
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 5, 2020
That 63/37 margin isn’t that daunting when you grasp that most of the remaining ballots come from urban counties like Fulton. And many of them are mail votes, which trend heavily blue anyway this year because Trump’s bleating about fraud scared Republicans away from voting by mail. “Even in a place like Bryan County, where Trump won by 43 points in 2016, Biden is actually winning by 15 in mail votes that were processed today,” Silver noted on his blog. “Those mail votes are just coming in very blue, sometimes even in red counties.”
Again, Georgia is academic if Pennsylvania flips to Biden, as are Arizona, North Carolina, and Nevada. But obviously Dems would love to have it for bragging rights, as a talking point that the formerly reliably red south isn’t so reliably red in an era where suburbanites are shifting blue and black voters are organizing. It’s weird to think we might be entering an era where Georgia is a major battleground while Florida is safely red, but here we are. Biden’s a few thousand votes away from making it happen.
If he holds on in Nevada, he’s at 259. If he wins Pennsylvania, he’s at 279, over the threshold he needs. If he gets Georgia, 295. If he holds onto Arizona, 306 — the very same number Trump won four years ago. Few people seem to think he’s going to come back and take North Carolina, as there are fewer ballots there remaining to be counted, but if he got that he’d reach 321.
Rumor has it that Team Trump is slowly reconciling itself to the reality:
More from @Santucci "sources close to Trump told ABC News Thursday morning that the path ahead is “narrow” and it is increasingly looking “tough” for the president."
— Kellie Meyer (@KellieMeyerNews) November 5, 2020
The first few minutes of this CNN segment confirm that Trump seems to know the outlook isn’t good. How far he’ll go to try to gaslight people into believing the outcome is still in doubt is unclear, but Pennsylvania’s secretary of state said within the past hour that they expect all ballots to be counted by the end of today. If Cohn and others are right about the trend there, we may know by this evening if Biden won the election.
Update: Fox refuses to back off its projection that Biden has won Arizona even though analysts like Steve Kornacki and Nate Silver are warning that the state remains in play. That means Biden is actually at 264 in Fox’s count — which also means that, if they call Nevada for him, they have him at 270. They might be the first network to project that Joe Biden has won the presidency.
— The Recount (@therecount) November 5, 2020